Thinking for Yourself in a Social World

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.

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19 Comments

Filed under anthropology, cultural relativism, culture, humanism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Religion and Modern Politics, thinking

19 responses to “Thinking for Yourself in a Social World

  1. Anonymous

    Love it! Getting that Animal Behavior science on, huh? Seriously, pick up an Animal Behavior college textbook, I learned so much in that class. But, this is good. Flows nicely, and from what I can tell, rather accurate. Excellent and realistic!

    • Throughout my study of sociology, instructors and text book authors have heavily referenced animal behavior. Naturally, primates are the only animals that maintain a similar social structure.

      Wolves, dolphins, lions, elephants, down to even ants and bees provide excellent social models to study. It’s amazing to understand the commonalities between humans and other sentient beings.

      Thanks for reading!

      ~Cat

      • –Naturally, primates are the only animals that maintain a similar social structure. —

        Similar, as in close to identical. Similarities are common with all social animals…

      • Anonymous

        Ever heard of a fuckin’ Cow Bird? Talk about one sneaky bird species, they drop their big ass eggs in a little sparrow’s nest, sometimes kicking the sparrow eggs out, then leave and the sparrow raises their big ass chick and sometimes neglecting their own because the Cowbird chick is so fuckin’ big and hungry. Birds are so weird. Probably why bird watching, though it may sound lame, is such a popular hobby for older and wiser people.

        • Never heard of that.

          lol…I know some people like that. It also sounds like what some countries do – overtaking the nest from within and sending the former inhabitants to their death.

          Sadly, wildlife can continuously be measured against humans and found lacking in immorality. Humans have conquered survival, now they’re just pushing each other around – overcome by greed. We have no excuse for not rising above this behavior.

  2. I am in love with your mind – you are smoking hot! Guessing you either have higher education and/or are in adademia.

    I was raised asocial for my mother’s religion, and am still not very social, preferring cerebral activities instead. Apparently you have some measure of this too.

    Are the distant past blogs you have referred to still online? It seems you took some time off from blogging?

    • I was in college for five years and began blogging after my first philosophy class. Actually, I used to be a social butterfly, but I fell in love with thinking and learning. This takes away from the time I could be socializing at bars and shagging random women, I guess. lol

      I have lived a full life and done my playing.

      To be honest, I began deep contemplation under the influence of marijuana at the age of 15. I’ve been seeking ever since.

      My old blogs are done. I’m re-engineering old ideas and finally writing about the entire picture as I see it.

  3. czarina88

    This blog didn’t fully work for me.
    (You’re going to block me soon, lol, but I took your request for criticism most seriously:)

    A small grammatical error grated. If you are interested in editing it, I’ll let you know what it is if you message me; but obviously it’s not important if this is not for re-publishing.

    More to the point: The blog introduced too many wonderful complex topics that it seemed entirely too short and not in-depth to me.
    The concept was great, but I left each paragraph wanting much more information; as if this could or should have been an entire chapter in a book.
    The result gave me a feeling of skimming fascinating subject matter that you, the author, were absolutely capable of providing but didn’t; as if there was a word limit. Jumping around to hit many bases.

    The subject matter, and your fine prose, deserved expansion.

  4. You are so helpful!!!

    So, expand on the ideas with further illustration and/or historical/scientific reference?

    I think this will end of being a chapter. The ideas are jumbled now, as I am still in the very raw experimental phase of my writing process.

    Your feedback is excellent. Go as far in depth as you wish. These blogs are all concepts headed for the book compilation. The ideas are very rough. Your input on what you’d like to see more of is extremely useful!

    Peace,

    ~Cat

  5. czarina88

    Both further illustration and historical/scientific reference.
    You said it too: this deserves to be an entire chapter.

    When expanding, I woulld be mindful of drawing the threads of what is now just ‘each paragraph’ (but would be each ‘section’) tighter.
    I wanted a stronger progression – a deeper sense of the march from the ideas and facts posited from section I through the last.
    You did that very well in ‘Beliefs Are Dangerous’.

  6. I admit, the beliefs piece was revised. Most of these pieces were written and then thrown out here. I’m looking for objections to the ideas as well.

    I like your idea of expanding on each paragraph. I can only imagine what you’ll think about the ‘Uncommon Sense’ piece. lol. That is idea soup!

    I wonder how you would compare it to this piece in that respect.

    The beliefs piece could be even more elaborate by far as well…

    I’m not ready for a finish critique by any means. What do you think about the ideas? Do they draw the reader in?

    I think what’s happening here is my plan to blog for feedback is, perhaps unconsciously, producing…well…blogs. lol

    Hrrrmmmm

  7. Magdalin

    I think your writing is good but you need to be more precise, clear or, more in depth about your concepts, if this going to be in a book.
    I need to re-read stuff a lot (being bilingual can be a disadvantage) but initially I was not sure if you were supporting conformity or, rejecting it. Then, after I re-read I considered that you were most likely trying to say, that we are conforming to a status quo that cannot allow us to progress forward, therefore we need to become able to think outside the walls of any conformity status and check ourselves.

    I just want to add, that conformity has good and bad affects depending on the situation. It is to what we choose to conform to, and whether that is positive or, negative to our evolvement, that makes the whole difference which can either hinder or, promote further progress. If we conform to higher ways of thinking and being than we will progress, but if we conform to stale ways of thinking and being than we will disintegrate…

    I think this is similar to your ideas… but… you are stating it differently…

  8. “I think your writing is good but you need to be more precise, clear or, more in depth about your concepts, if this going to be in a book.”

    This is good, but I need specific examples (from my writing).

    Thanks, Mag!

    • Magdalin

      I can try, but I am not sure how helpful I can be here. From my knowledge with writing a thesis, I think it is important to clarify the scope of your individual paragraphs and expand from there, provide in depth examples, define concepts and ideas that may not be readily known to your reader, and keep continuity of your ideas from one paragraph to another of what you are trying to say so, that the reader will be clear as to what you are attempting to discuss.

      “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.”

      The term ‘conformist’ may need some clarification before using it to explain further. What do you mean by a ‘conformist”. Some readers, new to the subject may not know what that means. You go on to explain a conformist as a social animal which is one way of defining it but still vague imo. Then, you hint on how adaptation has shown to play key roles in survival but you do not expand on it as to how? But rather you start on a new paragraph and talk about the next tendency of human mentality that is liberal bias and being judgmental… But once more you do not expand much but go on to your next thought on the subject matter…

      I think you basically jumped around too much on this one. You covered too much ground with only short statements. You did not give some definition behind your concepts and did not expand with relative examples when needed, along with lacking some continuity of your main idea from one paragraph to another. This could have been resolved, some, by initially providing a main paragraph that presented what your main focus was and what you were going to be discussing in more depth in the following paragraphs.

      If the reader was not aware of your views or, certain ideas you are discussing they would be unclear as to what your main focus was with this.

      :) Focus it more and expand on it more….

  9. Magdalin

    I came back to add, that although I was having some issues with how this article flowed, and had to critique it in comparison to what I know about book writing (which I do not like doing), I overall liked this and your thoughts and ideas on the subject matter…
    I just had to read it a few times to get the gist of it, which I think could have been partly me, and partly it was also the way it was written….
    Hope I was not too confusing in explaining what I thought to be the issues with this… :/
    After I reread it, it is more clear to me now… although I am still troubled about how the paragraphs are organized … And … I don’t know if I should try mentioning anything else…8]

    Just a reader’s perspective…

  10. You were very helpful, Mag. I appreciate it. I guess I need to refine these rough pieces before I ask for too much of a critique.

    I do plan to expand on all of this eventually. It is the subject matter that I question.

    I barely spell check before I toss these up. lol

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