How To Maintain Your Individuality In A World Of Groupthink

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The capacity to maintain one’s individuality in a world immersed in groupthink is becoming more prevalent in this day and age, yet still the oldest trait in the book. You’ve made so many, friends. Their friendship becomes so essential to you that you’re willing to sacrifice truth to maintain the rapport you’ve built together. Similar to this you’re ready to deny your social, theological and political leanings just to keep the job you’ve got or get a higher position.

I really do believe that this kind of behaviour, for purposes of survival, gave birth to making truths relative, or at the very least they’re related. For example, if we can all sacrifice the idea that morals and truths are objective, it makes life easier to converse about difficult topics or steer clear of them.

Suddenly, the understanding now is that conflict can be avoided altogether. Jim believes the earth is flat and that’s fine, he’s welcome to it, I won’t challenge it. I, on the other hand, consider the earth is round, and he won’t challenge me. We both avoid talking about this hairy subject for fear of causing offence. You’ve got two people sacrificing truth, just that they may not offend one another but long live truth, huh?

What about the person though, who, instead of avoiding conversation, actually is willing to sacrifice what they believe? They do it in the hopes of not making a negative impact on their friend’s feelings. That really is a special kind of stupid that I could never really get my head around. An example of this is that I’m willing now to sacrifice the belief the world is round that I may maintain my friendship with Jim. The thought of what he may think of me if I don’t do this, is soul-destroying. Isn’t that insane?

Furthermore, groupthink likewise can force us to lose our individuality to please the crowd and survive in the world. Discrimination against another and not employing someone simply because you don’t care for that persons appearance or their religion is wrong. However, if you think that companies actually use this rule, you’re more naive than I thought.

Companies hire people they’re going to get along with. If by and large, the company believes the earth is round, and you don’t, then, sorry but, you’re at a significant loss. You will potentially become a problem for them and their company. You’re not in with the “mainstream” and so guess who won’t be getting hired?

Therefore, some of us can’t help but sacrifice our individuality either for emotional or financial gain. What, then, exactly is the origin of such behaviour? It can be explained from the person’s ego and the worry they have about what other people think of them.

Like a computer, humans are often conditioned and programmed by society to think a certain way. What’s the best way to learn a language? Immerse yourself in the culture and live in the country. What is the best way to learn groupthink and be a slave what people think of you? Be born into a world who worries about what others think of them.

Being immersed in a society that thinks one way means you’re more likely to fall victim to groupthink. Why? Because you’re born with an ego in which the desire to seek approval from others becomes a drug. It feels so good to be loved by the other and have their support. The idea of being rejected and hated does not give you a good feeling, so you take great pains to avoid it.

Some of us are so hardwired that breaking free from such conditioning and programming seems like a dream. However, all that is required of us is to understand why we follow the crowd. Asking questions and coming closer to developing answers that will begin us on a journey to rediscovery of the self, is the best start.

A person who got sucked in by groupthink and followed the crowd didn’t always do it immediately. These things take time and breaking us down is a slow process. Likewise returning to the pure form of ourselves who value happiness and truth over and above the crowd takes time.

Do you see the Elevator prank below? This is a perfect picture of what we all look like, monkeys and slaves to the crowd. Is that who you want to be? I think not.

source: Prudential

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