I thought I had a great definition of “formal” for this article, but I wasn’t correct.
To be formal means to be the same as those who have been formal in the past. To be formal means to have the same behaviors and the same thoughts, so that you can be in agreement with other people, so that you can communicate with them effectively.
Formal is a buzzword in business. Formalism is the art of creating a business where people are all the same. It is the art of giving everyone the same standard of behavior and communication. In business, formalism is especially important because many companies make it seem like they are taking the very best of the best (meaning they have the most people who are the smartest and the most experienced) and they are also most likely to have the best product.
A formal norm is a rule or principle that a group of people agree upon. A standard for communication is a way of making a conversation work the same way every time. So where formalism is appropriate, it should be followed. But here is the rub. The majority of communication in the world is informal. In the informal world, people are just people. They don’t care about what is true, what is formal, or what is a norm.
A formal norm is a requirement that all individuals in a given society have to adhere to. If you can come up with a rule where everyone agrees, that’s a formal norm. And there you go. In the informal world, people are just people, and norms or standards are just ideas that people have.
Some people are aware of and follow formal norms. But most of the time they dont care. I know people who have their own formal norms and it is pretty much universal that they don’t care if other people follow those norms. The problem is with the informal norms. They make people feel good, but they come at the expense of our freedom and autonomy. And while this might sound like just people being normal, it really is anything but.
The problem is that everyone is aware that most of the time people follow informal norms. But it isnt our intention that anyone should feel bad because we are aware of these norms and just ignore them. The problem is that norms are not the same thing as standards. Standards are things that are meant to be maintained and used. Norms can be broken. Standards can also be maintained. But these two don’t really overlap.
The problem is that norms are often set by people who have a sense of entitlement and are not aware that they are breaking a norm. For example, a person who has a big bag of cash under their bed knows that he can’t keep it in his front pocket because it is against the law. But he also knows that there are lots of other people out there who have smaller things in their pockets and dont think there is a problem.
This is a tricky one. If you really dont want to go to jail for $2 million, but your house is worth $15 million, then this is a problem. But if you just want to have the house, then this is not a problem.
This is an understandable quandary, because if you dont want to go to jail, then you dont need to be worried about keeping a large amount of cash under your bed. If you just want the house, then it is not a problem. However, if you are worried about the law, then the norm is a problem.