Community Vs. Conformity

Gen 300 is forcing unwanted quantities of thought through my cranium at warp speed.  How am I supposed to process anything when one class period's discussion covers half a novel?  We talked about the first half of Huxley's Brave New World yesterday and will finish it off tomorrow.  "Done, done, on to the next one," and if you listen to the Foo Fighters you know what that quote sounds like in my head.

Anyways, one thing that came up in class that I wanted to unpack more was the tension in Brave New World between community and conformity.  In the book, community is conformity.  The children are educated via hypnopedia so they all think exactly alike.  Of course, the prof played devil's advocate with that to get all the education majors riled up and awake.  Great.  And maybe our elementary schools are more like brainwashing than a lot of us would care to admit.  But college, never!  No way!


Actually, living in the dorms requires a significant level of conformity.   Here in North Hall we intentionally build a lot of community, but there are also a lot of rules.  And most of these rules are good for the individual as well as the community, but what if I feel like listening to loud music at 10 PM?  That's not a sin, but in a dorm it becomes one because that's prime homework time.  We have to conform out of respect for our peers but also so the place can function as a home.

So far, so good.  Respect for others is healthy, and we're here to learn, so we need to have an atmosphere conducive to studying.  I'm okay with having to meet (and, as an RA, enforce) a certain standard for behavior. It just makes me curious how much more we think alike thanks to our living situation than we would otherwise.  How much community is too much?  How does it affect our thought patterns?  If it does, is that usually a positive or negative thing?

And it's not just in the residence halls.  In class, we all sit quietly, like we've been conditioned to since kindergarten, but I know not everyone learns best that way.  What about those people who can't think unless they're pacing?  Should they be encouraged to get up and walk around, improving their own concentration while distracting others?  That's a relatively simple question, but you just try to explain why the kinetic learners have to put up with a handicap compared to the visual and verbal learners.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.  I'm going to pause my thinking now and go back to answering those (expletive) reading response questions for the second half of Brave New World.