It's tough being your own man in today's world. One group wants you to think and do their this and that, while others attempt to do the same. And, they do not want you to deviate from their specific dogma and creed; 100% or nothing - cherry picking is not allowed. While it is true that within civilized society the majority makes the laws and statutes (we want to think so), there always will be the fringe dwellers. But for many reasons both real and imagined, the authoritative elements within the society makes or have made the people fear the fringers. The majority then, hold the fringers in contempt for their failure to conform to the prevailing social paradigm. In some cases, that fear is warranted. In that respect, two names come to mind: Charlie Manson and Adolf Hitler. Both were fringe dwellers that rose to international notoriety through their actions; we know how that turned out. But, what about the fringers who pose absolutely no threat who desire to be left alone and live their lives in peace? They too earn the label of non-conformists and are used as scapegoats with an extra dose of fear thrown in for good measure. A great example of this comes to mind, even though it is several hundreds of years old. Its various parts are still valid in our times.
Once upon a time (no, really), the basic social structure was the village. On the outskirts of the village lived solitary people who became known as the Hedge-woman/man. The knowledge of the forest and field had been passed down to them and they used that knowledge for three basic reasons: to maintain some kind of balance between man and nature (something already out of sorts in their time), to help their fellow villagers combat illness (they were also great midwives), and to eventually find the one that they could pass their knowledge on to. Those folks existed in all cultures and they were the fringe dwellers of their day. Enter the Church.
During the Church's early centuries, the Church and those fringers got along. And, the Church used those fringers in a variety of ways to help advance their agenda. But a thing or two, and more, ate away at that tenuous relationship.
The Church was envious and even jealous of the popularity that those fringers had with the general public. Added to that, was the Church's misogyny. Centuries before the birth of the baby Jesus, the Hebrew tradition, supposedly for what Eve had done in the Garden of Eden, held women in contempt for any and all evil that could befall a man, village, or nation. As an offshoot of Judaism, Christianity adopted and continued that poor behavior. Those fringe dwelling people and particularly the women, became a serious threat to the Church's authority. Another point that can be debated but has some validity was the Black Plague; the Church was powerless against it. People were extremely frightened and the Church could not quench their fears. Toss in the Inquisition, stir and don't shake, and you have a deadly cocktail that was consumed for centuries.
Earlier it was mentioned about how authoritative elements within societies induce fear into the general populace to not trust the non-conformist fringe dwellers. In the above example the Church was that element and blamed those fringers for everything (hence the stir and don't shake!). They labeled those fringers heretics, witches, pagans, and heathens; thousands died. By the way, the label heretic is given to anyone who does not proscribe to the major doctrine, dogma, and creed - history is full of doctrinal change.
In general, these folks held no harmful intention against the social order in which they lived. But they were fringe dwellers and became an easy target. Do we have fringe dwellers in our social paradigm of today? Of course we do. Are they a threat to civilized society?
Actions speak louder than words. What are these people really doing versus what the authoritative elements tell us they are doing? This is where being yourself becomes an art. You need to look at and review everything that you can. Then you can decide for yourself; the art is deciding what is truth and what is fiction. That's a big reason why it's tough being your own man in today's world; you're a fringe dweller and a heretic to boot!!!
Copyright@ 2012/2016 Terry Unger