Issue 4: Non/Conformity

The notion of positive maladjustment—a central element of Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration—implies that sometimes, it’s a good thing not to conform. We think our readers will agree that conformity is overrated.

On the other hand, there’s also such a thing as negative maladjustment. And there reasons that people do, on balance, conform to social standards and expectations.

What’s a maladjusted eccentric to do? How do we know when nonconformity is actually a healthy, beneficial adaptation? How and when can we support healthy nonconformity in our community?

Facing the Question of Non/Conformity A Letter from the Editor—and Eleanor Roosevelt—for Issue Four

Many pay lip service to nonconformity, but if you’re really unusual, you’ve probably struggled with the implications of deviating from the norm. How should we balance the costs and benefits of our divergence? In this issue’s introductory letter, Third Factor editor in chief Jessie Mannisto links our authors’ takes on this challenge to Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings on how to be an individual.

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The Divergent Thinker

What does it mean to be a divergent thinker? Dr. Deirdre Lovecky of the Gifted Resource Center of New England discusses what drives these individuals to march to the beats of their own drummers—and the challenges they face while doing so.

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The Confusing Life of Being Too Different

It’s fashionable to argue that it’s better to fight for something and die trying than to surrender and admit defeat. In this article, Roland Persson argues that while we believe this for a reason, it’s not because of objective knowledge of human behavior. So what’s an extremely gifted person to do? Persson offers some thoughts on the pursuit of happiness for those who are simply never going to fit in.

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Political Iridescence: Courage and Complexity in a Tribal World

We’ve divided the political world into a red team and a blue team. Where does a person belong when she sees not only shimmers of red in the blue and the blue in the red, but oranges, yellows, greens, and purples besides? One thing’s for sure: it will take courage for such a person to find—or keep—a political home.

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From Contrarianism to Authenticity Why Our Inner Selves Rebel

It’s easy to tell if you don’t fit in; it’s harder to know what to do about it. In this piece, Leon Garber explores contrarianism, the rejecting of norms just for the sake of rejecting them, and how to move from such rebellion to a truer sort of authentic personality.

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Excitable Reads: This Star Shall Abide by Sylvia Engdahl

For our issue on non/conformity, we have the perfect book to feature: the story of a heretic.

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