The Problem with Group Thinking

I have a problem with group thinking in general.  Not just people thinking as a group, but people judging groups.

When people think as groups, they lose their individuality.  Individuality is important, since that individuality is what moves not only a single person forward, but the entire group.  It is a combination of new ideas that creates forward momentum within a group.

No, this does not mean that one person should do the thinking and the group should follow blindly, this is exactly what I mean by group thinking being sucky.  People should discuss and think together, each person logically coming up with their own unique ideas.  Debates are good, arguing is good, these things are precisely what root out problems and locate solutions.

My bigger problem with group thinking, however, has to do with judging people.  This is the main focus of this post, and I feel like with people like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump working so hard to tear people apart for no other reason than to bring themselves to power, this needs to be said.

So, let me make one very clear point about judging people: it’s not evil, judging is done all the time, and it is natural for people to judge others based on their own set of morals.  This is fair, and is part of a person’s individuality.  However, if you are judging someone, let’s make sure that you are doing that judging for fair reasons.

I am a hugely judgmental person.  If I meet you, I will judge you on several different aspects of yourself, including how lazy you are, how little common sense you have, and how positively you choose to look at life.  These are things that I find important in a person, so I will judge you on these qualities to decide whether or not you are a person I care to have in my life.  This does not make you a bad or evil person, I do not wish you to die because you have these qualities that I hate, and my opinion will in no way affect or hurt you.

The most important part of my judging you, however, is that they are all things that you are personally “guilty” of.  It’s not that your friend is guilty of it and I am judging you based on your friend’s actions.  It’s not because of your race.  It not because of your wealth, history, religion, or any other irrelevant feature.  It is because of actions that you yourself have performed, and for no other reason.

My point is, judgement is an understandable reaction, don’t let people tell you that you can’t judge others.  True, you cannot judge them as if in court, and them punish them for something, but that isn’t what we are talking about here.  We are talking about you, and who you decide to have in your life.  It is only natural to judge every person who comes into your life so that you can decide if you actually want them there.  It is the secret to your own happiness, deciding whether or not you want to allow certain people into your life.

The warning is to be sure that you are judging someone based on their own actions, that the judgement is fair and understandable.  For example, it would make perfect sense for me to judge someone who murdered my father.  However, it would not make sense to judge someone because their neighbor murdered my neighbor’s father.

See how quickly your innocent judging can turn into racism?  This is an awful kind of group thinking, where the actions of a single individual dictate how you see an entire group.  Everyone is different, with different brains and different actions.  Why would you paint them all with the same brush?  You haven’t even met your new neighbor yet, but because he is Muslim you immediately go up in arms?  Don’t you think that it is possible that the individual got tired of all of the violence in their own country and sought a more peaceful life here?  Then, because of your preemptive judgments you bring new kinds of violence right to their front door, and this is wrong.

Overall, learn to think for yourself.  Don’t think as a group just because you think that you are supposed to.  Learn to analyze things on your own, and if you disagree with the group then say so instead of just following like sheep.  And drop the stereotypes.  Stereotypes are meant to be exaggerated ways of looking at a particular group of people and are rarely correct.  This is the kind of thinking that led to the Holocaust and WWII.

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