8.19.2008

Majorites thinking they are repressed minorities.

I think it is super funny how no matter how widely held a person's beliefs may be, people seem to enjoy thinking of themselves as belonging to a persecuted minority, living defiantly against a mainstream that wishes to suppress them.

I frequently here secular people talk about the increasing dominance of religion in our culture, while among religious people, one consistent theme, that seemingly goes back forever, is that the world is getting worse and worse every day(which I disagree with for a variety of reasons, one being that many of our values come in cycles. The twenties were sexually liberated, the next generation sexually repressive, the next was sexually liberated, but often we only look back to the previous generation and generalize backwards. But also, isn't it a more moral world that is opposed to things like slavery and women not being taught how to read than one that is otherwise?). I remember this being illustrated clearly while listening interview on Npr with a man who was trying to help homosexuals become not homosexual. He made a reference to the rising immorality in the world that is opposed to people like him, while the interviewer countered that he thought the opposite was true.


I often hear people on the right speak of the 'Liberal media'. At my school Evergreen whose student body tends to lean far to the left, I remember being offered a newspaper being told it was meant to provide a left leaning perspective to balance the 'Right Wing Media'.

(Speaking of which Whenever I happen to see television news I don't think it seems to lean one way or the other. Not because of anything we might think of as praiseworthy, like being balanced and unbiased in its reporting, rather it's because the major news outlets are often so lacking of depth or relevance to the important issues we face that it does not tread turf that is either liberal or conservative, just beside the point altogether. One local news show actually has a segment called "World in a Minute" where all of the world news is summed up in one minute. one minute for all that happens outside of America! The rest of the time being spent with stories about someone who has gone missing, weather, sports, and non-news human interest stories.)
Of course, local news is generally a bit lighter than Cable news, but not only scarcely.)

I hear people on the right speak of The Liberal Conspiracy that apparently is the true driving force of our country. I also here people on the Left speak of the Right Wing Conspiracy, also the real force which drives our country. Frequently the very same groups and people are labeled by both sides as the culprits of this radically or radically left conspiracy.

I guess it isn't too difficult to imagine reasons why even when people are in a majority like to think of themselves as representing a repressed minority.

Particularly in America where so much value is placed on individualism and going against the grain. Almost every major modern American movie involves someone who, despite having no reasons whatsoever besides his gut feelings, ends up being correct, in spite of the naysayers who used their so-called logic and facts to try and suppress this renegade who won't listen to anyone no matter what, because s/he believes is following his heart! Because they believe in their cause so strongly it must be correct, even if facts are against it, because for some reason what is felt in our hearts trumps all. This hero heart follower renegade is always faced with intense opposition from the stupid masses who are following the group instead of following their hearts, so just don't get him. This sort of thing, which is all over the place in our culture teaches a message that being apart of a majority held view is bad, and going against it good.
Sometimes this is true and can lead to helpful revolutions. Sometimes this is bad and leads to groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, (godhatesfags.com) Few groups are so unanimously hated than they are, yet they 'follow their hearts' and 'are true to themselves', and continue with their God Hates Fags sign holding despite what anyone else may so do or say to the contrary, making them true American heroes. Whatever you think to be correct is correct, regardless of anything, so don't back down. (think of how often people say something like, well, I may disagree with him, but I admire his sticking to his guns. What is so about that? I am much more impressed by someone who questions their beliefs and always considers the possibilty they may be incorrect. Some people who stick to their guns: our current president, schizophrenics preaching on street corners, Andrew Jackson {who drove the Indians onto reservations}, Hitler, Stalin, Fred Flintstone)

But we also have a competing notion, one that is likely stronger and deep in our biology, but also reinforced culturally, though often more as a subtext.
In general people find comfort in holding a belief that those around us hold. It creates group cohesiveness. Those who are too different are seen as outsiders to be shunned, something many people fear. For understandable reasons. In our course of mammal and primate evolution, those got shunned from the group decreased their chances of survival and reproduction.

So we have this idea that the masses are dumb and wrong, that we need to be renegades and individuals. With many legitimate cultural of people who, by going against the group, brought beneficial reforms. People want to feel they are special and apart something elite. As well as our biological urge to to be apart of the group. This leads people who are in majorities to thinking they are repressed minorities. Probably for other reasons too, but that is what came to my mind as I was typing. I say these things in the name of myself, even christopher allman, amen.
I would be interested to know if this phenomenon also exists in cultures that value community over individualism.

5 comments:

Fish Nat!on said...

Ha, that is funny that you wrote about this. I watched I robot last night, which is a prime example of the hero being the only person crying out against larger societal evil, and ironically being correct, and the whole world was apparently a big, collective dumbass.

mrs. everything said...

did you not approve my last comment? are you mad at me?
I saw this video and thought of you...

heatherly said...

i didn't even know this blog existed. i guess i do now. keep up the good work.

chris almond said...

betty, I wasn't not approving it, i have just been sick lately and fell behind on moderating comments. thank you for that video. it is great and makes me think of myself as well. about being a chacha guide, yes, i think you would be excellent at it. just go to chacha.com and follow the instructions for becoming a guide. you have to take some tests but they are very easy and i am sure you will do fine.

Vincent said...

This is very interesting Chrisotpher (sic) but I have found something to argue about and that makes me happy.

A minority is one thing. It is still a group and when the group stands together they don't give a damn about the majority; or rather having something to distance themselves from enhances their sense of being a group.

It is quite something else to be alone in one's intuitions, as you depict the renegade in modern american movies. (Although there will usually be some close ally who encourages the hero, I presume?)

I don't see anything in common between a "Godhatesfags" movement and a "renegade who won't listen to anyone no matter what, because s/he believes is following his heart."

The person who really follows his heart doesn't need to be a member of a movement.