Courage vs Social Conformity

Strongest human urge, aside from nourishment and safety, is to belong to a group or community. Human is a herd animal terrified of being alone. Even in maximum security jails where one’s cellmates are violent rapists, being in solitary confinement is considered the worst punishment. We feel safer in a group and our life has meaning. It is this urge that leads us to continuously commit bad acts, small and large, individual and societal. Looking at little kids one sees the pressure of “community” on the individual child to join in the bullying of the social outcast. Teenagers are known to self harm and commit suicide just because they are rejected by the coveted social circle.

On the grand, historical scale this urge has led to innumerable atrocities across time. From torture and exterminations of the Holocaust, to Canadian residential school system, female circumcision in parts of Africa, treatment of African Americans prior to Civil Rights Movement, genocide against Armenians, extermination of Huguenots in France and so many other examples undoubtedly prove that herd mentality brings out the worst in humanity. In all these cases, upon some basic introspection and critical thinking, the wickedness of the deed is so obvious, or would be to a rational human if not for the pressure to socially conform. In some cases, the immorality of the act is known to the participant, but they do it because they must at the cost of huge internal anguish. But in far more cases the individual does not even question the morality or the logical soundness of the act. Everyone else is doing it so it must be right.

To seek the truth or go against prevailing social attitudes is terrifying and that is why so few do it. Vast majority will always go with the societal flow no matter what, even though history has shown us over and over that herd is almost always wrong. To live a life of duty and meaning one must be courageous to reject the social pressure and think and act independently. To be brave is to be frequently alone but what other choice do we have if we want to be Homo Sapiens instead of glorified cattle.

To bring this narrative back to current and relevant there is now a huge societal pressure to wholeheartedly toe the line of the virus narrative. This all-encompassing narrative is very persuasive, especially since it is built on the idea of morality and social responsibility. It is reinforced by the latest technology in mass media and communications and some cutting-edge techniques in control of information. To anyone still able to critically and independently think it is obvious that the narrative is full of logical holes but more importantly is very narrow minded as it ignores the enormous collateral damage that it is causing. But it is the prevailing narrative and hence vehemently defended by its converts. Those few who do not toe the line are branded idiots, selfish, crazy, anti-science etc. So now we have the same situation we had in 1930’s Central Europe where anyone not supporting purge of the Jews, Homosexuals, Slavs, Roma, people with disabilities, is an enemy of society, not informed of the latest science of Eugenics, stupid, selfish, evil etc. Yet some people did openly criticize and resist the terror at great personal peril. And to those people we sing praises today and judge severely everyone that was conformist. In today’s situation there are some who are courageous enough to speak up and challenge the herd at great personal cost. Just like the resisters of Nazism, once the dust settles, those brave souls will be the ones that have led a life worth mentioning. And others will be forgotten or worse live forever in notoriety. Choice is hard, but to me it is clear. Courage and truth over fear and ignorance.

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