Remember the quiet girl in your class who one day died her hair, put on thick black eyeliner, and embraced Satan (or Robert Smith)?

Goth girl
“All at St Mary’s are saddened Felicity Allsop has left the choir. We wish her every success in future endeavours.” (Image:

Whether the subcultures of your time were mods, rockers, and hippies, or Teddy boys, or punks, juggalos, or sk8rs, all these groups have their own fashions, signs, slang, music… That is, although rebellion against “the mainstream” might be one part of the deal, most of it is actually about conforming. You wear the clothes, do the dance, wield the chain, talk the talk… and then you belong.

A group of Teddy Boys seen in Tooting
Alamy stock photo

In every alternative movement there will be a handful of people doing the odd thing truly different but mainly it’s about fitting in. Being conventional within the norms of the group.

It’s the same with politics. It’s the same with religion. To go against the group is to be an outcast. And to be an outcast is the role of the truth seeker, because to believe is to belong, and your desire is not to belong but to say “Hold on, that’s not right.”

Even if you don’t say it aloud (and there are plenty of good reasons not to, at least not so forthrightly, some of which we have covered and some we will come to), you are now different, a heretic, and just a bit less one of the others.

Sword of Truth


Back to Part 1