Groupthink: The Monsters Are Here

by Hugh Mungus

The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.

- Frederic Bastiat

Thirteen people are murdered, and 300,000,000 folk weep incessantly. Two and a half million are slaughtered, and that same 300,000,000 don't give a fuck.

What would cause such disparity in response? Could a public so capricious in its reaction - especially to singular acts of murder verses towering genocide - be sane? By what standards are you adjudicating, if you turn a blind eye to over 2,000,000 people eradicated, yet mourn overtly for a baker's dozen in dead souls?

We're talkin' the "American" public's reception to 1999's Columbine High School Massacre - during which 13 people were killed. In flagrant contrast, this same population respond with apathy to 2,500,000 folks - most innocent civilians - obliterated in the first and second Iraqi wars, combined.

Categorization. It sounds harmless, but due to categorization, you sleep splendidly, while what you call "your government" wages genocide on your own species.

Humans are humans, correct? Yet, you're okay with a subset of Homo sapiens being annihilated, as long as they aren't categorized "American." Somebody blows away less than two dozen "U.S. citizens" in El Paso, and it's a fucking nightmare!

Somehow, though, drowning the Middle East in uranium-238 - destroying entire societies there, as well as the region, for billions of years - is fine, since folks in that area haven't been classified "American."

As such, you've fallen for a basic divide and conquer strategy. You view people not residing within "your nation" as different. So different, they're a separate species, since you're apathetic to their destruction.

Adam Lanza purportedly snuffs out less than 30 "U.S. citizens" - there are copious discrepancies regarding such - and you've positioned your soapbox in town square. Yet, as downtown Baghdad is wiped from the map, you TiVo Oprah.

Once again, folks in Connecticut are "American," but people in "Iraq" aren't even human. They're cattle, as residents of the "U.S." shed fewer tears over their demise than the murder of the cow on the plate in front of them.

Jaime Holmes doin' his song and dance on Aurora, Colorado, and people are prepared to relinquish their guns to government. Churches don't have enough pews to hold the sudden converts; TSA is pumped with additional steroids; and everybody's afraid of everybody else. Meanwhile, nobody mentions entire cultures eradicated in the Marshall Islands, due to "U.S." atomic testing in that region.

"The Marshall Islands?! Those fuckers ain't 'American!' Who the hell cares?!"

The above examples delineate how categorization is calamitous to our species.

According to neuroendocrinologist Robert Sapolsky, we've been taught to place ideologies, people and things into buckets. Consider the absurdity of what we do when we categorize. Because one person received a 64 on a test, and another a 65, the former's existence is truncated for a year, when she's denied from "advancing" to the next grade. In contrast, the latter is allowed to continue "forward."

Hence, 365 days of the first person's life will be stolen. Such, even though there's nothing but a single, arbitrary point separating that entity from the one who received the 65 on the ludicrous test in question.

You're 40, but somehow you're completely different than one second prior, when you were 39. Suddenly, your outlook - should you believe in what this system demands of you - is supposed to change. Magically, you're in your 40s, and expected to behave differently than less than a minute ago, when you were in your 30s.

Time to "own" a home, even though each and every one of us is simply renting everything in this paradigm. Time to coerce your kids into making grandkids; a stellar move, in the ongoing wake of Fukushima, and 40 percent cancer rates. Time to prepare for retirement, even though you haven't done anything real - nor learned the first thing about reality.

You're allowed to drive when you're 89, but one second later - when you turn 90 - magically things are different...even though you're exactly the fuckin' same. One moment you're ambulatory; the next, you're stagnant, atrophying, and reliant upon others...just what this system wants.

Makes no fuckin' sense, but why should it? Under the iron heel of an insane system, if something was logical, wouldn't you expect it to be terminated?

An obvious example of the dangers of categorization are separating people into buckets labelled "black" and "white." As long as you're dealing with a population unable, or unwilling, to critically cogitate, you've created the perfect habitat to wage war.

A populace looking at logic will be unfazed by the erroneous categorization of "black" and "white." A society mired in stupidity, however, fall victim to "authority" enforcing this classification upon them.

If you've a population thinking for itself, it's smart enough to not only disregard the lunacy of "black" and "white," but also "American" and "Iraqi," "Catholic" and "Jewish," "Democrat" and "Republican," etc.

A rationally ratiocinating populace won't solely rebuke categorization, either; they'll ostracize those attempting to enforce it. Hence, these "leaders" we allow to indoctrinate us there is an "America," as well as an "Iraq," would be ignored in a critically thinking society.

Thus, it's logical to conclude we don't exist in an analytical culture, since most of us still believe there is a "Russia," as well as "Asians," "Baptists," etc.

"A tiger is roaming the marketplace!" the man frantically shouted.

"Away with you, fool!" the emperor admonished.

"I speak the truth, my liege! I come solely as a warning. A tiger has somehow escaped, or found its way here from the wild. The beast is loose, and lurking among the public!"

The tyrant leaned in. "Continue shouting your lies, and I will be forced to exact punishment. Don't make me warn you thrice!"

The harangued soul pondered the caliphate's threat, and quickly scampered into the darkness.

Climbing into the rickshaw, the monarch motioned forward.

Shrieking, a second plebeian emerged from the fog, "My lord! There's a tiger loose in the marketplace! Please help us!"

Spinning 'round, the potentate paused. A brief moment of silence, as the autocrat reassessed the situation.

"Good king! I beg of you! Did you not hear what I said-?!"

"Yes! Yes, I heard you. It's just that - well, it seems preposterous a tiger could find its way into the marketplace-"

"I understand your hesitancy, my liege. I too didn't believe, until I saw the creature with my own eyes-!"

"You witnessed the beast?"

"Most definitely! It has huge fangs, and is stalking freely among the women and children in the square!"

The emperor pondered the implications of such a scenario. If he failed to address this dilemma, and it proved true, we weren't simply talking dethronement, but perhaps a loss of his head. It was one thing to be usurped of one's power, but to be relinquished of one's cranium was quite another.

Pausing, the tyrant weighed his options, as a third frenzied citizen burst from the murky streets, reiterating the necessity for action. "There's a tiger among the crowds, good king! Please help us-!"

Leaping from his procession, the monarch answered the call. "Let it not be said your ruler - the most modest of kings - stood idle, during this time of need! I shall protect you from this prodigious predator! Inform one and all that I personally vanquished this demon, so that peace could be restored among the land!"

Spinning toward his bodyguards, the overlord "bravely" declared, "You two! Take your finest blades, and destroy this monster! Bring me its head, as proof of my gallantry!"

Known as three men make a tiger, the above is a Chinese proverb illustrating crowd psychology, communal reinforcement, groupthink, etc. All of these phenomena display not only how the views of one differ from the views of many, but also how a group can influence the outcome of a situation.

In the aforementioned example, the king refused to believe a lone citizen, when that person delivered a nonsensical proclamation. A behemoth - the magnitude of a tiger - loose in the crowded streets, defies logic.

However, when a second soul stepped forth, confirming what the first declared, the king expressed concern.

Add a third prole to the mix, and our brave caliph is nobly prepared to risk the lives of his servants, so that "he" can "heroically" eradicate the threat. It matters not that the idea of a tiger in the marketplace is just as insane as it was when one citizen professed such. We've now got three folk making the same claim, so it must be true.

This is the dilemma displayed, when groupthink is implemented. Individuals find it difficult to come to their own conclusions in group situations. As a result, they often believe in the most stupid shit you could imagine: "America;" "countries;" government; "leaders" who care; religion; standing for a "national" anthem, etc.

You assert how different you are from those around you, proclaiming your independence on social media sites. Yet, you conform at every turn, afraid to actually be independent.

The sweat on Tim's brow was so thick, it might as well have been Oprah's thundering thighs, squeezing Ellen's head, as the latter licked loose labia. The electrician was more nervous than a commoner named Donald Trump, awakening in a society where the word "control" was unknown.

The assholes prior Tim had chosen A instead of C, even though C was obviously the correct answer. Ray Charles could've seen that!

One line blatantly the length of another, in the multiple choice possibilities, and these douche holes before him saw otherwise?!

Moreover, they were makin' things harder for him than an adolescent's dick, thumbin' through the glossy pages of Shaved Snatch Quarterly. Tim wanted to choose C, but everybody else had chosen A. He wasn't thrilled at the prospect of being a non-conformist, but what else was he supposed to do?!

In the 1950s, a psychologist named Solomon Asch began a series of trials dubbed the Asch Conformity Experiments. The goal was simple: Determine how willing people are to conform within a group.

The test was rudimentary. Eight males entered a room. Before them were two large placards, complete with stark graphic representations of lines varying in length.

On the first card, a single line was displayed. This represented the fulcrum around which the test was conducted.

The second placard contained three lines, respectively labelled A, B, and C. Only one of these was obviously the length of the fulcrum. The other two were blatantly different in dimension.

Both cards were in full view of the subjects during the entire trial. As such, all participants had sufficient frames of reference from which to base their answers.

Starting from the beginning of the panel, each subject was asked which line - A, B, or C - was equal in length to the fulcrum. The first seven participants were secretly confederates of those conducting the test. Only the final subject was unscripted; unaware the other members of the panel were hired actors who'd been instructed to answer in specific fashion.

Even though the correct response to the question was, let's say, C, the first seven subjects answered A.

To the last participant - ignorant the experiment was rigged - responses of the others were baffling. It seemed obvious which line length was equal to the fulcrum. Such stated, those queried prior him were choosing the wrong answer, time and again.

One-third of the uninformed subjects being observed conformed, providing the incorrect responses the actors had given. When asked why they answered in the fashion they did, a substantial percentage divulged they were compelled to avoid standing out from the crowd.

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices...to be found only in the minds of men.

For the record, prejudices can kill...and suspicion can destroy...and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own - for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to The Twilight Zone.

- Rod Serling

It wasn't a comet, nor a meteor - at least it didn't seem to be - that passed overhead that fateful day above Maple Street. Again, it didn't seem like an errant, celestial space rock, because nobody in the neighborhood actually saw whatever it was. They simply heard a discordant bellow from the heavens, and watched as what appeared to be a correlating shadow blanketed the afternoon Sun.

Shortly thereafter, denizens along this typical thoroughfare realized all forms of electrical power had ceased. Nothing - from cars, to street lights, to lawn mowers - was operating.

One of the residents - Pete Van Horn - sauntered over to adjacent Floral Street, in order to see if the power outage extended there, as well.

Tommy - a neighborhood kid - warned no one should leave, since he'd recently devoured a heap o' pulp science fiction centered around an extraterrestrial invasion. During the fictional takeover, the marauding creatures didn't want any of the humans departing. According to the story, some of the alien entities had disguised themselves as one of the families on the street, in order to assess the situation.

When Les Goodman's car started by itself, the other residents of Maple Street became dubious, surmising Les may actually be an alien in disguise. Only Steve Brand seemed to have tethered his boat to the dock of rationality, as he explained that coordinating a witch hunt would cause the neighbors to "eat each other alive."

Perpetuating the alien invasion theory, Charlie Farnsworth catalyzed the group to react rashly. This modality eventually reached an apogee, when a dark silhouette appeared after nightfall, walking toward the huddled throng. Proclaiming the figure was one of the extraterrestrials, Farnsworth pulled a shotgun, and fired, felling whomever was striding their way.

Rushing the fallen frame, the crowd were aghast to find Pete Van Horn lying dead at the hands of Charlie's frenetic actions. Farnsworth struggled to defend his hasty malevolence, as the lights in his house suddenly turned on by themselves.

Of course, this led to suspicion regarding Charlie's origins and intentions. In mob rule fashion, the other neighbors gathered stones from a rock pile, and hurtled them at Farnsworth, as he fled for his home.

Bleeding from a head wound caused by one of the projectiles, Charlie shouted that Tommy was the only one who knew about the aliens, in the first place. As a result, the boy was one of the disguised extraterrestrials.

At this point, logic was flatulated out Oprah's asshole, into a hurricane, as the only person displaying rationality was Steve. Beyond mitigation, the frenzied suburbanites rioted against one another.

Cars mysteriously started on their own, suddenly stopping just as quickly. Lights turned on and off, by themselves, all up and down the street. The panic was in full swing, and the only outcome would be cataclysmic bloodshed.

From here, the focus switched to the top of a hill, overlooking Maple Street. There, two extraterrestrials conversed before their saucer-shaped craft.

Controlling the electricity in the neighborhood below, the entities concluded upending the normality of human society caused Homo sapiens to dive into madness. The creatures determined such was the tactic they would employ, in order to vanquish humanity, one street at a time.

Most will watch this classic Twilight Zone episode, and simply think alien invasion, as opposed to current events. The majority of people tend to view installments of this show as nothing more than science fiction.

In actuality, these segments are quite relevant to what our species is experiencing. The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street is no exception. This particular episode is a superlative example of groupthink.

Groupthink: when those within a community possess an overpowering desire to retain "normalcy," and thus become frightened to dissent. In order to perpetuate the accepted social system, people circumvent conflict, at the risk of losing individuality.

Groupthink is detrimental not solely to the individual, but also the group. Within groupthink, analytical analysis vanishes. Preservation of the dogma of the group - no matter how deleterious to the society - becomes the goal. This obviously results in disaster.

A peerless example of groupthink is what people refer to as the "United States," and those who blindly claim to be citizens of this fiction. Folks professing to reside under the auspices of the brand name "America" are so immersed in groupthink, they're often willing to kill other human beings - sometimes facing extermination themselves - to preserve nothing more than a cult, a marketing ploy, and a pyramid scheme.

To perpetuate the group, constituents of the "U.S." train to murder fellow Homo sapiens they've never met before - and thus can't logically harbor malice toward. Said components are euphemistically referred to as soldiers, but they're nothing more than hired killers.

These paid assassins are often driven by the demeanor of the collective, as well as financial reward, to the point they'll commit homicide, readily in serial fashion.

Obviously, these compensated exterminators aren't critically cogitating, and either incapable, or unwilling, to think individually.

Those engaging in groupthink often have no idea they're doing so. They become astigmatic to anything but their cause. They fail to understand those who had practiced this phenomenon, during previous epochs, were destroyed by an inability to deduce for themselves.

It's into this fatuous fracas the monsters came to Maple Street.

When we call ourselves "American"; when we act as "Chinese"; when we salute the "Russian" flag, we engage in groupthink. In doing so, we not only fail to speculate for ourselves, but we fail to be ourselves.

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