My Theory on Human Nature Throughout the duration of the semester I have been closely watching the actions, and words of those around me. My roommates, my friends, my coworkers, my peers and even the faculty here at Heidelberg University. The diversity of gender, age, and consequently their role at the university played a significant part in my findings. I discovered the obvious, the hidden, the rewarding, and the costly characteristics of conformity and nonconformity. Being in a college atmosphere one can only assume that the students, especially the freshmen, who are new to college life will engage in similar activities. Obvious examples would be partying, staying up late, procrastinating on assignments and experiencing the perks and downfalls of young love. My position this summer as a Heidelberg Orientation leader allowed me the opportunity to witness most of these encounters first hand. According to Soren Kierkegaard, there are people “whose personalities lack the energy to be able to say with pathos: either/or”. I believe he means that just by human nature some people are followers, while others are leaders. Those natural leaders are the outgoing, confident, risk taking individuals who are in danger of making poor decisions due to their care free irresponsibility. The natural followers are the less outgoing, shyer, conservation individuals whose displeasure of confrontation prevents them from others making poor decisions. The best example of this was at orientation this summer; I overheard a group of guys talk about having alcohol in their room. Considering their illegal age for consumption, and the event was hosted by Heidelberg these actions were not accepted. When confronted about the assumption, the natural born leaders took over the conversation with lies, while the natural born followers said nothing to support or defend either side. Despite having eye witness evidence, the mannerisms committed by the group when confronted were a direct indication as to who made the plans and who simply went along with the plans. Examples like the one above are common, especially in a college atmosphere. However, discreet examples of conformity present themselves in everyday situations also. A setting could be as common as a new café or diner. The café has a homemade type of soup, everything made from scratch and they offer a sample to every costumer. The two strangers in front of you try the sample and when they walk away, they have a disgusted look on their face. So when it is your turn to try the sample of soup you respectfully decline because of the reaction the others had when they tried it. This is an example of hidden or discrete conformity. For the most part these types of conformatliy are harmless and omit having a negative impact on society. However, more severity examples of conformity are an everlasting bad impact on society. An example of costly conformity would be the Holocaust that took place in primarily Germany during World War II. Adolph Hitler, leader in the genocide of the Jews, Christians, handicapped, gypsies and homosexuals of Europe, was not along during this horrible time. He was able to manipulate many Germans into buying into his manifest ideas about the Jewish community; he established the concept of the Aryan race being superior. Because of the amount of support he received, he was able to kill millions of people, simply based on their religion, sexual orientation, or merely for opposing his ideas. The Nazis, Gestapo, SS, and the civilians who are participated in the Holocaust are examples of social conformity with costly consequences. It is unknown if Hitler would have been successful in his plan to execute all of the undesirables in Europe without the exceeding support. During the Nuremberg trials, the surviving Nazi official were concise on the fact that they did what they did because it was what they were told to do.