Hope is that great expectation of a brighter future. A belief in the positive attributes of humanity or some project we have in the works. Hope itself is neither false nor true, but with it, we invigorate our psyches and sell ourselves on what often are delusional beliefs about someone or something in our lives. We all strive to see the best in others, perhaps from an innate desire to have others see the best qualities in ourselves. We believe in blatant fabrications because the truth lays naked and bare before our eyes, and we strive for deeper meaning, a profound explanation of another’s behavior to validate our own. Unfortunately, the deeper meaning we seek is sought in a shallow pool barely capable of supporting rudimentary life.
Comforting lies are a balm to the souls of the majority of humanity. We believe in the things that bring us happiness and disregard things that might distort our perception of ideas or people we have to chosen to prop up on a pedestal of righteousness. We gravitate towards those that have been propped up by the many and ignore those maligned and scorned by “society.” Society in this context is groupthink. The psychology of groupthink is one of failure and great injustices and has been the author of almost unfathomable atrocities throughout history. I’m sure we all recall instances of groupthink that led to countless murders and executions throughout history. Billions have died because a large group of people decided it was the right thing to do.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).”
― Mark Twain
The quote above perfectly speaks to the dangers of groupthink. But why would the majority be wrong? Humans are social creatures and seek to fit in with their fellow men and women. A group of people seeking solutions will seek solutions in such a way to place themselves in a good light with their fellows and find agreement and approval from the others and produce a product that is alien to the truth and a shared sense of morality. Members of such a group will censor their own beliefs to align with other people while those same people are performing the same exercise. So the result is a conclusion that lacks all humanity despite being produced by many people.
So whenever you find ideas or people in your lives that the majority seem to like, it would be wise to ask yourselves if this popularity arises from delusional groupthink. Then, examine the evidence for this idea or person. Suppose the preponderance of evidence manifests incredulity within your heart and mind. In that case, the idea or person likely has its popularity built upon a foundation of sand, and when this idea or person crumbles, it will take all of its adherents with it to its deserved demise.
I value and strive for authenticity in my life. I don’t suffer the presence of friends or acquaintances that can be so easily taken in by the shallow delusions of intellectually limited and unimaginative people. This might make me sound harsh or uncaring, but the opposite is true. If we can’t demand truth and precise representation of people and ideas in our lives, neither deserve to be there. Both should be taken out with the trash because they contribute nothing to the future of this world or the people in it that strive for more profound meaning and value integrity and the unvarnished truth. Groupthink is wrong, and when the majority is on your side, it’s probably time to switch sides. Until we as a species evolve past this petty need to posture and perform like peacocks to paint a pleasing picture to our fellow man. We must seek to paint truth in all its beauty and sometimes ugliness, and we must always be on guard against jumping on the bandwagon of group psychosis.