Why is it that some people seem incapable of independently holding convictions independently from the crowd? Why is it that facts will just bounce off these people and they seem to be un-persuadable with reason and evidence?
‘Group think’ is the concept of following the herd in terms of what is generally ‘believed’ to be true. Rather than arriving at conclusions about the world independently it is the tendency to preferentially go with the consensus. But this is a broad concept and it is not a primary. What causes it? What lies at its root? There are several components that need to be considered in the process of answering this question which I will examine below. But first…
Here are the links that I mention in this podcast. The first is to Episode 100 with Bo Bennet on Logical Fallacies Bo Bennet wrote the book Logically Fallacious. And here is the link to my rational explanation of Emotions. Understanding emotions is so important, and yet within the Matrix it is all back to front.
You can listen to the Podcast above, or watch it on Youtube below.
Subjectivism is basically the idea that reality is what ever it is said to be and that there is no objective reality existing independent of consciousness. There are three kinds of subjectivism.
1. Supernatural subjectivism: which is when the truth is whatever a deity or supernatural being says it is.
2. Collective subjectivism: which is when truth is whatever the group or society says it is.
3. Personal subjectivism which is when truth is whatever the individual believes/feels it to be.
Notably, no proof, evidence or logic are required to back up the subjecvist claims. A common example of personal subjectivism in this context is when someone cannot believe that something could be true if they personally cannot conceive of how it could be true. It is very similar to the way they can’t conceive that other people can commit some atrocity or evil that they themselves would not commit.
It is essentially a philosophical assumption in the mental operating system of people that doesn’t not correlate with reality. It can arise from a limited knowledge base which necessarily limits the capacity for understanding.
Inability to think logically
Decades of woefully inadequate education have left the vast majority of populations incapable of assessing the logical strength of arguments. In fact, the majority don’t realise the central importance of the logical argument, and have not developed an ability to follow the rational argument at all. Logical thinking is simply not practiced and not appreciated.
This has become endemic in modern post truth western culture. Facts, evidence, logic and proof are no longer relevant in the process of finding truth for far to many people. A shocking example of this is in the entire community of microbiologists and virologists who do not question the standard methods for the ‘so-called’ isolation of viruses. See the video below for more details.
Appeal to Authority and Emotions
Two key logical fallacies further support the concept of group think. Once people have no ability to follow the logical argument they are very easily fooled by logical fallacies
The delegation to authority is supremely powerful in the minds of those who are not independent thinkers, those who are not sovereign intellectually and psychologically independent. Delegation to authority is justifiable and necessary to some degree. But ultimately, responsibility must be taken for the chosen sources of information from which we get information. Then the information must be logically scrutinised. The truth seeker must never accept any claims on blind faith.
The second logical fallacy that is present in many examples of group think is the appeal to emotion. Being incapable of independent critical thinking people defer to their emotions – they have nothing else. Thus, they are easily swayed by any appeals to emotions in the mainstream narrative.
When we drill right down to the fundamentals we find that whether or not people choose to gain knowledge independently of the crowd come down to the characteristic manner in which they habitually use their consciousness.
Nathaniel Branden coined the term Social Metaphysics. The evidence to show that it is at the root of group think is compelling. It is very likely the fundamental reason behind ‘group think’ because it explains the fundamental issue of a lack of psychological independence.
This means that someone doesn’t consider his own mind his ultimate means of guidance, but he reaches for the opinions of others first and foremost. Such people don’t deal with reality fist hand – they don’t face existence alone judging what is right or wrong – they reach for the consensus, or whatever “they say”.
Metaphysics is the most basic branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of reality. Social metaphysics is when a person habitually defaults to the group to know what is real, or what is true. It is a default on using one’s own mind, a default on using one’s rational faculty in the process of thinking to understand and know reality firsthand.
Branden defined Social metaphysics as the psychological syndrome (a collection of symptoms characterising a specific illness) that characterises an individual who holds the consciousnesses of other men not of reality as his ultimate psycho-epistemological frame of reference.
The concept rests on two key factual aspects of human nature.
- Man is a being of volitional consciousness. His basic choice is to use his consciousness, his rational faculty, or not. In other words, to think or not.
- Man is a rational being and the exercising of his consciousness in thought is his survival means.
These two facts impose a solemn responsibility that many men evade. He must choose to initiate a reasoning process and choose to constantly check his conclusions by observation and logic. He must choose to be guided by his rational judgment.
As he faces the Universe alone, he must be concerned that he is using his mind correctly and that he knows what he is doing when he acts. He must take care when choosing his values and actions, because pain suffering and self-destruction are the result if he gets things wrong and acts against the facts of reality. Man can either accept and welcome these facts and the responsibility they imply, which leads to self-esteem. Or he can fear and dread them which leads to neurosis, anxiety and inferiority complex, depression. A healthy man welcomes the responsibility of a volitional consciousness, to think and to make judgments, especially in the field of values that will guide his actions and his life.
Many men seek to escape the responsibility of volition and escape from their own nature and responsibility to think for themselves. If they do, they only have two other choices. To go with their feelings, or to follow the herd. Usually, a mixture of the two because the two will overlap. They will feel like following the herd.
To the extent that they do this they default on proper human growth. They sabotage their own intellectual and psychological growth and intellectual development. They effectively declare themselves second rate humans metaphysically. With no first-hand contact with reality man looks to others to provide guidance. If he is not going to risk knowing reality himself, he must look to others to provide the guidance that should come from his own consciousness.
It doesn’t happen overnight – it is the result of a long series of failures to think over many years. It is the result of a cumulative default on thinking. Furthermore, it is all the more prevalent on important issues, on BIG ISSUES, because the risks of failure are too great if he uses his own mind.
He subconsciously knows this is wrong. In any clash between his judgment and the judgment of others he will ditch his own judgment – and feel guilty about it. You can’t escape the destruction of your self-esteem because you know that you should be using your mind. It is a choice to evade thinking. And it cannot be escaped without guilt.
But there is no escape from reality or from man’s nature and the manner of survival that nature requires. Every living species that possess awareness can survive only by the guidance of its consciousness that is the role of consciousness. We men are guided by our form of conscious, a volitional one. One that must focus, perceive, draw abstractions, gain knowledge, pass judgements, form values decide what are the right goals to pursue in order to survive and achieve his well being. If he doesn’t choose to do this, the only other choice is to blindly follow the judgments of others. He doesn’t know what to do but he does know that knowledge is necessary. He effectively becomes a parasite of consciousness, living off the thinking of others.
People versus facts
A man of authentic self-esteem and sovereign consciousness deals with reality, with nature, with an objective world of facts. He holds his mind as his tool of survival and develops his ability think. But the man who has abandoned his mind lives in a Universe not of facts but of people. People not facts are his reality. People not reason are his means of survival. they are his tool of survival. It is with them that he must deal. It is them who he must …understand, please, placate, deceive, manoeuvre, manipulate, obey, etc.
He has no other standard of truth, of rightness or personal worth. He seeks the approval of others as his only sign that he is doing OK. He therefore dreads to go against the group in any of its ideas claims or beliefs. The condition of social metaphysics exists in the majority of people to some degree.
It is in the realm of abstractions that the Social Metaphysician most desperately looks to others. most especially in matters ‘out there’ involving abstractions at a distance such as politics, health, economics, etc, they will always default to the mainstream view – to what the authorities say – to what the group believes.
also, he will be more likely to have contempt for their own judgment with regards to BIG issues, beyond their immediate experience. They may be happy choosing their own personal hobbies, colour schemes, favourite music bands or model of car. (Even here they may well follow fashion)
The basic dependence is psycho-epistemological. a parasitism of cognition, of judgment, of values. A wish to function within a context established by others. A wish to live by the guidance of rules for which one does not bear ultimate intellectual responsibility. Since his pseudo self-esteem rests on the ability to deal with the world as perceived by others his fear of disapproval or condemnation is the fear of being pronounced inadequate for reality, unfit for existence, devoid of personal worth. A verdict he hears whenever he is rejected or dares to question the “wisdom” of the group.
These people fear the disapproval of not wearing a mask. They couldn’t bear to not wear one and risk the wrath of the group – especially in the light of the propaganda on bus stop boards here in the UK that tells us to protect others! These people cannot disengage from the matrix for fear of being abandoned in an unknowable Universe.
He is a parasite of consciousness. NOT seeking material support (necessarily) but needing to know what to do, how to live, and therefore needing to follow the guidance of others, the group, the authorities, the consensus.
This is the root of how men surrender the world to evil and how otherwise ‘good men’ will be inclined to do nothing. Some may say that they are being practical, in caving in to the group consensus.
Most people are repeaters. They don’t do any original thinking that seriously questions the conclusions handed down to them from others. Most people simply accept the conclusions of others as unquestionable if sufficient number of people already hold that conviction or believe that assumption to be true.
The main point here is that we must all learn to improve your own thinking. But more than that we must understand that some people will never “wake up”. They can’t. They haven’t got what it takes to acquire the knowledge, and they have no ability to stand apart from the group.
Arguably not everyone has to acquire the necessary knowledge to lead a culture out of the madness of the post truth world we now currently inhabit. But the reality is that there are far too few of us to make any serious difference at the moment.