Monday, October 19, 2009

I am always amazed how much of human behavior is driven by our tendency to declair ourselves part of a group, then declair that group to be better than all other groups. Everything from our obsession with sports, to politics, to religion seems to be driven at least in partby this.

There are two routes this information makes me consider. One is the stubborn refusal to be part of more groups than absolutely necessary. This would go a long ways to promote independant thinking. A Republican feels quite a bit of pressure to cave to the party line, as does a Paegan, or a Knicks fan. Being totally independant would force me to evaluate ideas based on their merit rather than group loyalty. This idea in its extreme is impractical as I am still a citizen of a country, and employee of some organization. But it is easier to mark independant on a ballot or not declare loyalty to a religous group.

The other route is the opposite extreme. Become a member of as many groups as possible. Even perhaps to a life of Pi extreme (at one point in that book the main character was going to Christian, Muslim, and Hindu religious services). This way of living life has a huge social benefit. Because people think people who are a part of the same group as them are actually better people, it is an easy way to be liked and build connections that could be of future benefit.   

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