14 May 1971 /Unwittingly, the Final MIT PSACOT
May 14, 1971
Conformity There is something of a cult at the Institute, although the word cult might be too esoteric for any organized thought that can continue to exist within the four grey walls of MIT.
It is most prevalent among humanities instructors and humanistic students and its influence spreads far beyond its numbers of true believers not only here, but in this country in general.
I mean the cult of nonconformity. It is the belief that any tendency (as it is often expressed, without qualification) to conform to the norms of society as a whole, is a bad idea.
Clearly, this is extreme: most people hedge their nonconformity by drawing a line. That, in my opinion, is the crux of the entire matter: drawing the line.
Very few people believe in non-conformity to the extent that they either begin to rape and pillage. There are certain norms with which they are content to Conform; yet they develop a rather intolerant attitude for people whose line is drawn at a different location from their own.
The line to me is drawn much too close to the conformist side of the scale; people who are close to the line tend to be intolerant of others with a different viewpoint.
It would certainly be a healthier condition than the status quo if people were to develop a little more tolerance of external trappings which bear little relation to sociological interaction: to whit, long hair and odd clothes. Just to say that, and claim to believe it, of course is not quite enough.
Charity begins at home, and unless your attitude is tolerant towards the other side, you have pitiful little excuse to ask for tolerance from him. So, my advice for today (bringing us-thankfully to the end of our sermon) is to remember always that we all conform a little, and that how much is a very personal decision that none of us should really scorn.
I have found the first superlative restaurant of my brief career. The manager, Mr. O'Grady, assured me that, "There isn't a real restaurant in the Boston area that isn't a good place to eat." On his lips, this smacks of modesty above and beyond the call of duty; he manages the best restaurant I have been to in Boston so far, and probably one of the two or three best period.
My roommate and I found much to be delighted about, which we were assured has been the case since the very beginning: good food, low, low prices, (in comparison both to quality and in absolute terms), and quick, very personalized service. The waiter actually talks to you, although not for very long, as he is moving so fast. He will recommend the best dish and steer you away from the expensive one if that's not really what he concludes you want.
My roommate, who headed back for Germany the next day, assured me that the food was authentic, and that the atmosphere (complete with sawdust on the floor) reminded him of an Irish pub.
A good place to eat. Located on Stuart Street (37-39) in downtown Boston.