Outside the fence

The Misconception:  You celebrate diversity and respect others’ points of view.

The Truth: You are driven to create and form groups and then believe others are wrong just because they are others.

Article about groups, pretty interesting as I’m part of the Misconception by default. [by the way doing an experiment with teams of boys only instead of 50/50 boys/girls is a huge bias for the results.]

You remember high school. You’ve worked in a cubicle farm. You’ve watched Stephen King movies. People in new situations instinctively form groups.

Yeah, and that sucks. I always have been singled out because I’m on the fence. Either way or none of them is fine. I’ll probably go on my own. In a zombie situation, I would probably be Michonne. When you have been living in a pretty isolate state, you don’t think groups. And it’s a good thing because they’re based on BS.

Hopefully by now you’ve had one of those late-night conversations fueled by exhaustion, elation, fear or drugs in which you and your friends finally admit you are all bullshitting each other. If you haven’t, go watch The Breakfast Club and come back. The idea is this: You put on a mask and uniform before leaving for work. You put on another set for school. You have costume for friends of different persuasions and one just for family.

I always wanted to have only one mask the closest to who I really am, the better. I hate masks. I see them, they make me cringe. I understand how they work with our group-based society but I don’t like to play this game. Because I value honesty. I’m dumb.

Every human gathering and institution from the Gay Pride Parade to the KKK works to remain connected by developing a set a norms and values which signals to members when they are dealing with members of the in-group and help identify others as part of the out-group.

Exactly, which is if I look back on my life why I constantly have been going in and out groups. I’m never satisfied with them, there’s always a set of norms or values that doesn’t fit me. Musicians who will only vomit everything electronic, praise anything unbearably hard to play and hard to listen to or will be addicted to audio gear porn. Game developers who have a pretty narrow sense of style or black people who might have too much of it (with bling) and so on. And you have to say “yay!” to this or you’re not part of the group. I always feel like the skateboarding tribe as one of the most open and not caring who you are one -at least it was like that where and when I started- but really, no women? But what puts me off groups is what this article described, when you spend more time on outsiders than you do on your own group. For some people it’s all their lives. It’s pointless to me.

So when I enter a group -always pretty easy from the fence- after studying it I always want to improve it, fix it. Sort of expand its boundaries I don’t know I’m in search of universality, not division. Change alone is a problem and it comes directly in conflict with power inside a group and then it either gets complicated or “unnoticed”.

“The research suggests you and rest of humanity will continue to churn into groups, banding and disbanding, and the beautiful collective species-wide macromonoculture imagined by the most Utopian of dreams might just be impossible”

Well, I was hoping on that so leave my goals alone, research. I already know that it probably will not happen in my lifetime but I like to believe in "at the end, we’ll have to hang together”.

What makes me a bit of a pessimist is how groups shape people’s minds and will bury every single bit of rationality. Think of crowds after a soccer game. But the same with socialists or what not. Groups fuck individuals and prevent them to think otherwise by providing enough for their egos. Let’s just be real for a moment.

As psychologist Jonathan Haidt says, our minds “unite us into teams, divide us against other teams, and blind us to the truth.”

2 Responses to “Outside the fence”

  1. sara Says:

    I had the occasion this past year to discover, learn and practice for my course something that will become a major tool in my future work: The group dynamic. I could witness my self during futures therapists session how the group’s cohesion is strenghtened by the idea of an enemy. The only way to properly channel the energy, and the reason why the group can be used as a mediation for therapy, is to have a “Game Master”, keeping an eye on the emerging tendancies, determining the limits of intervention and jugement about others. Sometimes the enemy is chosen within the group: scapegoating is also a frequent, very insidious tendancy, even in the dynamic of a group of future therapists… scary…

  2. sara Says:

    also sometimes, a simple observant of the group’s activity suffices to lower these tendancies.

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