I was once reminded by Robusto-san of a Japanese popular saying,’出る釘は打たれる’ - the nail that pops up is hammered down,’ when I complained about a successive down votes.
I wondered at that time if this expression is unique to the Japanese collectivity-oriented way of thinking, which Shichihei Yamamoto defined as ‘rice-growers’ mindset’ to simply follow what others do without claiming ‘self’ in the famous book, “Japanese and Jew” written by the pseudonym of Isaiah Ben-Dasan. Yamamoto argues basic differences of the ways of thinking between the Japanese and the Jew (agricultural people vs hunting people in his definition) in this book.
We have a lot of proverbs to teach us to be meek, or flexible at best, such as “泣く子と地頭には勝てぬ‐You cannot argue with a crying child and your magistrate,” “長いものには巻かれろ- It’s better to be obedient to those in power,” “喬木は風に弱し-A tall tree is weak to a gale,” “柳に風折れなし‐Willows don’t break with storm (because they have supple branches and leaves.”
I understand westerners value assertiveness based on individualism against oriental collectivism, and wonder if the concept like ’出る釘は打たれる- the nail that pops up is hammered down,’ is viable at all in western society as a matter of comperative culture.
Are there any proverbs or sayings that admonish values of being unnoticeable (not saying insignificant) or advantage of staying just in average that can be compared to ‘the nail that pops up is hammered down’?