Blend in and nurture the common touch
If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.
It is easy to run into danger by trying to swim against the stream. Disagreement is regarded as offensive because it is a condemnation of the views of others. Truth is for the few, error is as casual as it is vulgar. The wise man avoids being contradicted as sedulously as he avoids contradicting. Thought is free; it cannot and should not be coerced. Retire in the sanctuary of your silence and if you sometimes allow yourself to break it, do so under the aegis of a discreet few. He lives well who conceals himself well.
Wise men are like coffers with double bottoms: Which when others look into being opened, they see not all that they hold. Never combat any man’s opinion; for you would never have done setting him right upon all the absurd things that he believes. Avoid correcting people’s mistakes in conversation, however good your intentions may be; for it is easy to offend people, and difficult, if not impossible to mend them. If you feel irritated by the absurd remarks of whoever you are talking with, just walk away.
Never discuss with the fool
Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. The herd shuns the black sheep, uncertain whether or not it belongs with them. So it straggles behind, or wanders away from the herd, where it is cornered by wolves and promptly devoured. Stay with the herd, there is safety in numbers. Keep your differences in your thoughts and not in your fleece.
It is inevitable in society that certain values and customs lose contact with their original motives and become oppressive. And there will always be those who rebel against such oppression, harboring ideas far ahead of their time. However, there is no point in making a display of your dangerous ideas if they only bring you suffering and persecution. Martyrdom serves no purpose, better to live onion an oppressive world, even to thrive in it. Meanwhile, find a way to express your ideas subtly for those who understand you. Laying your pearls before swine only bring you trouble.
People who flaunt their infatuation with different values and cultures are expressing a disdain and contempt for their own. They are using the outward appearance of the unknown and the exotic to separate themselves from the common folk who unquestioningly follow the local customs and laws. Their need to show their difference often makes them disliked by the people whose beliefs they challenge. Measure and moderate your desire to show your difference.
Do not renounce your beliefs, disguise their outward appearance
In the face of oppression and persecution, it is foolish to openly and directly express your ideas. In the face of awesome persecution, it is always better to disguise your beliefs and ideas while insinuating them at the same time: You pretend to disagree with dangerous beliefs and ideas, but in the course of your disagreement, you give those beliefs and ideas expression and exposure. You seem to conform to the prevailing orthodoxy, but those who know you will understand the irony involved.
We all tell lies and hide our true feelings, for complete free expression is a social impossibility. From an early age we learn to conceal our thoughts, telling the prickly and insecure what we know they want to hear, watching carefully lest we offend them. For most of us this is natural; there are ideas and values that most people accept, and it is pointless to argue. There are people, however, like me, who see such restraints as an intolerable infringement on their freedom, and who often have the temptation to prove the superiority of their values, ideas and beliefs. In the end, though, their arguments convince only a few and offend a great deal more.
Wise and clever people learn early on that they can display conventional behavior and mouth conventional ideas without having to believe in them. The power you gain from blending in is that of being left alone to have the thoughts you want to have, and to express them to the people you want to express them to, without suffering isolation or ostracism. Once you have established yourself in a position of power, you can, then, try to convince a wider circle of the correctness of your ideas.
Play the clever fox, be all things to all people
In society, outward appearances are what matter. Make a show of blending in, even going so far as to be the most zealous advocate of the prevailing orthodoxy. If you stick to conventional appearances in public, few will believe you think differently in private. Your outward conformity will give you the freedom to work unhindered, without having to change your thinking. Not only do people of power avoid the offences, they also learn to play the clever fox and feign the common touch.
You want to achieve success and power! Re-invent yourself, re-create yourself: Overcome your natural aristocratic stance to cultivate a familiarity with the common man; express your familiarity in little gestures, often symbolic, to show the people that you share popular values, despite your different status, values and ideas. When you go in society, leave behind your own ideas and values, and put on the mask that is most appropriate for the group in which you find yourself. People will swallow the bait because it flatters them to believe that you share their ideas.
Understand this: The only time it is worth standing out is when you already stand out, when you have achieved an unshakable position of power and you no longer have to observe the protocols and niceties of others. Whatever you do, remember: The truth is that, even when you attain the heights of success and power, you would, often, be better off at least affecting the common touch, for at some point you may need popular support.
Finally, there is always a place in this world for the gadfly, the person who successfully defies custom and mocks what has grown lifeless in culture. One may achieve considerable social power in making it clear that he disdains the usual ways of doing things. Just be careful: Even if your audience, people are expecting you to insult them and welcome it, this is still a dangerous game; without the ability to amuse and delight, your barbs will simply offend people and possibly destroy you.
Owner of Bunkumless.com and King Global Earth and Environmental Sciences Corporation, JMD, a former attorney, is a Columnist for The Futurist Daily News and editor of the Social and Political Blog JMDlive.com Follow JMD @ jmdlive