There is a common theme I often become aware of in my interactions with others, whereby individuals place more value on group identity than their actual personality.
This is a very troubling phenomenon as the mistake of putting your group identity before yourself opens you up, or I should say closes you down to alternate views of thinking, radicalisation and eventually extremism or totalitarianism.
I should say that group identity encompasses many things such as religion, political points of view, sexual orientation and even the kinds of food groups you eat.
Yes, if you have plant-based, vegan or carnivore in your instagram bio this is for you.
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with belonging to a group, I myself am a scientist. I have a degree as an acting clinician of exercise science. Something I am very proud of. Something I also continue to preserve today at work and my personal life.
The trouble we run into arises when we place more value on group ethics than our own thinking and intuition.
Group over Identity
If I continued to operate under the extreme rubric of being a scientist, you would already know my opinions, points of view and feelings on most subject matters; you need not ask.
“Joseph, what’s the best exercise to get a big chest?”
“Well if we consult the peer-reviewed research in a study done with 17 subjects it appears that the bench press for the experimental group increased the pectoral circumference by 14%”
In this extreme way, everything must first pass through the eyes of the group we identify with. This follows the same rule if we are too heavily identified with group philosophy; and this opens us up to radicalisation.
Take a self-proclaimed feminist. It begins with a legitimate philosophy in creating equality in the sexes. Though quite frankly a vague definition I understand the sentiment behind the group.
Feminism now is experiencing some push back, understandably because like in all groups there exists radicals and extreme points of view that poison reason.
What’s an interesting observation to me is that self-proclaimed feminist; people who will tell you their sociopolitical stance within the first moments of meeting them are typically these over-zealous and often extreme individuals.
Like I said before, I already know the view points of these individuals, there is no need in having a conversation because their personality is just a rehearsal of the group philosophy.
Contemporary society is a tyrannical patriarchy, women are oppressed, men get paid more for the same job role, we need more women CEO’s and the rest.
It bores me. I would love to have a genuine conversation with someone regarding their experiences and their solutions rather than a recital. Most pseudo-moralistic stances are just borrowed personalities from some influencer, which is typically a reimagined radical group perspective just to remain relevant.
I mean it might get us the same attention and we could build a personality around it, however sooner or later we’ll realise our life image is built on lack of responsibility in our own lives in pursuit of temporary attention and validation.
It stinks of ego.
Again, I need to reiterate these are what I would call extreme identification in group identity. We all know people who are avid Vegans, Christians and even Man United supporters. We only come to describe them only through their allegiance to groups.
“Oh you know Karen? The feminist?”
“Ah, yes I do”
Identity over Group
When we adopt a rigid group philosophy we are at risk of loosing our own personality. Suddenly we value other people’s experiences above our own.
Human beings are social creatures, we like to belong to groups of like minded individuals. It makes us feel safe not only physically, but psychologically as we need only use our tribe as a reference point in from which to behave.
In this way we can be justified that what we are doing and saying is right. But know if there exists a right, there will exist a wrong. This is tribalism in its entirety. It breeds an us vs them mentality and it’s not good for anyone.
It’s hostile, narrow-minded, attention seeking and ego driven in the worst case scenarios; and I was one of these people.
It saddens me that the group of science I perpetuated prevented me from experiencing the joy of spiritualism, exploring religion and a connection to a higher other.
Why is it so disconcerting that an individual be a scientist and be open to God?
Because it doesn’t conform to the group narrative.
It’s time to create some distance between us and the groups we belong too. It’s time for us to first trust our own experiences, intuition and rational thinking.
There are no enemies, no foes, or evil doers.
Know there is no right or wrong group, there is only ignorance of the other.
I don’t have “science-based” in my instagram description.
I have my name, that is who I am.
That’s my group identity.
Tell me yours – I’d like to hear what you have to say.
& if you subscribe to that, subscribe to me.