模倣子 Rebels, Non-conformists, Introverts, Extroverts, and Intent

 Link to the original post HERE  -- Memetic Essay Index 

I believe I do. I would be curious as to why you believe this distinction to be important. The Existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre take, as I understand it, is that intensions are malleable, and may even be changed after the fact. So for whatever reason one goes out onto the pavement braless, shirtless, shoeless, whatever, one is always free, when nicked by the bobbies, to claim “I didn’t know the law,” “I was just playing at silly buggers,” or “I’m taking a stand against oppression,” regardless one’s thoughts prior to leaving the house. I would say that both Rebel/NC know the rules, and the consequences that come with them, whether it will be for instance (in the notation of the essays I hope to post later) InPublic:no-bra!scorn! or InPublic:no-bra!arrest!
The point being that Reb/NC both know the consequences of what they do, and choose to do them anyway. You could argue that the non-conformist does not intend to give offence or get arrested, and one might accord you that point, with reservations. Would Christ on the Cross pray for you, saying “she knows not what she does”? Maybe not. That is my point. Sartre might argue that at any point along with way you could say “I didn’t mean to give offence, it wasn’t on purpose,” and that intent is so much dross.
For the sake of argument (and in the essays I hope to link) in addition to rebel and non-conformist, I would add “criminal” (not necessarily that kind), as somebody who knows the rules, deliberately breaks or flaunts them, with the hope of not getting caught. The non-conformist might be closer to this, since the rebel hopes to get caught, hopes that the Empire shall engage him in battle, hopes to be arrested to make a point, while the non-conformist you describe (as I understand it) hopes for none of these things. So you could almost say that the non-conformist is a criminal, or a failed rebel (^>^).
Oh, I would very much like to hear about the kind of pushback you get when you go out braless.


Hi Jay. I'd be delighted to tell you. The rebel is an extrovert (in Jungian terms). The non-conformist is an introvert (in Jungian terms). This may be a very important distinction to someone interested in psychology and wanting to be able to understand their motivations or predict their future behaviour.

The Rebel and Non-Conformist may have acted the same way in this instance - perhaps both breaking the law - but that may not always be the case. On another occasion, when the law is justified, the rebel may continue to take the 'criminal' route and break the law. But the non-conformist, seeing that the law is in this case justified, may not.

Also, for me, I often like, respect and admire people who will make thoughtful decisions, based on their own principles and rational reasoning. I have much less respect for people who merely conform to, or rebel against, what society expects of them. That does not require such thoughtfulness and does not seem very principled. I admire thoughtful and principled people.

To some other people (maybe you are one such person), only a person's actions matter. It does not matter to them what mental processes a person went through to get to their decisions. But to me, it does.


I don't feel that there's much daylight between what each of us is saying about rebels and non-conformists. I get that the rebel chooses to do "anti-social" things for the effect they will have on others while the non-conformist does the exact same things for his or her own purposes. It sounds like it all comes down to the importance of "intent." I've always had trouble with the legal concept of "intent." It seems unfair to make that an issue which changes the nature of the case, all else being equal. For instance, getting done for "possession of a shopping bag of weed with intent to distribute." If I say that that was barely a month's supply for me personally (true) and everybody should keep away from my stash (absolutely), why shouldn't they believe me? It comes down to the court's ideas, whatever they may be. They might "think" that nobody could smoke that much weed in a month or even a year, or they might have some arbitrary standard as to how much weed is "too much." I would argue that both of those are unfair, and if you can apply psychological reasoning (this time Freudian) to the behaviour of an organization like a court system, it looks like "projection." They don't care what my real "intent" is--they're just pushing their own perceptions of what my intent must be back onto me.

Something similar may be going on when somebody confronts you with "I object to what you're wearing" (I don't know if that's the sort of things they say), when they may actually have some kind of attitude that "you're deliberately trying to upset me with what you're wearing," which again looks like projection. If we grant people the right, which you and I do not, to tell other people what they can and cannot wear, then we are also granting them the right to stand on their own convictions. This may seem like kind of a tangent, but we're really talking about vice laws, laws where there is no complaining victim, no damaged property (which would allow the police to intervene for cause), then it comes down again (more Freud than Jung here) to the individual who is going to basically "snitch on" or "dob in" a fellow citizen, and for that they produce their own inner justifications, as opposed to just hurting their fellows because they can. Most people feel too guilty and self-aware for that.

I guess if everything hinges on your "intent" behind your actions, and nothing else, then it also hinges on other people's intent, and nothing else. But then it all starts to get bedevilingly metaphysical, which I think is the last thing you or I want (though a great many others may well want it). You either have the right to do something or you don't. I would argue that you do have the right to wear what you wear, and I think you agree. So it doesn't matter what other people "believe" and I would further argue that "other peoples' beliefs" rather like "other peoples' intensions" are fairly meaningless concepts. Again, "It doesn't matter what you believe, it's still my right to do this, and there's no law against it." By standing on introversion and extroversion and "intent," you may be throwing that out in a very messy basin of metaphysical bathwater.

Over here in America we have a good quote from a previous Supreme Court Chief Justice, Oliver Wendel Holmes: "My right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."

A sentiment which has unfortunately gone out of vogue over here over the past few decades, where people have gotten the idea that people are somehow not to do as they see fit so long at it doesn't harm others, and that they (or somebody--that's the bedeviling bit) have the right, even duty, to tell others what to do based on some arbitrary standard that doesn't seem to be clearly written down anywhere. Back in the day a Good American of any gender persuasion would thank somebody like you who was going braless or suchlike for expressing freedoms that kept them available for everybody. We used to be a people who held to the idea that when one person's freedom is injured, we are all injured. That's my ideal, anyway. Like I said, not so much these days, to our deep shame.

We have another favorite quote from another Supreme Court Chief Justice, Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it," referring to a "shorthand description" of "hard-core pornography." In other words, the arbitrary judgement, opinion, "intent" of those is power decides what's decent or not, what we're allowed or not allowed to do.

For the question of "is it indecent?" or "is it NOT indecent?" I tend to prefer the third question, "Why I we even asking this question at all?"

As the saying goes, the road to Hell is paved with good intensions. I'm not sure how that fits in, but there are a couple of sayings about intentions (or decisions), like "That and a 10p piece will get you a cup of coffee," or "Two frogs on a log, one of them decides to jump into the pond, how many frogs on the log? Answer: still two. A decision is not an action (or measurable)." I guess it would be that the fact of having intensions does not correlate reliably to outcomes. Plus, intensions are difficult to measure, impossible to do so reliably.

Back to the courts and the law for a moment. Ideally, in order to prove "intent," a prosecutor would want to have some kind of document, witness, telephone wiretap, receipt for the purchase of weapons/tools used in the crime, or other records in order to demonstrate that the accused had thought about what they were going to do before they did it. Why is this important from a legal point of view? I'm not sure, but you could say that there was time and opportunity for the accused to change his or her mind, people who could've advised them against the criminal action, whose advice they did not take. You could argue that they could've planned how to avoid consequences of their planned action as well, and there might be documentation for that.

But just to say "they had intent" doesn't work. Just the same as if there were mountains of evidence that a prisoner had planned a crime in advance, had taken well-documented and specific actions to prepare for the crime, and to avoid detection and the consequences, or even had conspired with others, then how much value is the accused protestations that "I didn't intend to do it"? Very little, I think would be the obvious answer.

A rebel tends to conspire with others, so that makes them an extrovert, I suppose. By the same token, in undertaking his or her sometimes "criminal" actions, the non-conformist operates on his or her own, not involving others. So I agree with your connection there. I feel like it might be a circular one, however.

I question whether invoking the introvert/extrovert distinction solves the metaphysical problem of whether "intent" or "mens rea" (criminal mind) draws a meaningful distinction between whether one is a rebel or a non-conformist. I may not be up to speed on the sort of neuropsychological testing is available and would be involved in determining whether one is introverted or extroverted. I suffer from bipolar disorder, and we know this because I have the symptoms and when I take the medications indicated for the condition, said symptoms improve, as expected. I would argue that no such discrimination may be made for intro/extroversion, and that it must be entirely observational. Hence, we see all the time things like, "Oh, hey, I saw Jay at the bar last night. He did a ten-minute stand-up set at the open mic. Really? Are you sure it was Jay? He's such an introvert. He never talks to people at work, and never says anything at meetings, and he just goes home after work. Well, I guess you had him figured wrong, 'cause he was up there and had a whole room full of people laughing." And this is a very real problem in psychology and psychotherapy and psychodiagnostics, trying to work out what's really going on with people. Also, if Jay is quiet at work, but does stand-up, one suggests introversion, the other points strongly to extroversion (someone who's desperately socially awkward cannot get up in front of a bunch of people and tell jokes, right?), but then again maybe he's both, or maybe when he does these "outgoing" or extroverted things he's really "feeling lonely" on the inside. In short, I would argue that extroversion and introversion can be little more than "shorthands" for a collection of observed behaviors, more label than predictor, so to speak.

I might further suggest that going braless is an extroverted behavior, regardless of "intent," since it's an externally visible behavior. If you're doing something that other people can observe, in an environment where they can interact with you, then it is by definition an extroverted behavior, and so by extension, you are a "rebel" (per our definition thus far). If you do it in such a way that others cannot discern (and I have friends who don't wear bras, haven't for years, but I only know because they told me), then and only then, I would argue, could it be a purely introverted, non-conformist action. By being overt in one's "anti-social" actions, one also supports other rebels who are either doing it as well, or are considering it. Doing something non-conformist, hidden from view, does not give this sort of aid and comfort to other non-conformists (or to rebels), as by that token as well, does not constitute "rebellion" (at least not "open" rebellion).

In my work I have used the term "rebel" to describe somebody who knows what the "intention" of the "system of rules" is meant to be, and follows some select few of them in a sort of "there's no rule against that" or "Oh, I guess he does have a license to do that," not as intended sort of way. For example, wearing one's T-shirt over one's Oxford shirt, turning one's school jacket inside out (like in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), not wearing a bra, not buttoning up all of the buttons on your shoe, and so on. I don't really make a distinction of a "non-conformist" because "intent" borders on the metaphysical and is impossible to measure. You can measure whether somebody claims to have some intent or other, so that can be part of a model. It's like Matthew 21:28-32. If you say you won't do it but end up doing it, that's what counts, and saying you will and not doing it isn't worth a damn. And, tellingly, God is the only one who really knows the whole story, which is the problem I have with assigning predictive power, as opposed to purely descriptive shorthand status, to things like introvert and extrovert.

One thought I had was "is Great Britain an imperialist country?" The have the OBE, which is kind of a dead giveaway, but it doesn't prove anything. If you get awarded an OBE, it doesn't make Great Britain an Empire if it isn't. Also, to be an empire, you actually have to take over other countries and take their shit and send it back to Blighty to enrich yourself. Finally, you have to have an imperialistic legal, government, economic, and religious system (which should be there if the second box is ticked).  I think we can tick the box on both of those for Great Britain. My point would be is that the third one is perhaps the most important. It's harder to point the finger at America, for instance, because you have to look a bit harder to see the structural system, they don't hand out medals and pat themselves on the back (as much?) about what a great empire they are, but do they control other countries and take their shit?  Maybe? Sometimes it looks like it? My point is that just calling yourself an empire doesn't make it so, and NOT calling yourself an empire doesn't make it not so, either. It's more about history, but even still that has to be matched to some kind of system which can also be objectively verified. By the same token, saying something like "I'm an introvert, therefore anything I do is only about me and not about how it's going to affect other people," is also taking a purely descriptive designation and turning it around and making it predictive.

So, yes, you can describe the difference between a "rebel" and a "non-conformist" in words, but the difficultly in objectively distinguishing the two may drain the distinction of much of its meaning. It appears to be a metaphysical problem. Once again, Jean-Paul Sartre (Les Mains Sales) points out that intentions are malleable, fleeting, you can say you did something for one reason one day and say you did it for something different the next and it changes nothing. It's also puzzling to see people who have different religions, different worldviews, etc., showing up for work and working side by side, their work not being affected one way or another despite huge differences in their respective "beliefs." Similarly, if you saw another woman running around braless, dressed quite the same as you, acting no different, would you assume that the inside of her mind was identical to yours, her attitude towards the clothes she was wearing, at least, was identical, or would all bets be off?
That's one ringing image that one gets from the last few pages of Of Human Bondage when Philip Carey, now a doctor, grown to an adult, back in England, is treating a boy who also has a club foot, but is not bothered by it at all, while Philip's own club foot tormented him and defined him his whole life. He wondered at where the difference could be, if not in the deformity itself. 

"That which I say and do, however an inaccurate or incomplete picture of me it may draw, is all that others see."

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