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More comments on Herd Psychology and future activity

April 24, 2014

This post is meant to be partially a continuation of my last two posts, which were not in themselves integrally related.

First, it should be made clear for those who are not more familiar with psychology and the social sciences that those fields are based on observations of natural occurences. Human behaviour is not controlled and conditioned by unnatural forces created for that purpose, but by study of how behaviour would have already occured in nature and subsequently putting in place the conditions such that the desired behaviour occurs again. Psychology and sociology is as yet a probabilistic science, meaning that what is expected is an effect on (for example) most people most of the time.

Humans have a certain number of possible behavioural characteristics which are present in different combinations at different times depending on the situation, task, etc. Demographic surveys are taken and market profiles are created based on group behaviours, which are clusters of personality characteristics formed by similar interests or goals and described according to their contingent behaviours. In this way stereotypes are created for contingent markets. Here are a couple of marketing diagrams to which characteristics can be applied:

As segments of the population fit into their designed stereotypes (often by being successfully marketed to), the process becomes self sustaining, as market behaviours become literally created by popular trends and social iconography. These are natural processes of human behaviour. From the earliest times of human society, and still as children grow and develop, we look at others for examples of acceptable and successful behaviour that we can imitate to produce the desired effect previously perceived. A very simplistic example is the capuchin monkey which has successfully learned to pass on the trait of cracking nuts with rocks by demonstration, observation, and repetition.

So for example sub-cultures such as punk, gangster, hipster are not necessarily anti-systemic but in fact successfully targeted markets.

The preceding was most likely self-explanatory to many readers, but a necessary preamble to what will follow.

It is very difficult to not fit into some categorization or another, as these are categories that arise in nature and are subsequently labeled. It is for this reason that transforming the term “conspiracy theorist” becomes successful as a derogatory message. By carrying the connotation of irrationality, it can sucessfully deter a portion of the self-conscious population from such types of thought and study. For example what can be called “the elites” are a segment of the population which can be broken down into a number of sub-categories, studied and understood as such. This is in fact what has been done by a number of sociologists:

It is not fortuitious for “the elite” (let’s say) that the majority of the population become rational thinkers. By this I mean that they learn to create conceptual frameworks to understand the world into which situationally specific ideas, facts, etc. can be fit into to create patterns to recognize the world. Instead it is most useful for the majority of the population to be instinctually driven and tied to specific roles for which directives can be given— tasks and rules, at a workplace for example.

What would happen if many individuals came to rely on their own rational capacities is they might question prescribed rule systems, and they might recognized fixed patterns and consciously choose to ignore them or break those patterns, and so become less predictable.

It is for this reason that I advise as many people as possible to talk with their friends as well as with those they meet openly, share questions and thoughts. Begin to spreak self-consciously to one another, which means acknowledging your own awareness. This can be very awkward at first, and in many ways and different situations this type of behaviour can lead to stigmatization, because it does not fit into the preprescribed roles, but if you begin with those you are close to you can begin to gain a better understanding of yourselves and each other, and in time such behaviour can become natural.


From → Exposition

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