Author Topic: thinking for yourself is a group activity  (Read 1215 times)

serendipity

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thinking for yourself is a group activity
« on: January 23, 2022, 08:47:53 pm »

(in which i demonstrate the traditional arrogance of youth without any evidence or relevant experience, thus:)

when people do (or don't do) important things, it's usually for a good reason. or at least a reason no worse than anybody else's - sure, we could say that nobody has good reasons for anything because as a species our brains are just fundamentally not very good, but because that applies to everybody and probably always will there's not really any useful action to take in response to it. i prefer to frame it as a good reason, because drawing a distinction between 'good' and 'less bad' is rhetorically cute but not very helpful when it comes to reality where no available choice can really be believably called good.

what i'm getting at is, if you've told someone* to think for themselves, explained what you mean, directly shown why it matters and why they personally should care and just how much fun it can be, you may be wondering why - even after trying it out - they aren't making a habit of it. yes, it's effortful and sometimes painful, but isn't it worth it? the thing is, a lot of that effort and pain depends on context. if you start asking awkward questions and everyone around you just looks confused and asks if you're okay (or offers to fire you) then it's going to be a lot more work to keep it up than with people who'll run with it. when someone insists on keeping their head down and instrumentalising themselves, it's often because they're surrounded by institutions that make it especially painful to interact with them in your capacity as a human being.

if you think someone should Think For Themselves(tm) then you can smack them with the sharp edge of the nearest handy metaphor and watch them rub their head, look around, take a few tentative steps over broken glass and go right back to hiding outside of themselves. it might be funny. or you could try to make contexts and cultures (like discordia) that actively reward a bit of criticism, where we can help each other be for ourselves and survive in that state for longer. it's quite enough effort to work around our inconvenient neurology in order to be alive without being in an environment that works against us as well, it's a pretty long shot to expect many people in a hostile environment to hang on to the Horrible Truth long enough to fix that environment, so as far as possible what about starting from the environment?



* for instance, yourself

Doktor Howl

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2022, 04:02:12 am »
That's not a bad hypothesis, but there's another possibility.

2 million years of primate survival have taught us to emulate the successful.  When we had to worry about leopards and Those Other Bastards Over There hogging up all the game, that was a really good strategy.  In a high tech society, it's not a particularly successful.

However, the fact is that we existed for hundreds of thousands of years in the first case, and maybe a hundred years in the second case. 

Now, marketing nerds understand this, so your views are presented to you by one of three types:

Athletic young men.
Distinguished older men.
Hot young blondes.

They aren't talking to the front of your brain, they're talking more towards the back, because the great majority of people will listen to and absorb what they have to say, because they are perceived as being the winners of the tribe by the part of your brain that spends all its time looking for leopards (and, of course, Those Other Bastards Over There).

Turn on the TV and hit a "news" channel, just for one example, and watch it with the sound off.  You don't know what they're saying, but at least part of you wants to trust them anyway.
Molon Lube

serendipity

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2022, 11:57:24 pm »
that's a good point - funnily enough i think i saw someone writing recently about not mistaking a deliberately adversarial environment for a neutral one. i really should get around to learning about marketing

POFP

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2022, 06:30:44 pm »
that's a good point - funnily enough i think i saw someone writing recently about not mistaking a deliberately adversarial environment for a neutral one. i really should get around to learning about marketing

Just make sure it's about Marketing, if you know what I mean. Marketing, as a practice, is just profit-motivated sociology for nihilists when a collectively beneficial purpose is undefined.

If we're talking about State/Corporate Power Structures, they are fundamentally adversarial in many cases (And their adversarial "scale" is directly related to their Organizational Architecture of choice, and where one sits in that structure.). I think Dok is just emphasizing that one's aversion to adversarial/coercive environments isn't the only factor preventing TFYSS™ from manifesting. This oligarchic compliance factory has many means by which it assassinates creativity, so no need to focus on just one. That being said, many of those means are based on appeal to the "back of the brain", as he put it, so I'd say that's a great place to start if you're trying to understand them all and reverse them.

Of course, usually, the most effective method of reversing those means is making them and their nuanced structures and results obvious to those they effect. For example, I'm slowly converting one of my pro-Trump managers into a dirty Anarcho-Commy by frequently outlining, in detail, the means by which our company's Directorate plans how they're going to let their shit roll downhill onto him and his overfilled to-do list, and calling out situations where organizational hierarchy is directly contributing to each of his problems.

They called a meeting about "how [My] time card never getting done affects Management/Finance processes", and after I gave a few choice words to misdirect the conversation and wake up his front-brain, he was calling for management-level changes (Solutions, really.) that were not only antithetical to the purpose of the meeting (And pissing off my boss, who had called the meeting.), but also directly opposed to the organization's implementation of time cards and Finance in general. The day prior to this meeting, I suggested a business model that he initially disagreed with, and he modified it to serve as the basis for his arguments in the meeting. Being that he's in a Senior position, he's now leading an internal initiative to implement a new Model to reduce all of our work loads.

The point here, is that Motivation is complicated, and [fun] is not a very effective motivator when the back of your brain is tiringly focused on what the Power Structure wants for reasons Dok explained. When you can convince someone that the Power Structure is responsible for their general stress (AKA, accurately identifying "Those Bastards Over There" in a high-tech, highly complex society.), the back of their brain wakes up the front of the brain because the back doesn't know how to deal with organizational complexity and nuance, and TFYSS™ manifests naturally. This is because stress over-invokes the survival networks in the center/back of the brain, which tells the front to pipe down. When you're in that State, you look for the path of least resistance. TFYSS™ manifests when those networks identify a better, but more conscious path that requires the front-brain. Those who wish to prevent TFYSS™ have an interest in reducing visibility of those paths with layers of back-brain placation and situational helplessness (If you're stressed and you think there's no way out, there's no need to stop doing what you're doing.).

If/When we're no longer under constant abusive pressure as a society, TFYSS™ will be ever-increasing as people start taking on less-survival-oriented problems and more elevation-oriented problems.

OR, they'll just do more drugs (like I do).


Ultimately, you're right. TFYSS™ is a group activity, but it's suppressed by multiple manufactured AND unintentional means, but most especially appeal to the back/center of the brain.
This Certified Pope™ reserves the Right to, on occasion, "be a complete dumbass", and otherwise ponder "idiotic" and/or "useless" ideas and other such "tomfoolery." [Aforementioned] are only responsible for the results of these actions and tendencies when they have had their addictive substance of choice for that day.

Being a Product of their Environment's Collective Order and Disorder, [Aforementioned] also reserves the Right to have their ideas, technologies, and otherwise all Intellectual Property stolen, re-purposed, and re-attributed at Will ONLY by other Certified Popes. Corporations, LLC's, and otherwise Capitalist-based organizations are NOT capable of being Certified Popes.

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POFP

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2022, 03:40:32 pm »

The point here, is that Motivation is complicated, and [fun] is not a very effective motivator when the back of your brain is tiringly focused on what the Power Structure wants for reasons Dok explained. When you can convince someone that the Power Structure is responsible for their general stress (AKA, accurately identifying "Those Bastards Over There" in a high-tech, highly complex society.), the back of their brain wakes up the front of the brain because the back doesn't know how to deal with organizational complexity and nuance, and TFYSS™ manifests naturally. This is because stress over-invokes the survival networks in the center/back of the brain, which tells the front to pipe down. When you're in that State, you look for the path of least resistance. TFYSS™ manifests when those networks identify a better, but more conscious path that requires the front-brain. Those who wish to prevent TFYSS™ have an interest in reducing visibility of those paths with layers of back-brain placation and situational helplessness (If you're stressed and you think there's no way out, there's no need to stop doing what you're doing.).


Wanted to clarify that Think For Yourself Schmuck isn't necessarily only tied to survival situations, or systems that focus on those areas of the brain. This was just an example in an adjacent context to your original post. Consciousness, being the culmination of a constant struggle between various major neural networks vying for control based on necessity (Identified through environmental feedback from the Nervous System.), can be subject to TFYSS™ over things as abstract as existential purpose-driven questions, or anything else that sits within the context of "personal fulfillment".

When one is able to get to a State where they don't have to worry about Survival, higher-order networks become more frequently active in a kind of front-brain auto-pilot (Pondering life questions, planning future events, etc.), but ultimately run into their own problems as they try to sort complex shit out. Some of those problems, if particularly stressful, start making back-brain auto-pilot easier to default to, which focuses primarily on completing mundane tasks and letting the Environment drive activity. This is further complicated by inherently Social Environments, especially in the context of work life. If much of your daily life is based in collaboration with a group, the back-brain auto-pilot focuses on letting Social Queues in the Environment drive activity in a sort of Group Think. Someone can also fall into this trap even if they're not particularly socially exposed, as signal from people on the Internet whom one generally respects can fuel this Group Think (Think Influencers). You can tell if you're heavily influenced in this way by whether significant group paradigm shifts, cause you to tune out completely, as opposed to redirecting your focus on adapting to the new paradigm and/or fighting it/supporting it. Maybe a fact comes out about some political topic that makes your "Tribe's" Reality Map fall apart. Front-brain auto-pilot will favor incorporation of the new information into your personal Reality Map and presenting it to your Tribe for review. Back-brain auto-pilot will take you offline for a few weeks, and then you'll be back to beating the same dead horse. Or maybe you don't even need the downtime to escape, and you're able to forget the information or use memes to (in your mind) refute it without extra consideration.
This Certified Pope™ reserves the Right to, on occasion, "be a complete dumbass", and otherwise ponder "idiotic" and/or "useless" ideas and other such "tomfoolery." [Aforementioned] are only responsible for the results of these actions and tendencies when they have had their addictive substance of choice for that day.

Being a Product of their Environment's Collective Order and Disorder, [Aforementioned] also reserves the Right to have their ideas, technologies, and otherwise all Intellectual Property stolen, re-purposed, and re-attributed at Will ONLY by other Certified Popes. Corporations, LLC's, and otherwise Capitalist-based organizations are NOT capable of being Certified Popes.

Battering Rams not included.

Joshua123

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2022, 11:18:31 pm »
That's not a bad hypothesis, but there's another possibility.

2 million years of primate survival have taught us to emulate the successful.  When we had to worry about leopards and Those Other Bastards Over There hogging up all the game, that was a really good strategy.  In a high tech society, it's not a particularly successful.

However, the fact is that we existed for hundreds of thousands of years in the first case, and maybe a hundred years in the second case. 

Now, marketing nerds understand this, so your views are presented to you by one of three types:

Athletic young men.
Distinguished older men.
Hot young blondes.

They aren't talking to the front of your brain, they're talking more towards the back, because the great majority of people will listen to and absorb what they have to say, because they are perceived as being the winners of the tribe by the part of your brain that spends all its time looking for leopards (and, of course, Those Other Bastards Over There).

Turn on the TV and hit a "news" channel, just for one example, and watch it with the sound off.  You don't know what they're saying, but at least part of you wants to trust them anyway.

Great point, well summarized.

To your list I'd just add a 4th one, "Any persons with tons of money"

Doktor Howl

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2022, 11:36:18 pm »

Wanted to clarify that Think For Yourself Schmuck isn't necessarily only tied to survival situations, or systems that focus on those areas of the brain

Actually, in survival situations, TFYSS is a non-starter.  Group thinking does, after all, have its advantages when the chips are down.  Everyone pulling the same direction is better than scattershot responses, even if everyone is pulling in a non-optimal direction.

That being said, the person that panics first usually survives.  It's never too early to panic.
Molon Lube

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2022, 04:18:21 am »

Wanted to clarify that Think For Yourself Schmuck isn't necessarily only tied to survival situations, or systems that focus on those areas of the brain

Actually, in survival situations, TFYSS is a non-starter.  Group thinking does, after all, have its advantages when the chips are down.  Everyone pulling the same direction is better than scattershot responses, even if everyone is pulling in a non-optimal direction.

That being said, the person that panics first usually survives.  It's never too early to panic.

That's a good point. I guess I was only thinking of situations where Group Think is directed by a centralized Power, and therefore manifesting out of one's need to maintain status quo - Pressing buttons to get the cheese, if you will. Or manufactured environmental pressures that require one to place higher importance on Productivity over personal and social growth (To pay the bills/survive).

But I see what you mean. Unless you have a significant amount of Influence in an environment like that, Think For Yourself, Schmuck really may need to be traded out for Think For Everyone Else Too, Asshole. Or at the very least, TFYSS should be applied in the context of directing the herd.

But if we're panicking, I have dibs on all the Sudafed, Nicotine Patches, and blue pills. Due to adrenal deficiencies of some kind, I'm not be able to panic first, but I'm certainly going to be harder than whoever does!  :argh!:
This Certified Pope™ reserves the Right to, on occasion, "be a complete dumbass", and otherwise ponder "idiotic" and/or "useless" ideas and other such "tomfoolery." [Aforementioned] are only responsible for the results of these actions and tendencies when they have had their addictive substance of choice for that day.

Being a Product of their Environment's Collective Order and Disorder, [Aforementioned] also reserves the Right to have their ideas, technologies, and otherwise all Intellectual Property stolen, re-purposed, and re-attributed at Will ONLY by other Certified Popes. Corporations, LLC's, and otherwise Capitalist-based organizations are NOT capable of being Certified Popes.

Battering Rams not included.

serendipity

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2022, 04:10:29 pm »
You can tell if you're heavily influenced in this way by whether significant group paradigm shifts, cause you to tune out completely, as opposed to redirecting your focus on adapting to the new paradigm and/or fighting it/supporting it. Maybe a fact comes out about some political topic that makes your "Tribe's" Reality Map fall apart. Front-brain auto-pilot will favor incorporation of the new information into your personal Reality Map and presenting it to your Tribe for review. Back-brain auto-pilot will take you offline for a few weeks, and then you'll be back to beating the same dead horse. Or maybe you don't even need the downtime to escape, and you're able to forget the information or use memes to (in your mind) refute it without extra consideration.

hmm, that's interesting - i would usually interpret that sort of scenario in terms of the narrativist framework (it's formulated about cults, but we're all a little bit narrativist) - our core beliefs are usually too abstract to be refuted by a single fact coming out, and the beliefs that can be refuted like that usually function as excuses for an underlying belief generally of the form 'there is an evil power which is responsible for injustice, and a good power which is coming to destroy it and give us and them what we and they deserve'. i suppose there's no conflict, narrativism is the back-brain approach and that's how it convinces itself that the old horse still has some beating left in it

Chaos_Zebra

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Re: thinking for yourself is a group activity
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2022, 11:51:45 am »
that's a good point - funnily enough i think i saw someone writing recently about not mistaking a deliberately adversarial environment for a neutral one. i really should get around to learning about marketing

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