In his 1962 essay, Greenleaf noted ‘three issues’ that emerged rather sharply out of my own experience. This morning, gentle reader, I will continue to share with you, in his own words, Greenleaf’s ‘Three Issues.’
The second issue is the tension between the requirement to conform and the essential person.
Conformity has become a nasty word… The attacks on conformity confuse the issue because in any organized society there must be a lot of conformity. Whenever two people undertake to work together, there must be some conformity. The problem is to know conformity for what it is: a completely external adjustment to the group norm of behavior in the interest of group cohesiveness and effectiveness.
Then, knowing conformity for what it is, always keep it in the rational focus as a conscious external adjustment in the interest of an effective society. Keep it outside, never let it become a part of you.
The great danger is that one will lose one’s identity in the act of conformity; not knowing which is the essential person and which is the conforming act.