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A brief history of anti-conformism

The term of « anti-conformism », born in the middle of the 20th century, is defined as a person who does not comply with the standards and usual practices. Any person who deviates from the social norms is anticonformist heading off the beaten track. French writer André Gide wrote that «any thought which does not conform is suspect», underlining the importance of the conformist people to look alike and adopt the same ways of thinking.

In history, a lot of non-conformist people have freed themselves from the common opinion by thinking out of the box. History remembers atypical destinies such as Marie Curie or Albert Einstein’s ones. Nobel Prize winner in physics and chemistry Marie Curie born in Poland wrote: “What would we be without the spirit of curiosity? This is the beauty a nobility of science: endless desire to push back the boundaries of knowledge, to discover the secrets of matter and life without preconceived ideas about any possible consequences ».
Albert Einstein was rather a bad student in a standardized school offering little ground for imagination and desire for escape. Little inclined to adhere to the established social codes, he wrote that “it is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom.”

Neuroscience has a long-standing interest in those personalities since they are the ones who make things move forward. Their brain anatomy has been studied in 2012 and has revealed that grey matter of lateral orbitofrontal cortices is smaller -region of the brain which controls social behaviors and decision making. These studies have concluded that conformism would have contributed to the social learning of human beings. Natural selection would encourage conformism while maintaining non-conformist individuals for the survival of the species.

This is the initial postulate of movement and collective called «Les Crapauds Fous» (meaning “Crazy toads ») launched in 2017 by 34 scientists and public figures. At the origin of this manifest, there is engineer Thanh Nghiem which explains that “during the breeding season, toads do migrate all in one direction. If they cross the roads, there are massively run over. Only atypical ones which go against the current may have a chance. Other toads may think they’re crazy but it is thanks to them the species survive.”
At the origin of klokers, there is an inspiring quote from George Bernard Shaw: “You see things; you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were, and I say ‘Why not?”

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