Saturday, August 05, 2006

Social Conformity II

I’ve never been able to do group think. I’ve been the one in the room who saw the elephant and had to talk about it, when the rest of the room had somehow agreed to make it invisible. Somehow I just didn’t know. When they all followed the rules of social conformity, my drumbeat was beating to some other tune. They were debating about pencils and paperclips. I was declaring that customers neededtending. They were deciding what happened 10 years ago. I was drawing pictures about how to get to the future.

One on one the conversations seem to work at a pace that makes sense to me. Make it one more and it could get confusing. More than that, hmmm, I don’t know, quiet might be the best way for me. Not that it was the path I could choose. How do you choose to stay quiet when folks are about to be crushed by an elephant that they can’t see? won’t see? don’t want to see?

Or is the elephant only important to me?

Maybe the group is so strongly tied to their conformity that the elephant has no power to sway them. They’d rather go down with the ship than be first to say, “Hey, there’s an elephant here. What should we do about it?”

Which line is the same height on those cards? To stay with the group most would choose the wrong line. How the rules of group think can rule out the most obvious truths to reinforce the strangest, most unfounded beliefs. The safety of the group is a powerful thing.

It would hurt me physically to choose the lie just to stay with the group.

I am both blessed and cursed at not being able to understand how to enter into the “hive mind” that is social conformity.
−me strauss Letting me be


Janus Torrell said...

I am not into Conformity either, but be careful..if they do have an invisible elephant in the room it would be a shame to be the only one that didn't get out of the way

ME Strauss said...

Hi Janus,
That's the problem. There's a responsibility to say something, but no one likes you to save their life either. Everyone wants to save their own.

Jennifer said...

I've been one to kind of do my own thing. Yet on the other hand I can get along with anyone.

Sometimes it's not worth causing a big production, other times it's just smarter to keep my mouth shut (what this really means is that I'm doing this because it'll end up helping me get to or something that I want.)

But in the end I'm never worried about impressing anyone. Just living up to my standard of living and doing what I believe is the right thing to do in any given situation.

Besides, conformity can be so boring and depressing! Who wants that? Just so you can fit in? I guess it depends on how important it is to you.

Matt Mannix said...

It is a situation I experience often. The hardest part is not becoming cynical as a result of it. I often end up thinking that people must be being wilfully stupid. Which makes it very difficult to respect the same people's opinions.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Jennifer,
Some folks conform because they're afraid not to. They follow the crowd because they don't know how to walk their own path.

You do fine on your own and chose when to and when not to. I admire that about you.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Matt,
I don't know it's stupid or fearful. It's certainly how Hitler got his way. I just don't understand it all no matter what it is.

Roberta said...

In groups, all I want is to rid myself of any responsibility. I will let them know there is an elephant in the room even if I have to be a bloody pest or make a fool of myself to do so. Because letting them know even though it may sound like utter foolishness removes responsibility from me - completely, entirely, so that when the elephant stomps on everyone I can look at the carnage without great sadness, guilt, or remorse. walking away "I told you so"

ME Strauss said...

Hi Roberta,
I get stuck trying to explain to them about the elephant and how it got there, why they should get rid of it, and how easy it is to let it out. Then I start looking like I WANT to be the smartest girl in the room, which I don't. I'm just the girl who doesn't want to be the only one who sees the elephant.