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The Falsehood of Being Trendy

Updated: Mar 6

A dancer


The Illusion of Trend Conformity


The perceived "need" to keep up with trends to avoid being left behind, is largely an illusion. As a Hebrew proverb states, "Not everything that shines is golden," and just because a new device or trend emerges doesn't automatically make it superior to its previous counterparts.


It's crucial to distinguish between conformity, benefit and necessity. None of the three always relate to one another, if at all. Nowadays, conforming to trends isn't essential for survival, whether it's beneficial or not to do it regardless. As with the case of Nazi Germany, massive conformation eventually lead to its own downfall.


We won't be deprived of food, shelter, or other basic needs simply for refusing to follow the latest fad, unless we happen to live in a draconian, authoritarian state like North Korea, which then conforming can save your lives. But since there is no actual risk involved for most of us, this link between conformity and survival is likely remnants of our ancient past, when humans lived in tribes, not nations.

During these tribal times, social rejection could have severe consequences, including abuse, punishment, execution or even exile into the dangers of the wilderness. In far less civilized times conforming to the norms would indeed ensured your safety.


Perhaps we fear missing out on trends because we fear rejection, a vestige of our tribal past where rejection could have existential consequences. While conformity still holds some importance in specific contexts like workplaces or the military, we certainly don't need to blindly follow trends like sheep to avoid societal repercussions. Not owning a smartphone, for example, won't lead to banishment from modern society.



Even in the realm of essential utilities like refrigerators and air conditioners, we may find devices that are decades old still work faithfully. That's while their flashy, contemporary counterparts might already be facing replacement, and generate much toxic waste to the world. This observation underscores my approach to acquiring new possessions: Never rush into a purchase simply because something is new.


My trusty PS2 served me well for over a decade, bringing joy and entertainment for countless evenings. Only when its rustiness and worn-out controllers made it unusable did I finally upgrade to a PS4. Although there's a PS5, I'm content to wait another decade or two before considering it. This isn't about affordability; it's about embracing the potential longevity of existing technology. It's also about what I call "The same result problem".


The trend of remastering classic video games for modern consoles seem to highlight this point. Games that once dominated the period can still be enjoyed and offer value, even if they've became less relevant in the gaming industry. Many of you, of certain demographics, might likely to share this sentiment.


Therefore, resist the urge to buy things solely because they're new. Newness doesn't guarantee optimal functionality or fulfillment of purpose. Often, older items already fulfill these needs perfectly. In fact, buying something new might even result in a less-than-desired product or one that simply duplicates the function of something you already own.

I reject the notion that keeping up with trends is a requirement for social acceptance, although I'm not the one in charge of such affairs. Such pressure is not only unnecessary but also stems from a flawed perspective. If someone can't appreciate you for not blindly following trends, their appreciation is inherently flawed. That's because the individual is more than these trends, and is sure to outlast many of them.


Such shalow view judges individuals based on external factors like "modernity" and "advancement" rather than their personalities. This biased perspective is fostered under peer pressure, promoting questions like, "What will people think if I don't conform?"


Ultimately, we deserve acceptance for who we are, as individuals. If someone refuses to see beyond superficial details, can we truly call them worthy of our time, of our depths? Such individuals are, in essence, shallow. Why compromise our own pursuits to appease those who are intolerant of our intristic uniqueness? Other sources, may criticize shallow people due to other reasons as well.


By recognizing the value of what we already have, and resisting the temptation of innovation, we can free ourselves from the tyranny of trends. And we can also embrace a more mindful and less wasteful approach to consumption. Doing so will ultimately allow us to prioritize genuine needs over fleeting desires, and be able to distinguish them better.


Rethinking the Value of "Old"


Even beyond concerns about conformity, a more pressing question may come to mind... Why do we discard perfectly functional technology, simply because it's not "trendy" anymore? Why throw away good and functional devices, clothes, and other products just because they're considered outdated? We must recognize that oldness does not equate to uselessness. In fact, embracing the longevity of existing technology (and clothes, for that matter) can contribute significantly to environmental well-being. And save us much needed money, of course, in a world that is only getting more expensive to live at.


By discarding perfectly usable items in pursuit of the latest trends, we contribute directly to e-waste and pollution. Consider the environmental impact of manufacturing new devices versus utilizing existing ones. Replacing a functional computer simply to conform to social expectations, especially within a specific social circle like "geeks," or "neckbeards" is not only unnecessary but also negatively impactful to the environment. See how certain conventions can deteriorate the very Earth we live on, just for some validation.


Is the fleeting social validation gained from showcasing the latest gadgets worth the harm inflicted on the planet? I think the answer is pretty clear unless you're as desperate as a simp. Consider the financial implications as well. Succumbing to the pressure of trends can often lead to unnecessary expenses, further highlighting the need for a conscious approach to managing your finances wisely.


Why not explore ways to repurpose, repair, or even donate them to those who need them more than us? After all it's the altruistic thing to do. This mindful approach, both to the world and others, allows us to extend the lifespan of existing products, reduce waste, and contribute to others. Especially the needy and the poor. Moreover, it encourages creativity as we find new ways to utilize older items for contemporary use.


Furthermore, retro technology and clothing are often cherished by collectors, putting in the practical importance of design and functionality, as still relevant as their contemporary counterparts. Embracing the beauty and functionality of older items is but a way to not waste money unnecessarily just for short-term excitements, at the expanse of our wallets and our hard-earned salaries.

Conclusions


The pressure to keep up with every trend is often an unnecessary burden, making it, often, a waste of our time and stress. We must learn to distinguish genuine needs from the fleeting whims of fashion and social pressure to avoid not only unnecessary spending, being addicted to it. As individuals, we have the freedom to choose which trends we embrace and which we leave behind, without sacrificing our well-being or social acceptance.


By prioritizing functionality and environmental responsibility, we can create a future where "old" doesn't necessarily mean "useless." And that is true alrea, aside from the fact that trends, and those who follow them religiously, ignore it. This shift in mindset allows us to break free, at least a bit more, from the cycle of endless desire and embrace a more mindful relationship with the world around us.


Personal Confessions


Since the norms can easily breed anti-social behavior, I largely oppose them. As following the trends is one of the most normal things to do, allow me to confess that norms shouldn't be regarded as competent codes of conduct, just because they're widely accepted. And much problems in human moral conduct today, may stem from the norms.


I thus became an anti-villain who opposes society on moral grounds. Opposing society, as well as trends, is a great opportunity to enlighten people to new perceptions, that could bring more benefit to the world. Opposing much materialistic tendencies in the name of long-term implications in several areas of life, is but one of said perceptions.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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