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social conformity – Happicademy
  • All posts,  Well-being

    Everything popular is wrong

    You probably know that in 1912 China banned the practice of foot binding. Until then, for a millennium, many thousands of young girls were subjected to a culturally supported but dangerous practice wherein the foot was broken, twisted, and bound, so as to give it a more aristocratic appearance. It lead to disability and life-long pain. Why then was it considered aristocratic? Well, frankly, it’s only if you’re wealthy you can afford to have useless feet. All cultures have such practices. The Western sociologist Thorstein Veblen famously wrote of ‘conspicuous consumption’ — the spending of money on luxury goods and services merely as a display of economic power. A BMW might get…

  • All posts,  Well-being

    Caring too much about what other people think

    In the dying years of the twentieth century, and the first few decades of the twenty-first, a remarkable shift occured in the American psyche. This has been described by numerous scholars as the transition from a general concern with character, to a preoccupation with personality°. The somewhat simplified story goes like this: People used to be concerned about what kind of person they really were, deep down. Some scholars claim this was to do with a worry over how god would judge them, others refute that. Either way, what mattered was inside, what kind of person one knew oneself to be. As one century gave way to another, your (great)…