Social Science - Other

Why do People Convert to Deviant Perspectives

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"Why do People Convert to Deviant Perspectives"
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Ras Josh is an eighteen year old Rastafarian, who if he strictly followed the beliefs of his father, would today, perhaps, be in a school of theology or bible school studying to be a priest. Born Joshua White, to a white British father and a Jamaican mother, converting to the Rasta faith was both the result of peer influence and rebellion against his parents' strict Christian doctrine, he says. It wasn't that they were die-hard Christian fundamentalists, but he found their road to eternity' teaching rather boring and inconsistent with current reality.

His conversion from the mainstream protestant Church of England beliefs that both sides of his family had followed for three generations, was effortless as it was uneventful. It began with the fashionable dreadlocks at sixteen, which his parents initially thought he would out-grow from. Then it was the occasional but secretive puff of ganja. By the time he was MIA from church, he had gone too far to return, but his mother still harboured the faith that her son would out-live the fad. The doctrines, the paraphernalia and the Rasta music completed what looks like Josh's life-long ideological lifestyle.

Joshua's fascination with what ordinary folk would refer to as a deviant lifestyle, is the familiar pathway that most young people follow to convert from their family's beliefs or the societal norms to what is considered rebellious. As in Joshua's case, peer pressure is the number one culprit blamed for changing people from the norms to deviant perspectives, but in some cases it is what some experts believe are the influence of idealistic teachings. Young people are very impressionable, and susceptible to popular teachings or doctrines. For instance, Marxist teachings against capitalistic accumulation of wealth in a few hands at the expense of the majority, was very popular with the youth. Some social observers have suggested that at the heart of this rebellion, was some rich young persons' vendetta against their father. Karl Marx whose father was an industrialist is usually given as an example of this rebellion against an established authority.

Sometimes our compassionate inner nature takes control, and influences our perspectives to life. There is the myth that is narrated in India about how Buddha became a monk. His rich protective family lived among very poor and desperate beggars he was never allowed to see. When he set eyes on the blind flee-infested beggars on the streets, he disowned his own privileged lifestyle for one of self-denial. The young may react or rebel against an injustice, a suppression at home or in the society, and thus decide on a different world-view.

Whatever the trigger that moves ordinary folks, from the norms to the deviant perspective, there is always an underlying statement or genesis to their conversion. How can one explain the transformation of a beautiful young girl into a black-garbed heavily tattooed monster with rings and piercings all over the body?

When the sun has set, at the cool of the day, when the speed of ecstasy, fantasy or whisky has worn off, the deviant no doubt, is often confronted by the dilemma their lifestyle has brought upon themselves.

More about this author: Daniel Onyango

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