Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When I’m big, I want to be like Salvador Dali: A conformist

Do you ever wonder......

• Who's an individual?

• Who's a free thinker?

• Who is unique?

• Who is challenging the 'norms' of society?

Have you ever heard this one?

"I don't follow organised religion. I'm an individual. I'm not a follower"

In Monty Python’sThe Life of Bryan”, there is a classic scene where, Bryan engages the masses (his followers) from his bedroom window:

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me, you don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!

The Crowd (in unison): Yes! We're all individuals!

Brian: You're all different!

The Crowd (in unison): Yes, we are all different!

Man in Crowd: I'm not.

Another Man: Shhh!

I should be upfront with my readers: My name is Uri and I am a follower.

I follow many laws of society. I also follow many strictures of my religion and community. I observe the Jewish Sabbath, I keep the Jewish dietary laws. And yet, as a semi-observant Jew, I hear people say things like:

“I don’t follow that because I’m not a follower” or “I’m an individual” or “I don’t believe in organized religion”

And, I wonder to myself: I am expressing my spirituality, and practicing my religion, along with a very small minority of people. And I think that is pretty unique. Why do people see me as a blind follower, incapable of free thought or free choice? Many people view me as a follower. They view me as a person with an inactive/faulty ability to choose freely

Here are some interesting statistics:

• Number of Manchester United supporters (WORLDWIDE): 330 Million

• Number of people with tattoos (USA ALONE): 50 million

• Number of people with body (non-ear) piercings (USA COLLEGE STUDENTS ALONE): 8 million

• Number of people who keep the Jewish Sabbath (WORLDWIDE): 1,8 million

With those kinds of figures, I am thinking to myself: “I am not that into organized society”

There are people in this world who are truly unique. They do not follow any strictures or constraints, whether physical, mental, social, spiritual or emotional.

And you can find these people

In an institution of some form or other

I love free-thinkers. I appreciate people who are unique.

But not the “I’m a serial-killer” or the “I was anally probed by aliens” kind of uniqueness.

I love Salvador Dali

(Although I don’t think I could eat a whole one)

Humour aside, I really do appreciate Salvador Dali. And I have, since I was first introduced to his work by an art teacher of mine, at the age of 11. And yet, with all his crazy artwork, wonderful ideas, creativity, free-thinking….. he is still ‘boxed’ into a category and cultural movement called: Surrealism

And the amazingly creative Salvador Dali conformed to all the ‘rules’ that define Surrealism

I do not believe there is anything wrong with following a calling, a community, a culture, a religion. That does not make you any less special or unique. What makes you special and unique is how you bring out your unique talents and contributions within that space.

We must stop accusing people of being blind followers, because we are all followers.

We need to create ourselves, within the framework (and rules) we choose to live by

We are all individuals

And we are all followers

Accept the paradox in yourself…….and appreciate it in others

So, you want to reject "conformist" religion, or “conformist” society? Would you prefer to be a sports fan, or get a tattoo or have a body piercing?

In these ways, you too can show you're an individual......

Along with everybody else that's doing it


  1. Not wanting to conform to the cult mentality that is organized religion today is not being non-conformist - it is rejecting having someone else making decisions for you that you should be quite capable of making yourself - and often, as you well know, those decisions are being made by a deceased person who is being contacted by fax. I would argue that not conforming to that sort of behaviour is indicative of a very healthy state of mind.

  2. Being an individual and creative person is coming from ones inner self, and being completely indepedent of making ones own decisions without having to conform

  3. Dali was the definition of surrealism. What he did created a movement. Who cares whether you are an induhvidual or not? Just be. and be strong enough to stand up for that right.

  4. Thanks people for your great comments