How to Recognize and Leave Behind Your Social Conditioning

Via The Daily Bell

Every decision humans make is colored by their past. Despite vast progress, we are still prey to the oldest tool of learning: social conditioning and the pressure of the group.

What was once a key to survival follows us into the modern age. It shapes our decisions, the careers we choose, and at times even forces us to act against our better judgment.

But we can break free and shape our own decisions. That is the gift of self-awareness. It begins with recognizing something most of us would rather discount; the effects of social conditioning.

Recognizing the prevalence of social conditioning within society and ourselves…

Real freedom from social conditioning begins with accepting and recognizing that we are influenced by social pressure.

A famous experiment into the effects of social pressure and conformity is the Asch experiment.

 

Solomon Asch, a social psychologist in the mid  20th century, set out to create an experiment that would test humanity’s propensity to conform to the group.

The experiment itself was carried out by selecting 50 individuals and subjecting them to a small vision test among a group of their peers.

All the participants had to do was simply look at two cards, one with a single line drawn on it and another with three lines drawn. Then participants chose which line on the second card was the same length as the single line on the first card.

The entire test was crafted to be as unambiguous as possible with an obviously correct answer in each experiment. All the participants had to do was say the obvious answer out loud after each of their peers had given their answer.

Unbeknownst to the participants, this was the true experiment. The group of “peers” taking the vision test alongside them were in on the experiment. Their mission was to unanimously give the wrong answer.

This caused the actual participants to face the choice of going against the group even when their judgment told them the group was obviously wrong.

And contrary to Asch’s own hypothesis, participants caved to pressure and gave the wrong answer along with the other members.

After all was said and done, Asch noted that nearly 75% of participants gave the unanimously wrong answer at least once each test. Nearly a third of participants always followed the lead of the group.

By the conclusion of the experiment, one thing was clear; individuals who otherwise believed themselves to be independent, when subjected to social pressure, acted against their own judgment.

This brought to light the human propensity for conformity when faced with opposition to our own beliefs and judgment.

Though nearly seventy years have elapsed since Dr. Asch’s test, we still see this effect within society and within ourselves.

We see it within individuals who wish to remain unnoticed, choosing to blend in with the crowd. Rather than follow their passions and risk becoming a unique individual, they select the path of others as to not stand out.

It’s present in the fear individuals feel when going against the mold and deciding on a life that may not fit the boundaries acceptable to society.

The large house, the respectable career, the large bank account, the vacation to Paris, the perfectly toned body.

How often do we truly desire these things, versus following the crowd?

Perhaps, right now, you’re thinking, ‘But I want one of those things and it isn’t due to any pressure, I simply just want it.’

Of course, that is often the case. Some things are popular for a reason. The trick is finding that area of your life where you go through the motions, but don’t really know why.

How can we be certain that the things that we want are truly what we desire and not the effects of conditioning?

Let’s look to another great mind of the 20th century.

Alan Watts and the study of the true self…

In the mid-twentieth century, a philosopher sought to bring the spirituality of Eastern philosophies together with the advancements from the Western world. Alan Watts began asking students in universities one simple question, “What do you desire?”

With that question, Watts sought to bring people a better understanding of themselves, one that was not based on what they should be but based upon on what they wanted to be.

Not long after Asch proved our predisposition to conformity, Watts offered individuals a way out.

It’s that question, “What do you desire?” that will be the starting point of discovering whether or not the things we aspire for and work for, are truly our decisions.

[By the way, our free report on crafting a Two Year Plan guides you through this process. It is a step by step approach to severing social chains and taking back the freedoms you’ve been missing. Find out more!]

So, let’s start there.

Pick an aspect of your life, say perhaps a career or goal you would like to attain. After finding it, begin asking yourself:

  • Why do I want this? Is this a passion that I cannot live without, something I need in my life?
  • How long have I wanted this? When did I first start gravitating towards this? Is this a new desire or years in the making? 
  • Is there a particular person that sparked this interest and passion? What was the cause of that spark? A shared interest or a new discovery with a friend or family member? An opportunity with a colleague?
  • What do I gain in achieving this? Happiness? Recognition? Love? Money? Is there anything at all to be gained or do I simply want to do for the sake of doing it?
  • Is this a means to an end or the goal itself?
  • If there was the possibility that this would fail, would I still want to try attaining it? How many failures am I willing to endure?
  • If no one were to know that I obtained this, would I still want it? 
  • What am I willing to give for this? Is it worth losing friends or leaving family? How many years can I give to pursuing it?

These questions can help you get a better understanding of your desires. But the path to understanding yourself and finding freedom does not begin with following someone else. Treat these questions as a jumping off point to start the process, or create your own litmus test. Consider the unique aspects of your situation and desires while applying it to your life.

Staying the course through pressure…

Understanding yourself also helps to push towards your true desires despite what society, friends, coworkers, and family think.

That is where the true challenge lies, following the beat of your own drum even when others around you cannot hear it. At first it may be easy. But when failure inevitably comes, will you continue through the pressure?

To prepare, ask yourself each morning “Am I ready to follow through with the path I have chosen?” and each night “Have I done all I can to make my path easier to follow? Has any outside force changed my vision for my life at any point today?”

It is only through constantly reorienting yourself that you can continue to pursue your unique path to true freedom without straying off course.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It’s not as hard as you think…

Identify. Plan. Execute.

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Comments

Reaper Sun, 02/11/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

A majority of the sheeple believe they're dumber than their surrounding flock.  They coverup their perceived deficiency by imitation.   As they all 'think" alike, none thinks at all.  They depend on Big Brother in the MSM to provide thought.

manofthenorth peddling-fiction Sun, 02/11/2018 - 19:15 Permalink

"Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."

Mans dilemma in a nutshell.

In reply to by peddling-fiction

PrivetHedge manofthenorth Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:17 Permalink

"become agents in a terrible destructive process."

They do this through the clever trick of 'compartmentalisation'

Agents will survey the house of a terrorist or criminal, but not know that the man they are after is simply guilty of writing a book exposing government corruption. Happens all the time, agents don't 'need to know' what the agenda is because else they wouldn't do the evil.

In reply to by manofthenorth

MusicIsYou Reaper Mon, 02/12/2018 - 02:08 Permalink

Then that makes them zombies, and they look at the group out of reflex with the reflexive thought "Brains." See then, there really are zombies all around us. That's the same reason those zombies make jokes about their acquaintance having a fallout shelter even though their fcking Congressman have bunkers.

In reply to by Reaper

exartizo Sun, 02/11/2018 - 19:34 Permalink

this test has a flaw:

it doesn't correct for the generational variable.

some generations obviously are more susceptible to peer pressure than others.

The test doesn't also doesn't test for the opposite variable specifically:

...the ability and confidence to Think For Yourself.

I'd be willing to bet the Gen X and Snowflakes are likely the highest scores ever on this test (greater than 75%)

CRM114 Sun, 02/11/2018 - 21:07 Permalink

As usual, a psychology experiment that is being used to draw conclusions outside its very limited context.

A vision card does not matter, in the great scheme of things.

What matters is what people do when things really do matter.

Then some of the "independents" cave in to groupthink, ones who have been going with the flow strike out on their own, and others will say one thing and do another. Any one of which might be the right move depending on the situation.

The only things that are important are to be aware of the social conditioning tendency , to know yourself, and to know the group members.

It would also help to put yourself in a situation or two where death at least appears to be on the line*. You will learn a lot. You will know a lot more than Asch or Milgram, neither of whom ever did an adventurous thing in their entire lives.

 

*Much safer than when Death really is on the line (in which case, Never go up against a Sicilian ;) ), and almost as educational. I've done a lot of both.

MusicIsYou Hotapplebottoms Mon, 02/12/2018 - 01:53 Permalink

They like their numbers and percentages. A lot of people know that people go along with a group against their better judgement, but why the fck would I need an exact number unless I wanted to wield it as a weapon? A lot of those scientists/doctors who do these kinds of studies don't have vices like drinking or smoking, because their vice is fcking with society.

In reply to by Hotapplebottoms

Clinteastwood Sun, 02/11/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

 

Blah, blahBlah, blahBlah, blahBlah, blah.....psychology tells us that....Blah, blah......

Blah, blahBlah, blahBlah, blahBlah, blah.....psychology tells us that....Blah, blah

 

MusicIsYou Mon, 02/12/2018 - 01:45 Permalink

People go along with the group because if they don't the fckers try to drag them down. That's also the reason people have much problems leaving poverty. Of course today leaving poverty is nearly impossible because elites are slamming shut the doors.

Old Poor Richard Mon, 02/12/2018 - 08:54 Permalink

It's a scary test in the hands of authorities.  In the mind of the victim participant, is it a test to weed out troublemakers, should I lie to get along?  Or is it a test to weed out liars, should I defy my peers to not expose my willingness to lie to get along?

Fishy Rickster Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:07 Permalink

Of course, we're a hunting pack when gathered in smaller groups, and when in a mob a collection of cogs to be turned by those standing outside the crowd.  This condition was given the "scientific" name of GROUP THINK by Irving (two face) Janis in 1972 so we, the great unwashed, can be assured the condition is true.  Just as we are informed by the author above.  Any of us who have been on a committee of any kind know the dynamic.  The committee head is often appointed and assumes alpha status, to guide the decision the committee was called to affirm. 

Like a board of directors meeting, a church committee, a city council or any other gathering of people all committees are formed with a foreknowledge.  All such gatherings presume the attendees are there to a purpose, yet for different personal reasons.  Some are agents with a beginning purpose, some are willing followers and some are alpha wannabes.  Yet they are all soon sorted out and the great leader emerges, presumably the one given the original task of leadership.  From that alliances are quickly drawn, the gadfly(s) identified and the agreeable murmurers wrapped in which allows the groups director to guide the thinking and votes.

That is why disruption is vital to any human association.  Gadflies are important within as minor irritants, yet more necessary is tearing destructiveness, as in a bankruptcy that punishes an entrenched management, or a social upheaval politically that forces a reappraisal from the comfort zone of don't rock the boat group think.  We have been denied such a cure with a bankster, too big to fail, bit of nonsense for years now and it is killing us.  We are now approaching a very nasty correction. Our current group think malaise in the bureaucracy and in our political corporations, as directed by a few banking families. 

The cynical strategy of these few people, to bring on a coming apocalypse, is to make one weep.

God give us strength in the coming storm.

Jasher Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:45 Permalink

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.

23 O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.