Can Deviation Lead to Progress?

As a matter of fact, it is not a choice that always determines human behavior. It is frequently unintentional and automatic, rooted in individuals’ strong belief that other people expect them to believe a particular way in accordance with existing social norms, culture, and traditions. However, regardless of the fact that social forces shape human behavior, individual characteristics frequently prevail over social expectations, and deviance occurs. In societies with settled norms, deviants are traditionally stigmatized and marginalized, however, their behavior plays a crucial role in historical development. In other words, departing from social norms can lead to progress.

Although obedience has always been nurtured for centuries by parents, monarchs, priests, and employers, with disobedience regarded as a vice, people admitted that deviation ushered human history and reflected it in their religions. Thus, ancient Greeks believed that the evolution of man started after Prometheus had stolen the fire from the gods and brought it to people (Fromm 684). In other words, without this act of disobedience, Prometheus’ “crime”, human history would not begin. According to Christianity, the original sin of Adam and Eve, who had disobeyed God’s order, led to the evolution of humanity and made a man free (Fromm 683). Their deviation caused the development of human civilization and opened them a way to freedom and independence. In the present day, people’s disobedience causes intellectual and technological progress when they refuse to agree with long-established opinions’ authority and make inventions that were considered to be impossible.

Departing from well-established and commonly accepted social normed is believed to be threatening to society’s order, harmony, and future. However, instead of this, deviants strengthen group cohesion, clarify group boundaries, and catalyze social change. According to Roderique who explains the concept of Black joy and its significance for the empowerment of the Black community, during slavery, their ancestors “were denied access to self-care and things that bring joy … because of a lack of leisure time and demand for constant labour” (par. 15). In addition, this Black pain is currently emphasized by mass media. At the same time, people’s commitment to Black joy as “the unabashed enjoyment of Black culture without apology, hesitancy or shame” initiates changes in the society’s perception of Black people (Roderique par. 9). This deviation, or a choice to express happiness instead of complying with a common framework of pain expression, shows the full scope of Blacks’ humanity. It should create spaces for affirmation, possibility, and opportunity instead of one-dimensional perception in the context of colonialism and dispossession.

To conclude, it is possible to state that disobedience is not only misconduct that has a negative impact on society’s wellbeing. Instead, it frequently initiates progress – people accepted this fact portraying deviants as martyrs, prophets, and heroes. In the present day, the refusal of particular social groups to follow the social agenda related to them leads to its changes. It goes without saying that disobedience always means progress, and obedience is associated with stagnation. Obedience alone is slavery while only disobedience is rebellion – thus, in a harmonious society, the balance of them with respect to people’s rights and responsibilities is essential. Nevertheless, in the case when obedience limits people’s ability to develop or violates their freedom, departing from social names may trigger progress and lead to better outcomes from a historical perspective.

Works Cited

Fromm, Erich. “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem.” 1963, Web.

Roderique, Hadiya. “The Case for Black Joy.” Fashion, 2019, Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Can Deviation Lead to Progress?" January 25, 2023.