Conformity

I could write a long article about Conformity, but really … what could be more convincing than this representative example? (video: Brain Games – Conformity (Waiting Room) )

If this is video link is no longer active, check the Wayback Machine here:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170808041524/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9O9SokTTA8

 

Peer Pressure

We are pressured and convinced through a lifetime of social conditioning to conform, get along, go along, agree with, regardless of the rationality.

This isn’t complicated. You will have a natural tendency to conform to the group – the majority.  You simply need to have attended high-school to experience it.  If you’re honest, you understand this to extend to your adolescent social platform and definitely into your adulthood social platform. Repeated psychological experiments, one after another, confirms the same.

 

Rather, Consider This Approach . . .

(Dead Poets Society – On Conformity)

Wayback link:
https://web.archive.org/web/20170715061113/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd09gy8Vv9E

 

Think.  It’s not illegal yet.

(I actually have this t-shirt . . . . 🙂

Break from the herd!

 

 

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

Social Conditioning

Related very closely to the concept of Groupthink is a process called Social Conditioning .  However, where Groupthink relates to cognitive issues in a small group, Social Conditioning is concerned more with broad social implications – typically nationwide.

SC1Definition:

Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society.

Manifestations of social conditioning are vast, but they are generally categorized as social patterns and social structures including nationalism, education, employment, entertainment, popular culture, religion, spirituality and family life. The social structure in which an individual finds him or herself influences and can determine their social actions and responses.

Other terms to refer to Social Conditioning include Social Engineering, Herd Mentality and Cultural Conditioning.

Mob Mentality, while seemingly related, is different in that is refers to cognitive issues and behavior of people in large groups brought together for a single event and purpose, such as with protests and demonstrations.  It describes how people will do things in a large group that they would never do as an individual.  I will save discussion of Mob Mentality for a different article.

 

Culture

Each of us on planet Earth are a product of our culture – its biases, norms, beliefs, morals, etc.  Over days, weeks, months, years and decades we’re indoctrinated in the culture within which we’re raised.  Parents, teachers, clergy, family, friends, coworkers, peer groups, books, media, advertisements, radio, and leaders of any sort, all mold and influence us in terms of what is normal/abnormal, right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable.

Pressures to conform do a pretty stringent job of keeping everyone in line with society’s expectations. Propaganda also plays a huge role in keeping the majority in line with the desired mindset and beliefs – but I’ll leave that to a future article.

Think of Social Conditioning as being “domesticated” by the thoughts and beliefs of others.

Stop.

Read that again and let it sink in.  Domesticated – as in sheep and cattle.

SC10Your implicit social conditioning directives:

  • Go along with the majority (the herd)
  • Don’t stand out from the herd
  • Don’t challenge or rock the boat
  • Don’t question ‘authority’
  • Go along, get along – or face ostracization
  • Shut up and blend in
  • Believe what you’re told by your leaders and media
  • Who are you to question anything?

 

As early as 1952, an article by William H. Whyte, Jr. in Forbes about Groupthink identified the creeping movement of social engineering and the movement away from individualism, independence and self-reliance of individuals in the United States:

“In a country where “individualism” – – independence and self-reliance – – was the watchword for three centuries, the view is now coming to be accepted that the individual himself has no meaning – – except, that is, as a member of a group.”

“. . . . social engineering with its emphasis on the planned manipulation of the individual into the group role.”

“. . . . the man we are now presented with is Social Man – – completely a creature of his environment, guided almost totally by the whims and prejudices of the group, and incapable of any real self-determination of his destiny.”

Because we’re raised to mold to society and authority’s directives and cultural norms, we become adults who seek approval from all of our influencing entities.  We seek validation from our social and peer groups that we’re doing the right thing – that we “belong.” We need and seek group approval. We want to conform.

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We find ourselves not really thinking for ourselves – although we think (feel) we do. Instead we just go along with the herd – what the majority think and do.  After all, since it’s the majority, what they think and believe must be true and good, right?

A Leed’s University study discovered that it only take 5% of “informed” individuals to influence the direction of a crowd of 200 or more.  We seem to be ‘wired’ or conditioned to follow – rather than lead with individualism.

A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that we’re prone to be copycats – not original thinkers.  When people didn’t have a strong opinion or knowledge about their choices, they simply mimicked others, regardless of whether the mimicked choices were right or wrong or even made any sense.

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We’re programmed to be followers.  We’re conditioned to follow the herd and popular opinion.  We’re conditioned to be repulsed by and denigrate anything and anyone that’s different or rebels against the “norm.”  Our Cognitive Dissonance and (Dis)Confirmation Bias keep our minds in line with the accepted mindset of the masses.

“Most of the time, we see only what we want to see, or what others tell us to see, instead of really investigating to see what is really there. We embrace illusions only because we are presented with the illusion that they are embraced by the majority. When in truth, they only become popular because they are pounded at us by the media with such an intensity and high level of repetition that it’s mere force disguises lies and truths. And like obedient schoolchildren, we do not question their validity and swallow everything up like medicine. Why? Because since the earliest days of our youth, we have been conditioned to accept that the direction of the herd, and authority anywhere – is always right.”                  – Suzy Kassem

Our self-concept is shaped by a lifetime of conditioning and cultural indoctrination. Everything we look at, think, feel and accept in life are shaped by a lifetime of cultural indoctrination.  We don’t even pause to step back and examine our basic assumptions and beliefs in life.  We’re not taught to question anything.  Why do we believe what we believe?  What basis in truth and reality actually support those cultural, indoctrinating beliefs and behaviors?

The indoctrinated don’t want the foundation of their ingrained beliefs questioned.

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Challenges For Escaping The Herd

Unfortunately, if you’re faced with the fact that Social Conditioning has molded you since birth, you must also realize that it takes work to pull yourself beyond the grasp and influence of the herd.  It means seeing and comprehending “the forest from the trees.”

And this is where some of the challenges come into play:  time, energy, focus

TIME:

Anyone working in the United States is faced with the stark reality that a full 1/3 of their life (or more) is solely dedicated to working for a wage.  And since 1/3 of our life also includes sleep, that leaves 1/3 left for “living” life – whatever that means to each of us.  We have 1/3 of our time on this wonderful Earth for relaxation/downtime, pleasure, meals, social gatherings, home maintenance, family responsibilities, raising kids, paying bills, spiritual growth, personal growth, knowledge adventuring, tackling projects, etc.

We have to make a choice as to how we spend that 1/3.

ENERGY:

With all the constraints of time as outlined above, how much energy can we expect to have to focus on anything outside of the required things we have to do and can’t ignore?  How do we choose to spend our “discretionary” time?

If you have kids (or expecting to) you’re discretionary time will be essentially non-existent until they become teens and somewhat independent.

For most of the masses, exhaustion takes its toll.  For others who actually do have discretionary time to slice away and explore life expansion and growth, laziness takes over and the hours of each day are squandered away.

FOCUS:

Which brings me to the last challenging element – focus.  Let’s assume you have the time.  Let’s assume you have the energy.  What will you need to focus on to address what’s important?

Answer:  passion.
What’s important to you?  What’s not important to you?  What will you focus and give your time to?  Can you say “no” to those things that are not important to you?

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself if you want to lay on your death bed and regret not having lived as a true individual.

As I’ve said numerous times before, these principles I share are not for the masses. They’re for the rare individuals who know they must have more to their lives than birth, school, work, conformism, taxes and death . . . Unique people who truly want to seek, grow and soar.  These are the only people who care about accuracy, truth, accountability, and intellectual integrity and personal growth.

 

Majority = Truth?

So, because the masses don’t have the time, energy, or focus to understand, learn, comprehend the social and natural world around them, they will default to rely on “official” sources to mold their beliefs and decisions. No questioning.  No seeking.  No independent thinking.  No validation.

Religion becomes their “truth.”  Science becomes their “truth.” Government becomes their “truth.” Corporate America becomes their “truth.” Media becomes their “truth.”  Social norms become their “truth.”

Does the herd majority hold the keys to the truth?  Simply . . . . NO

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There are numerous times in history where the majority (driven by its culture and authorities) held ridiculous, crude, stupid cultural norms (beliefs) that stray far from truth or moral rightness:

“The aggregate testimony of our neighbors is subject to the same conditions as the testimony of any one of them. Namely, we have no right to believe a thing true because everybody says so unless there are good grounds for believing that some one person at least has the means of knowing what is true, and is speaking the truth as far as he knows it. However many nations and generations of men are brought into the witness box they cannot testify to anything which they do not know. Every man who has accepted the statement from somebody else, without himself testing and verifying it, is out of court.”    – William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief (1877)

 

Your Choice: The Herd or Independent Thinking

Do you want to be part of this Mass Groupthink?  Do you want to be part of the herd?  Do you want to cruise through life lazily and never question anything or anyone?

If so, then move on with the collective herd. Let others shape your mind as they see fit.  Let them do your thinking. Let them trigger your emotions to react the way they desire. Fit in. Get along. Conform. Follow the herd’s desires. Don’t question. Refuse to think for yourself. Be complacent.

For those of you who are repulsed by this choice, you have another option:  Independent Thinking

SC7“To breath comfortably, to feel free, to think better and to find the beauties of the unknown paths leave your herd!”  – Mehmet Murat Ildan

It’s not fast; it’s not easy; it’s not the lazy person’s solution.  Learn to think on your own.  And I don’t mean deceive yourself into thinking that you truly think for yourself.  Discard the confirmation biases, the cognitive dissonance, the groupthink, the partisan bullshit.  Assume your beliefs and life assumptions are in error. Practice intellectual integrity.  Practice the Clinical Attitude.  Drive for accuracy, truth and reality.

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of “crackpot” than the stigma of conformity.” Thomas John Watson

 

Ramifications of Independent Thinking and Breaking From the Herd

Standing alone in the midst of the herd isn’t an easy task. As an independent thinker, depending on how much you share with others, you may find yourself:

Isolated – the herd will think you different, odd, unpleasant and keep their distance; you’re an outsider

Pressured – the herd and its supporting tools/structure will continue pressure to conform to mass groupthink

Labelled– you may be called names or regarded in certain derogatory terms (negative social label & stigma)

SC13As you proceed in knowledge adventuring you’ll uncover incredible and enlightening facts that conflict directly with herd mentality.  There are a few approaches available to you as to how you deal with this.  In fact, you may find yourself on an evolutionary path adapting one or more of these during your lifetime:

  • You can choose to be argumentative with an intention to change others’ beliefs and life assumptions – being an activist. This is your first reaction as you uncover knowledge and facts not known to others, and you want to shout them from the rooftop.  It took me quite some time to understand that you won’t change others’ minds due to their ingrained herd-mentality biases. They themselves have to truly want to uncover reality and change their beliefs.
  • Or you could keep your alternative views hidden from your social, work and family groups and not discuss with others at all – only sharing with people of like mind you happen to meet online or in person.
  • Or you could simply stand proud and confident, and only respond when others inquire, and then in a non-apologetic “teaching” manner. Then, let them react the way they will.

Ultimately your approach should probably be informed after completely understanding the analogy of “casting pearls before swine.”  Your desire to change others’ beliefs with enlightenment will be met with zero appreciation or even the ability of others to comprehend.

“Whoever deviates from the …. public opinion and stands apart will always have the whole herd against him.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.”   – Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

 

Where to Focus

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  1. First of all recognize that you are not above the influence of social conditioning.  You’ve spent your entire life under the influence of its propaganda.  Your natural instinct is to tow the line with what society tells you you should be thinking, believing and doing. You are influenced by it.
  2. Comprehend that what society (the majority) believes isn’t necessarily the truth, accurate, moral, or the best basis of behavior.
  3. Question your own beliefs and assumptions. Assume they’re most likely wrong, inaccurate, and untruthful. Practice independent thinking – don’t accept the consensus.
  4. For those topics that align with your greatest interests and passions, dig in and self-educate. Don’t just take the word of so-called authorities who are foisted upon you as the be-all and end-all to a subject. Become your own expert, but ensure you aren’t pigeon-holing yourself due to confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance or any other cognitive errors.  Pursue your self-learning with intellectual integrity. Study a wide range of topics.
  5. Get comfortable with who you are and what you stand for.  Don’t be shy about separating from the herd and standing out. Be a lone wolf. Expect conflict when ideas and beliefs are discussed (if you so choose to participate in those discussions).
  6. Notice how people, especially the media, try to keep you indoctrinated into society’s acceptable beliefs.
  7. As with groupthink, the only sure way out is to lead, not follow. Voice your dissent.  Just let others know you simply don’t agree with the consensus.

SC11Disengage from the herd. Be an independent thinker. Practice intellectual integrity. Seek and grow beyond the mundane. Embrace awe and wonder.

 

Integrity,Commitment,Truth

 

Some decent online sources: (there are many others of course)

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

Groupthink

In a continuing series of articles regarding barriers to Proper Thinking let’s address Groupthink.

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What is Groupthink?

Wikipedia:  “Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.”

William H. Whyte, Jr. coined the term in a March 1952 Fortune magazine article of the same title.  He spoke more from a “social engineering” perspective, relating how the nation as a whole is moving away from a focus on individualism and independence, and rather towards the rationalized conformity of ‘groups.’

“What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity – an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well.”
– William H. Whyte, Jr.

On an individual psychological level Groupthink relates strongly to Conformism.

 

Irving Janus – Father of Groupthink

The largest contributor and impact in identifying the actual elements of Groupthink was Yale University research psychologist Irving Janis in his 1972 book: Victims of Groupthink.  (The revised 1982 title is Groupthink: Psychological Studies of Policy Decisions and Fiascoes.)

His definition:

“I use the term groupthink as a quick and easy way to refer to the mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence-seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive ingroup that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action. Groupthink is a term of the same order as the words in the newspeak vocabulary George Orwell used in his dismaying world of 1984. In that context, groupthink takes on an invidious connotation.  Exactly such a connotation is intended, since the term refers to a deterioration in mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgments as a result of group pressures.”

From Janis’ perspective he primarily focused on groupthink as it relates to smaller functional (or more correctly dysfunctional) groups such as you might find in government and business.  From what I can gather he doesn’t address it from a national mindset (such as in the related phenomenon of Social Conditioning).  He and other researchers specifically mention many screwed-up policy decisions made in government due to the influence of groupthink: the Bay of Pigs disaster, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Challenger explosion and the invasion of Iraq due to supposed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

GT08

 

 

Symptoms of Groupthink

The symptomatic elements identified by Janis include:

  • Illusions of invulnerability – there is excessive optimism and risk taking in the group; the group overestimates its abilities and strength
  • Belief in inherent morality – an unquestioned belief in the group’s morality and ignoring consequences of their decision
  • Collective rationalizations – the group collectively constructs rationalizations that challenge their assumptions
  • Stereotyping – the group holds stereotyped and dehumanized views of out-groups, labelling them as weak, evil, stupid, etc
  • Self-censorship – the group eliminates ideas that deviate from the consensus
  • Illusions of unanimity – silence is viewed as agreement
  • Peer Pressure – there is direct pressure on dissenters to conform rather than question the group
  • Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – individuals in the group protect the leader from dissenting views

Ultimately these can be summarized and grouped into three major types of symptoms:

– Overestimation of the group
– Closed-mindedness
– Pressures toward uniformity

The group becomes blind to facts that don’t align with the its culture or mission.

 

Causes of Groupthink

  • High in-group cohesiveness – avoidance of argument, dissension or disagreement; deindividuation; social pressure to conform
  • Insulation of the group from dissenting opinions and alternative decisions
  • Closed style leadership – the leader isn’t impartial
  • Homogeneity of the group’s members’ social backgrounds and ideology
  • Perceived stress due to external threats
  • Time pressures
  • Moral dilemmas

Psychological experiments by Solomon Ash, have shown that pressure to conform can cause a person to conform simply because it’s less stressful than challenging the group.

 

Some Results of Groupthink

— Quality of decision making is progressively compromised
— Concurrence seeking rather than making the right decision
— Judgment and diversity of opinion are sacrificed
— Irrational/dysfunctional decisions
— Collective confirmation bias
— Rigid conformity is pushed; suppression of independent thinking and creativity
— Counterarguments and counter-evidence is rationalized away
— Dissent is seen as unnecessary
— Autocratic, bullying, deceitful, dogmatic leadership

 

groupthink-schematic(source)

How to prevent Groupthink

  • Leaders should assign members to be critical evaluators
  • Leaders should not express their opinion regarding a group task
  • Set-up independent groups working on the same task
  • Examine all effective alternatives
  • Discuss with trusted people outside the group
  • Gather relevant information from outside sources
  • Invite outside experts
  • Assign someone the role of “Devil’s Advocate”
  • Encourage ideas to be challenged
  • Examine risks of the agreed-to decision
  • Objectively obtain and consider all information related to the decision at hand

 

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One of the most valuable traits for people in general, and leaders in particular, is to understand the limits of their knowledge, and to seek out sources and individuals who can help fill those gaps. Unfortunately this is rare in individuals.  It takes courage to state that you “don’t know.”

 

How to Personally Avoid Groupthink

What should you do personally to avoid Groupthink if you find yourself in a group that could default to this cognitive error?

  1. Acknowledge its existence – Like any other cognitive bias/error, the first step is to acknowledge that you and the group in which you participate are susceptible to this effect.
  2. Discuss it with the other group members – Humbly share with the group your concern for this issue and request that everyone keep it in mind.
  3. Don’t be silentIngroup silence is considered as unanimous agreement.  Speak up, even if it’s to say you don’t quite agree or something doesn’t seem right.  You can always agree later if the decision is found to be sound.
  4. Be the “devil’s advocate” or skeptic – As someone who is willing to speak up, bring up various potential pitfalls with the decision the group is wanting to select.  Bring up alternative information and courses of action.  Be an advocate for accuracy and optimal decision making.

Ultimately, the only way out of Groupthink is to lead – not follow.  Simply state, “I dissent” or “I disagree.”  Be the person who opens the door for other people to speak up as well (since they likely don’t want to be the first to question a decision and are waiting for others to open up).  This takes courage and confidence – a strong self-esteem.

GT01How to gain that level of confidence?  Two things really:

  • Read, absorb, adopt the guidelines presented on this site.  Expand your knowledge, and your humbleness to know you can’t know everything.  Yet realize you can know more than most and make more informed and rational decisions about life.  I’ve said in other articles that the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.  And the corollary to that is, the more you learn, the more you realize that rarely does anyone know.  I used to have low confidence and self-esteem.  A decision I made to expand my horizons:  seek, learn and grow  – naturally increased my self-confidence to challenge ideas and stand up for a pursuit of accuracy and truth.  Knowledge is confidence.
  • Don’t be a “joiner.  Don’t get hung up on being a member of a group. Be happy and proud to be a critical, independent thinker.  Don’t care what others think of you.  Get comfortable with your own self and your thoughts.

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And featuring my somewhat doppelganger:

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In the long run my observations have convinced me that some men, reasoning preposterously, first establish some conclusion in their minds which, either because of its being their own or because of their having received it from some person who has their entire confidence, impresses them so deeply that one finds it impossible ever to get it out of their heads. Such arguments in support of their fixed idea . . . gain their instant acceptance and applause.  On the other hand whatever is brought forward against it, however ingenious and conclusive, they receive it with disdain or with hot rage – if indeed it does not make them ill. Beside themselves with passion, some of them would not be backward even about scheming to suppress and silence their adversaries.  I have had some experience of this myself . . . No good can come of dealing with such people, especially to the extent that their company may be not only unpleasant but dangerous.
– Galileo Galilei

 

Some decent online sources: (there are many others of course)

As with any sourcing on the internet, links can go ‘dead’ after a time. If you find the above-mentioned links no longer working, try the WayBack Machine:  http://archive.org/web/web.php    It’s sometimes a good way to pull up and view websites that are no longer active.

 

 

Dogma

What is Dogma?

Dogma is any ideology that demands of its followers unquestioned loyalty and faith.  Faith in its doctrines . . . in its leaders . . . in its proclamations.  Behind its ‘scripture’ may stand elements of truths – some of which can (and are) useful at times.  However, it demands no questioning of its current tenets – particularly by laypersons and “outsiders.”  Violators of this edict are either ignored and/or ridiculed and ostracized . . . . cut off from their ‘enlightened’ body of fellow followers; beat down into a silent pulp.

  • Accept what you’re told
  • Don’t question
  • Shut up
  • Go along
  • Praise the authorities

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Where Can Dogma Be Found?

You’re thinking I’m only referring to Religion in my definition above, aren’t you?      🙂

Dogma can most definitely be found in Religion, where it serves as a foundation of intensely strong emotional and intellectual slavery.

But it also resides in Politics and Academia (particularly in Science and History).  In fact, we seem to have reached a point where Science has become its own “religion.”  Science and its droves of loyal, “rational” skeptics demand absolutely no challenge to existing scientific theory; its sacred ‘scripture.’

This group of adamant Dogma Disciples(TM) spew proclamations that certain cherished scientific theories are unequivocal truth and cannot be questioned or challenged at any cost or in any way.  It’s as though the theory is settled and absolutely “known” as 100% accurate for all time!  They don’t want you (or any other layperson) to know how Science is supposed to be done.  You are to believe that their proclamation is 100% truth – or face denigration and disgrace.

12042905_10153646142035786_2310498310002067900_nTrue science, however, will never proclaim absolute, 100% accuracy.  All theories are subject to revision if new, more compelling evidence comes to light to indicate the theory needs modification.  Dogmatists deny this possibility.  They are protecting their precious turf at all costs.

The interesting ‘kicker’ is that most incredible scientific revolutions come not from within the paradigm of dogmatic assertions, but instead from outsiders of the scientific specialization in question.  (Reference Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.“)

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The Upside Of Dogma

Is there an upside?  I guess it depends from which side of the pulpit/publication you’re standing.  From the side of the purveyors of dogma, it definitely serves a few critical purposes:

  • Keeps the followers blinded and in line
  • Keeps the followers dumbed-down and unquestioning
  • Maintains a loyal herd of acolytes – willing to do their ‘duty’ for the cause
  • Holds the threat of punishment, ridicule and embarrassment above the heads of those even considering the questioning of dogmatic tenets
  • Maintains control of the dogmatic leaders’ power structure/hierarchy
  • Keeps the “machine” of control in place – regarding all aspects of control (knowledge, thought, emotions, faithfulness, money, duty, patriotism)
  • Keeps the money flowing to those in control (religious tithes, scientific funding, political donations/bribes)
  • An EXCELLENT manipulation & propaganda tool. . . . . conditioning par excellence!

 

The Downside Of Dogma

The downsides of dogma?  For devout followers the following list will make no sense and they will deny it to their deaths.  For seekers of reality and truth . . . . adventurous thinkers and discoverers . . . . questioning members of the human race that don’t appreciate ideology shoved down their throats, this list will resonate:

  • It stunts progress and growth
  • Stunts discovery
  • Stunts the spirit of adventure
  • Stunts cross-specialization contributions
  • Bolsters dogmatic power mongers
  • Maintains the existing power hierarchy and “truth” narrative
  • Closes open discussions and alternative theories
  • Absolutely crushes the desire and aspirations of new entrants to academia who feel actual scientific discovery and advancement is what should be pursued (unless it aligns with the source of the funding)
  • Unequivocally supports the corporate and political funding monster (they’re not going to get results contrary to what they pay for).
  • Absolutely silences anyone in academia, politics or religion who may want to challenge the status quo
  • Provides another unquestioning advocate for the cause
  • If you’re a member of the ‘herd’ it gives you something to latch on to as a security blanket in all aspects of life.  No need to question anything.  Supports lazy thinking.
  • Refer to all the reasons above for the “upside” of dogma.

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Are You A Dogma Disciple?

So, honestly now . . . . does any of the following describe you?

  • Espouse total, unequivocal, unquestioning support for your political ideology
  • Espouses total, unequivocal, unquestioning support for the very popular headlines of the “important” scientific theories such as the Big Bang, Black Holes, Dark Energy/Space, Evolution, Energy, etc.
  • Espouses total, unequivocal, unquestioning support for your version of religious enlightenment, giving absolute devotion to its sacred scriptures.
  • Never dig beyond evidence that supports any of the above; employing Confirmation Bias in your approach to “research.”
  • Judge and ridicule those who don’t believe as you do.
  • Employ Cognitive Dissonance to any evidence that threatens or conflicts with your dogma.
  • You feel there must be a definitive answer to everything and you’re willing to latch on to whatever “authority” espouses those answers (regardless of the actual detailed evidence behind it).

 

Ridding Yourself of Dogma

Understand we’re all subject to Confirmation Bias and make a conscientious and concerted effort to battle it within your psyche.

Understand we’re all subject to Cognitive Dissonance and make a conscientious and concerted effort to battle it within your psyche.

Practice the Clinical Attitude Towards Arguments and let it guide you to reality and truth wherever it may lead – even if in total conflict with your existing and cherished belief structure.

Question everything.  Assume nothing.  Be a Walking Question Mark.  Be humble and open to reasonable and rational concepts and ideas, even if they fly in the face of orthodoxy.

Be a Free Thinker.  Don’t be afraid to question the herd. . . . to question the norm . . . to question orthodoxy . . . . to be a Knowledge Adventurer.

Be willing to admit that you might not have definitive answers to the questions of life and the universe, but you’re willing to learn and adapt.  Stating there isn’t enough evidence to know for sure doesn’t mean it’s a sign of weakness . . . instead it’s a sign of wisdom.

 

Freedom!

What’s the reward to this dogma-freeing approach?

Confidence . . . Independence . . . Self-Control . . . Individual Self-Reliance . . . . Self-Authority . . . . Manipulation-proof existence . . . . Seeing bull-shit when it’s purveyed to you as ‘fact’ . . . . Resoluteness that there are no 100%-guaranteed answers to the mysteries of the universe . . . . Seeing power mongers for what they are (protecting their power-base turf) . . . . Seeing ignorance masked as enlightenment . . . . Freedom!

 

Integrity,Commitment,Truth

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

03213eaf500cbfb4c9ff964cd5c1313cI saw this on a car’s bumper sticker today.  It definitely struck me and resonated with what I continually try to focus upon.  Always question your basic beliefs and assumptions.  Objectively (truly objectively) look at all points of an argument or belief.  Use the Clinical Attitude whenever possible.

Embrace intellectual integrity and be willing to admit that beliefs you’ve held for many years may be wrong when you’re presented with evidence that conflicts and challenges those beliefs.  Adopt the attitude of, “Bring it on. Give me some kind of evidence that can seriously rock the foundations of my life assumptions. Make me question the foundation of my beliefs, change as needed, and get closer to the truth.  As rational thinking individuals this is the approach we should adopt.

Unfortunately, my assumption is that most people who would put this sticker on their car are more interested in how it applies to others rather than themselves.  I think that 99% of the populace would NEVER want to challenge and change their inherent beliefs.

If the comic strip below represents the essence of you looking for “evidence” then you simply aren’t objectively challenging yourself in any way.  You’re deceiving yourself.

ByFacoMIcAA2roX.png-largeIf this is you . . . . you’re a slave to Confirmation Bias.

If you listen to pundits spouting all you believe and hold true, and think that confirms your position . . .  you’re not objectively looking for the truth.  You’re looking for a security-blanket – your own personal self-deception binky.

Don’t believe what you believe.  Don’t assume the majority are right.  Break free from the herd.  Assume they’re wrong.  Assume you’re wrong.  Dig for ALL the evidence to move towards a more accurate picture of reality – the truth.

Integrity,Commitment,Truth

Walking Question Mark

Rosicrucians, because of their world view of questioning everything, are frequently known as Walking Question Marks.  Some applicable quotes from the monograms include:

“A true Rosicrucian is a walking question mark.”

“A lack of explanations or obscure statements never satisfy a Rosicrucian.”

“This is the spirit of the Rosicrucian – a person who is not so quick to accept as truth that which they are told is truth.  Rather, a Rosicrucian is one who is ready and willing to challenge the norm for the sake of discovering for themselves the nature of truth at any cost.”

“It is suggested that you examine various beliefs that you hold to be true and try to understand an opposing belief as if you actually held it to be true.  To be able to develop such an ability is the key to true listening and understanding and is referred to in Rosicrucian epistemology as the “polemical exercise.”

These are attributes of history’s greatest minds – Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Thomas Payne, Nikola Tesla, etc.  Brave minds and spirits who challenged the status quo, sought truth at all costs – some of whom paid the highest price.

Whether or not one is a student of any specific Rosicrucian system, anyone who desires to rise above the herd of the complacent and mundane should practice this approach to life. Properly done, the clinical attitude helps us tackle this pursuit via genuine critical inquiry and humble intellectual integrity.

It’s an approach to life and proper thinking that becomes the basis for wonder – as well as helping you overcome pervasive cognitive biases such as Confirmation Bias, Cognitive Dissonance and Rationalizations.

171It’s an essential skill for the pursuit of truth. Question everything. Doubt the veracity of what you’ve been taught and what you assume to be true.

Question your belief system. Question your world view. Question your religion. Question your teachers. Question your politicians. Question your government. Question any so-called authorities. Question history. Question science. Question duty. Question guilt. Question sacrifice. Question media. Question the popular narrative.  Question all you were taught through life. Much of what you “know” isn’t true. Seek beyond your cultural indoctrination and “education.”

you-question-everything-you-think-you-knowQuestion everythingDon’t accept standard answers.  Find your own answers.  Assume claims are wrong until you’ve dug into them sufficiently.  Be a Walking Question Mark!

Integrity,Commitment,Truth