Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon known to cause group cohesiveness by formulating a perspective in which each individual has common ground on how they perceive the world we live in; synthesizing thoughts into a collective viewpoint. The idea of group-think is one of evolutionary design, it would make sense that something involving teamwork was deeply-engraved into our primordial collective-conscious: this minimizes issues that might arise within the pack, allows for increased coordination due to lack of conflict, and gives the tribe a stronger feeling of fondness towards each members. Further solidifying teamwork effectiveness.
This is great and all when you are trying to survive on the plains of Africa, and thousand pound predators are plentiful. In today’s society these notions acts as a deadly deterrent that stifles out many possibilities, and hinders societal-progress. This condition is deeply embedded in the most primal portions of our psyche, they are nothing more than thoughts and ideas you know are deep within your mind but, are impossible to decipher, only glimpses of a previous reality unbeknownst to us. It is clear that there are some basic motives encoded within our DNA, that intertwine us with the primeval animal Kingdom: you have your Alphas, and your Beta, Your social outcasts, your friends and enemies, all rigidly structured in some form of manner based on preconceived notions, implemented by a parent or good-pal.
How many thoughts are born unscathed by the soul-sucking destruction that is Groupthink? I would assume not many, most people tend to agree with what ever the status-quo may be for their particular group. “If they/he/she believes X, then I must believe X”. The original thought is a rare occurrence in a sea of words without true meaning, ideas with no new grounds to form on, perceived views of the world that have no perception at all. This is something that infects all people: Democrats, Republicans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Me, You, that greasy guy you always see eating inside a popa johns. We are all human and no man is immune to such a compelling force, society has an incredible way of pressuring into breakage, or acceptance.
This is difficult to notice in your daily life because it feels so intrinsic, it feels right to have a group of similar thinking people, it is what makes us human. But, what happens when we live in a society where these perspectives can be deliberately manipulated, polarized, and taken to extremes with a handful of social media apps. It creates a world of people stuck in algorithmic perspectives. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they all know us better than we know ourselves. They fully understand all our loves and likes, dreams and desires, wants and wishes.
“They hate because they fear, and they fear because they feel that the deepest feelings of their lives are being assaulted and outraged. And they do not know why; they are powerless pawns in a blind play of social forces.”
― Richard Wright