We as human beings are particularly defined as social animals owing to the fact that, in every aspect of our lives, we live together. Besides, we are mainly characterized by the fact that we form various groups which fundamentally improve the relationships we have with each other. For this reason, we often change our attitudes and behavior to match that of the people around us. More precisely, being social beings, one of the primary reasons why we embrace conformity in our lives is a concern about what other people think about us. In a similar regard, obedience to authority is considered a form of social influence where certain individual acts in response to direct orders mainly from people in authority (Levy, 2008). This being said, the core intent of this essay is to discuss how socialization, conformation and also obedience to authority have substantially impacted both my personal life and my perception towards marriage.
Based on my life occurrence, the disparity between conforming to the norm and obedience to authority has increasingly impacted my life in the sense that, I have gradually learned that conformity will always happen through my socialization with people and also the norms in the majority. Based on this premise, I am always able to get information from the people I socially interact with and in my opinion, I believe that, while living amongst a particular group of people, it is possible that they have information that we do not. This being said, having to rely on or preferably conform to the norms can be a solid strategy in situations where we are not so sure of the manner in which we are supposed to act.
In a similar regard, while conformity focuses on changing to fit into a group based on social norms, obedience to authority is centered on a power element that may be attributed to some levels of fear. Although the American Dream tells us that we are free to do as we please in the pursuit of our happiness, I ensure that my actions are always in line with the authority figures. According to Mailgram, society is particularly built and exists on the premise of obedience; nonetheless, I am always conflicted on when to draw the line between conformity and obedience to authority. In my opinion, there are times that we are compelled to place too much emphasis on the goal to please the authorities and as a result, we consciously or subconsciously overlook the goal of acting ethically (Haslam & Reicher 2012).
Concerning my marriage perception, the issues of socialization in conformity and obedience to authority have helped me understand that marriage is more of an act of freedom versus conformity. Although marriage is a socially and morally permissible act, different people are often conflicted between perceiving marriage from a liberty or a conformity angle. Therefore, based on the impacts of both conformity and obedience to authority in my life, I have learned that although marriage is the joining of two people and two families, there will always be some compromises and concessions that will be made (Arnett, 1995). This being the case, marriage should, therefore, be based on understanding and neither on conformity or obedience especially when a spouse is perceived as the person in power. It is, therefore, morally and ethically impermissible to lose ourselves, our sanity or even our vision, in the name of marriage.
Arnett, J. J. (1995). Broad and Narrow Socialization: The Family in the Context of a Cultural Theory. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57(3), 617. doi:10.2307/353917
Haslam, S. A., & Reicher, S. D. (2012). Contesting the Nature Of Conformity: What Milgram and Zimbardo's Studies Really Show. PLoS Biology, 10(11), e1001426. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001426
Levy, S. G. (2008). Conformity and Obedience. Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict, 412-426. doi:10.1016/b978-012373985-8.00036-2
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