Monday, 21 November 2016

How to live a life of hell: become a contrarian.

How to live a life of hell: become a contrarian.

Most people like to live a peaceful idyllic life,  avoiding confrontation and arguments. However, this is not the case for me! Due to me having a critical mind and finding it hard to “bite my tongue” I live the life of a contrarian. A contrarian is someone who rejects popular opinion or practices. It is not that they  disagree with everything but they may have an opinion which seems controversial which they are not afraid to express publicly.

Some people view me as a troublemaker - I just like to cause controversy or play devil's advocate for the sake of it. I can tell you this is not true! But I have never been afraid of questioning figures of authority in any circumstances whether it be school, Irish dancing or family. Figures of authority tend to resent me and wish to “teach me a lesson” .

I have always asked seemingly absurd questions for my parents and teachers to deal with for example at age 3 on a long journey home from a trip from the back of the car I asked my mum: “If God created everything, then why did he create the devil?”  right then my mum knew I was going to be a nightmare. My dad use to constantly tell me “One of the ten commandments is do not argue with your parents”. I then learned the ten commandments aged 7 when making my First Holy Communion and noted to my dad that he was wrong and the  commandments actually stated “thou shalt respect thy mother and father”, and explained that if you respect someone you should argue or debate with someone because you care about their opinion. Fun times lay ahead!  

But why am I like this? Why are contrarians the way they are?

Intelligence + Courage = Contrarian.

One of the main reasons is intelligence.  A basis of intelligence is one's ability to decipher accurate knowledge from other types of information. Scientifically this is called critical rationalism. Critical rationalism put in practice is contrarianism: when a contrarian encounters new information their cognitive reaction is to verify information and test it. So when I am told information no matter who it is, I always do my research to make sure they aren't lying to me. It is also the reason why I am eccentric like other intelligent people, because we feel less compelled to comply with society norms. On the other hand, this makes it very difficult for me to trust people, I alienate people and appear like a paranoid conspiracy nut case. But like Britney, "they say I'm crazy" and I'll do something crazy anyway because "I really don't care!"
 

But how come not everyone who is intelligent is a contrarian? Because it has a cost - it sucks because often the contrarian does not benefit from it often they cause social problems for themselves. They have to have the courage and not be afraid to argue despite what may be a negative outcome; though it may have a positive outcome in the future for the rest of society.  They are highly inventive because they are not afraid of seeing things from a different perspective - for example in Irish dancing if have sometimes done movements which are not normal at the time but yet a few years down the line everyone starts doing them, so other people get the glory and I don’t.  Similar to artists whose artwork is not appreciated until they die.  “Creative ideas usually get a weak reception, at least initially," says psychologist Robert Sternberg, provost of Oklahoma State University. "But contrarians give their lives meaning by attempting to change the way things are to the way they think they should be." According to Sternberg - The more creative an individual the more likely they are to be a contrarian.
Therefore the second reason is courage or bravery. They are brave because due to publically challenging ideas there is often inevitable ostracism and punishment.  Contrarians are more concerned with truths (what is right and what is wrong ethically and scientifically) than popularity. Thus a contrarian is an intelligent critical thinker with a lot of courage.

Why is it that Contrarian ideas can backfire? Why do even intelligent people want to reject logical ideas?
They like to stick to the status quo!
Fred Hoyle explains that humans reject new ideas due to being “victims of dogmatism” and their tendency to argue from pre-set ideas. Even scientists and other intellectuals have a tendency to be biased and wish to stick with the status quo. When someone's life has become very devoted to one idea it is very difficult for them to accept a new idea. An example of this that I have experienced was in festival Irish dancing: the “Mulholland” and other more traditional festival teachers being very resistant to  some schools incorporating feis movements and doing open platform feis; I find when you think about this objectively and logically it is very silly as those movements didn’t exist when Patricia Mulholland was alive and neither did those competitions on top of this Patricia Mulholland made her dancers curl their hair and wear wigs if their hair was too short. 
A second example was when I decided to add some spins into my lead around as I noticed they had come into fashion due to being a keen spectator of other Irish dancers. My teacher  and his assistant made a huge song and dance about this, apparently "I looked like a princess" and doing high kicks in a kilt is far more masculine. Strangely enough, two years after leaving this school he had put plenty of spins in other boys dancing.  Unfortunately, even eight years at university does not guarantee that you are the "sharpest tool in the shed", especially if you are better at going on holiday than attending the feis. Thus the new truth whether be in science or any other field is often rejected to preserve fragile egos and hold their principles whether they are moronic or not.

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Why should society thank contrarians?

The world owes contrarians a lot of gratitude. If it wasn’t for the contrarians no ideas would be challenged and thus no progress would be made. Where would the human race be without Socrates, Darwin, Freud, Jesus, and Martin Luther King? Contrarians are fundamental to society due to their creative abilities to see beyond the status quo and courageously challenge teachers, the government and religious figures alike. Establishment intellectuals are only required to back and broadcast the status quo, but are unable to challenge these and thus contrarians are needed to evolve ideas and bring about enlightenment.

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29 comments:

  1. Interesting spelling and grammar for one so intelligent!

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  2. A contrarian is a person who takes up a contrary position, especially a position that is opposed to that of the majority, regardless of how unpopular it may be (see Wiki). You dont need to be intelligent for that, you can also be socially incompetent. Make your pick.

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  3. For god's sake, Adam, please take a basic grammar and spelling course. It's painful to read with such glaring carelessness.

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  4. You're not a contrarian. You're someone with awful, naive, childish, selfish views.

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  5. Such an inflated ego. Have you ever thought the reason so many people have a problem with you might actually be something to do with your superior attitude rather than your 'intelligence'? Basic spelling and grammar check please. This was a cringeworthy piece to say the least.

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    1. I have a superior attitude due to the fact that I am superior.

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    2. You're really not superior, you absolute knob.

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    3. Thank-you Ryan! Get your sister to place her feet properly.

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    4. Who the fuck is Ryan? And you might want to check your own footwork first. That's why you never won as many majors as me :) Knob.

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  6. Wow...you sound like an absolute delight! Dreadful spelling and grammar undermines your 'intelligence' and you're not a contrarian you're just someone with an over inflated ego and and huge chip on your shoulder. If you had an ounce of intelligence you would realise that people don't actually care about your personal vendetta's against people in the Irish dancing world or your looooong, convoluted stories about ID and how badly you've been treated because you should have won your reel 15 years ago because in the grand scheme of things it's not important...and that's coming from someone who has been involved in Irish dancing longer than you've been alive.

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    1. Spelling is not a sign of intelligence as it goes against logic... It's very easy to sit behind a key board and anonymously post comments like these. Just like it's very easy for me to ignore them.

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    2. And btw... if irish dancing is a major part of their lives, it is important in the grand scheme of things to them.

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  7. Unless you have a diagnosed specific learning difficulty then i'm afraid good spelling and grammar are used as indicators of intelligence. If nothing else, it means people will take your writing seriously. Something i'm sure you were told while at university? Of course, you're right it is easy for me to sit here and publish anonymous comments but I guess that's an occupational hazard you have to just deal with when you decide to publish public blogs....if you can't handle them/don't like them then i would suggest that this isn't the best medium for you to make public your ( at times quite controversial ) views and opinions.

    Although, your objections to anonymity are made clear in your writing and you seem to think ti is appropriate to name people using their full names, school attended and sometime where they're from. Not sure i would be too happy about that....luckily I think it's highly unlikely your writing will reach large audiences which i guess offers some comfort.

    In all seriousness, I really hope you have a support network or some professional help as you seem like you have some serious issues that probably need some attention.

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    1. Thank you for reminding me to book my appointment lol. Organisational skills are not the same as intelligence. Typo errors, which most of mine our on the other hand are like bad writers - there brain is working too fast for their hands thus is why doctors tend to have messy hand writing.

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  8. Oh and it's 'their' not 'there' ....and the theory about doctor's handwriting is Bull

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    1. Typo error... Which most university professors understand... there aren't as many marks given for spelling and grammar as you might think. They start looking for ideas instead and how your critically analyse things.

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  9. Haha I am university lecturer and you do get marks deducted for poor spelling and grammar ...and for using big words that don't completely make sense but are used by the writer to seem intelligent ( but secretly they're my favourite as they brighten up the hours spent marking ) however, significant SPG errors at undergraduate are unforgivable. It's primary school stuff and people shouldn't under-estimate its importance

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    1. Well that narrows who you are significantly - this isn't so anonymous anymore - uni lecturer and irish dancing teacher? Well I have my 2:1 from quite a good Uni.. so ha.

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  10. Well done. Hopefully you're putting it to full use in developing your career.

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    1. I have a great CV - however my main focus has been on Irish dancing, I want to be an Irish dancing teacher, once I finish competing.

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  11. Then i would advise you start thinking about what your online presence says about you...people will google you before sending their children to your classes so it's important parents feel they can trust you.

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    1. Some parents would send their children to someone who is honest, has integrity and is innovative. Rather than some anonymous idiot. I doubt your school has been very successful.

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    2. Not at an international level anyway.

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  12. Oh dear. You really have an awful lot of growing up to do. Someone offers you some genuine advice and you bite back with name calling. That doesn't demonstrate much integrity.

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    1. Integrity is honesty or having strong moral principles. I don't think choosing to not take anonymous comment too seriously is immoral not am I being dishonest. Now I know it is someone from festival thank you.

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    2. "That was nice, but I am here to adjudicate festival dancing" Says someone whose school does a set dance to Celine Dion.

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  13. I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. My intention was never to wind you up ...but just to give some advice. You clearly see nothing wrong with what you write so crack on...

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    1. What is exactly "wrong with what I write" - do you think it is "wrong to have an opinion".

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  14. There is nothing wrong with you having an opinion it's just that it can be hard to take your opinions seriously as you don't back them up with evidence or research which means you can come across as someone who is rambling or being controversial just to get a rise out of people. I do however, have an issue with the fact that you think ti appropriate to mention people using their full name, school they attended and where they live. It's's not fair....it just comes across as you being pissed off and having a rant about everyone and anyone you can recall from your childhood.

    But this has been mentioned before and is clearly not something the bothers you so like I said...crack on!

    And, by the way...I don't know anyone you have mentioned (other than some of the champion CLRG dancers but i don't know them personally), i'm not involved in festival dancing and have no vested interested in the people you talk about.

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Thank-you for your opinion!