Posted: June 22nd, 2021

Can society fully control individuals?

Although society sets a myriad of rules and regulations that ostensibly circumscribes your actions, it is our choice whether or not to conform to these rules. Convincing examples to demonstrates this founds are found in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Galileo’s choices of defying norms in the field of science.
Nora’s decision to leave Torvald and seek her independence in the play A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen explicitly demonstrates that, regardless of what society dictates, choices are always present ot the individual. Nora was one of many women who suffered from the male supremacy during the Victorian Era. Her husband, Torvald, would call her demeaning names such as “squirrel” and “pet” and expects her to obey every command because society dictates that she should. However, Nora defied her “social norms” and left Torvald to achieve her independence: an act considered to be unthinkable at the time. Thus demonstrates that decisions are contingent upon individuals, not society.
Another example which shows that our choices area solely determined by ourselves is that of Atticus and his decision to defend a black man, Tom Robinson, in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus, who lives in a town inhabited by a racist, white community, decided to do what he thinks is right and defended a black man named Tom Robinson, who was spurious accused of raping a white girl. Despite Atticus’s cognizance of the vicious calumny that he will be subjected to by society, he nevertheless made the decision which he considered is right and defended Tom Robinson. This further shows that decision are purely based on the individual.

In addition, the fact that decisions of the individual can never be fully controlled by society is shown in the field of science, particularly through Galileo’s choice of having a heliocentric view on the universe. Galileo was a scientist who, after adequate research into the field, maintained that, contrary to what the church and Aristotle believed, the sun is in the center of the universe. At the time, society strongly believed that the earth is the center of the universe and considered every other scientist who said otherwise to be mocking religion and thus deserving punishment. Because of his theory, Galileo was convicted of heresy and consequently sentence to home imprisonment. Surely, it was Galileo’s decision to voice his theory which, rather interestingly, happened to be correct all along!
The aforementioned examples are just three a vast number of people who decided to go against society wishes. If anything, these people exemplify the human nature of exploring the unknown, of thinking critical outside the box and of seeking dreams regardless of the perils and obstacles on the way, these are the people who make progress possible; without such individuals, society would be a collection of robots that operate based on norms and that would never be able to think, speak or act out anything that does not fit this “norm”. Quite simply, it is these people that liberated the oppressed and illuminated the path of knowledge.

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