Most people feel that they are ultimately in control of what they believe, why they choose to believe it, and that their beliefs are individually unique. Unfortunately, research suggests otherwise. Everyone is a conformist at some level. The human being is a social animal, and adaptation has shown to play key roles in survival of the human species and all other species as well.
Another area many people feel comfortable with is in maintaining a generally liberal bias. The average person will not easily admit that they are judgmental toward others. Yet, this is a survival skill that all animals employ naturally. An environment must be cataloged accordingly in order that a species may survive it. When discussing evolution, it is commonly misunderstood that the theory postulates that the fittest are favored to live on – avoiding extinction.
Ninety-nine percent of all species that have ever existed have become extinct. This places survivors roughly in the one percentile. The big and bad have fallen among this ninety-nine percent. It is better stated that adaptability sustains a living being. During the time when large carnivorous predators scoured the earth’s surface for sustenance, every living being was targeted. Evidently, it was not the strongest that survived. Rather, the small mammals that were able to burrow underground eventually would lead to us – the homo-sapien. These small animals adapted, thus, leaving a very important lesson about the processes of evolution behind. As it turns out – sharp elongated teeth, powerful muscles, and sheer size does not guarantee passage through the shifting sands of time.
Adaptability requires a comprehensive understanding of the surrounding ecosystem(s) and the dynamics of cohabitation in that environment. Humans expend little worry about wildlife today. Instead, their focus is centered on survival within their own species. Upon meeting a stranger, a multitude of judgments pass through our decision making processes in order to determine how (or if) the new subject is to fit our social hierarchy schematic. Some of these evaluations are conscious, others are not. This is known as the primacy effect. No one actually gets a second chance to make a genuine first impression. In contrast, incorporating the idea of susceptibility to change into how we think of others is a wise choice. Otherwise, we can be easily deceived.
Modern civilization finds itself in a historical seat that has become the very fulcrum for the balance of survival – not only of its own species, but the rest of the inhabitants of the earth, as well. It has monopolized adaptation to the point of selfish lethargy. This is also known as apathy. The dark irony lurking in these very human shadows is the idea that caring for each other and our environment may prove to be the height of our adaptation.
In light of this looming threat of social conformity, truly unique thought may seem impossible. That is due to the fact that society is the product of a progression. There are no completely independent thoughts – but there will always be room for progress. And…it is progression that defines the future. Think…interdependently – think progressively – this is the key to survival in such a strange and cumbersome world.