An interesting passage from the “Sage of Concord” about the whiphand of conformity, and how we have to “act nice”, even if we don’t “feel nice”:

Meantime nature is not slow to equip us in the prison-uniform of the party to which we adhere. We come to wear one cut of face and figure, and acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression. There is a mortifying experience in particular which does not fail to wreak itself also in the general history; I mean “the foolish face of praise,” the forced smile which we put on in company where we do not feel at ease in answer to conversation which does not interest us. The muscles, not spontaneously moved, but moved by a low usurping wilfulness, grow tight about the outline of the face with the most disagreeable sensation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” in Essays: First Series, ed. Alfred R. Ferguson, vol. 2, 5 vols., The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1979), 32.