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"The third reason why an individual takes on the group perspective is that the group encourages conformity through both continuous socializations and social sanctions. We are socialized to believe what the group does. We learn its perspective through listening and watching others and through intentional acts of teaching by others. Orientation to college life, basic training in the army, on the job training, and spring football practice are but a few examples of social sanctions (rewards and punishments) from the group. When we use the group perspective, others in the group accept us, and we come to feel part of something important. If we do not use it, we are not rewarded, and sometimes we are punished. All social organizations want loyalty, and loyalty is tested through showing that we believe in the ideas and principles of the group." - Ten Questions
I do lots of pretending. Funny thing is though, as long as I keep my mouth shut people will assume that I believe just like they do. I've had people tell me racist jokes, spew right wing hate, and generally act like an asshole without even once stopping to ask if I agreed with them.
- I am bad at small talk. Unless there is an agreed upon subject at hand I don't know what to say, because I don't know the person, and I don't like making assumptions about them. The more you are socialized into mainstream opinion the more common ground you will find with other people. Small talk becomes easier. I have lost friends as they have been socialized into cultural groups while I have remained outside. We quite literally, had nothing to talk about anymore.
In Oklahoma, watching football helps, especially when you have to avoid conversations about politics and religion. And there's always movies and music?
- I am bad at my job. Not in any technical sense. Most people I work with agree that I am one of the most knowledgeable people there, but they also know that I don't "try hard enough" when it comes to achieving the company goals. Rather than internalize the company mindset, I pretend. I say the right things when asked, and go through the motions. But really I could care less if we reach our goals. I'm not a team player and you can only fool people for so long.
To successfully become part of a group you have to internalize the values of that group. I wouldn't call it brainwashing, "socialization" sounds nicer. The punishment for resisting the values of the group is always the same, exclusion. In the professional world this can have devastating results, including the death of your career. In the social world it can mean losing friends or even making enemies.
Freedom of thought. Once you have become socialized into a group, you defend their values even to the point of being willfully ignorant. Remaining outside of social groups allows you to look on reality with less bias.
Yes, in exchange for accepting and defending the values of the largest and most powerful groups you can reap tremendous benefits, material wealth, social advancement... phone sex.
Most people, in fact walk a line between staying an individual and being absorbed into social groups. Many people join smaller, less demanding sub-cultures where the rewards are smaller but the sacrifices to your individuality are smaller as well. Other people have drawn very definite lines between their professional lives and their personal lives, where they might adopt the mindset of their profession but keep that from affecting the decisions they make in their personal lives.
My favorites are the people that have adapted the mindset of their chosen social environment so completely they will even deny that they have done so. This, you may have noticed is my particular pet peeve with religious people that claim that despite believing in the dominant religion in which they were raised will always say that they did so because of the "rightness" of that religion, not its social convenience or its rewards.
Such self delusion is often well rewarded.
Ground Control to Major Tom
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