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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:28 pm
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One thing that has always been hard for me to understand is how some people will have undying loyalty to members of their ingroup. Whether this group is political, religious, social, familial, based on gender identity, race, etc. Often members of the group will have a hard time calling out another member or even deny that another member of their ingroup could be a shitty person.

They seem to tie being a member of that group to being a good person. While in reality being a good person has nothing to do with being a specific gender, sexuality, race, religion, political belief, ancestry, etc. Now obviously there are some ingroups that are for terrible people, the KKK for instance, but this is not about those groups, this is about groups of generally good people that are blind to the bad apples in their own members. For example most conservatives and liberals are good people, but both groups have members that are terrible human beings. They're not terrible because they're conservative or liberal, they're just terrible people. As a liberal, I have met many terrible people who identify as republicans, yet I have also met many terrible people who identify as liberal. Similarly I've encountered people who don't believe that a person could be gay and still a horrible human being, yet Milo Yiannopoulos and Perez Hilton prove that you can be gay and a terrible person.

So now that I've clarified what I mean, I would like to ask why is it that people get that mindset? Is it just a leftover of our tribalistic roots? Similar to how we generally always see ourselves as the heroes of our own story. Is it because some people let their membership of their ingroup become too large a part of their identity and so criticisms of other members of their group feels like an attack to them personally?

Hopefully this makes sense to anyone reading it, and it doesn't sound like the ramblings of a caffeine deprived idiot. I look forward to discussion on this.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:05 pm
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Futilitist - remember him ? - used to say the same about forums ?
some people tend to become the self-appointed guardians of the values of that forum, and non-conformity is punished by expulsion

I suppose he had a point - up to a point

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:25 pm

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This is a bee I have had in my bonnet for ever.

It is a fault I am guilty of but one that I place at the top of my "what is wrong" list.

How do we judge (a) ourselves , (b) others and (c) is this judgement warranted, unwarranted or inevitable?

Do we judge others by how they relate to how we are , how we would wish to be or by how they deal with their own circumstances?

I find that quite a mixture of choices to navigate around and perhaps that is why it is easy to fall back (as a first triangulation) on this first simple question "Do we belong to a same or similar group of some kind?"

Obviously this approach is shot through with pitfalls but it seems to be a knee jerk reaction and the best that can be hoped for perhaps is that our second reflection is to take a step back and broader questions.

I try to build in defense mechanisms against what I see as a reactionary approach to including people in my "inner circle". If for example I catch myself out "rewarding " acquaintances thoughtlessly in this way I feel confident that this would become apparent to me (I am on my guard).

Also ,(and I think this may be a fairly common mechanism ) if I am on holiday somewhere I will avoid places where compatriots gather.

If I was gay , I am sure I would avoid gay bars like the plague --and so on.

There is a phrase I have encountered . It is "good authority" and it is when someone you would normally have a closeness of ideas to steps out of line and needs to be told they are wrong.

"Good authority" means to do not give them a pass.

I remember Futlist although I did not take part in that thread.


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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:52 pm
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marnixR wrote:
Futilitist - remember him ? - used to say the same about forums ?
some people tend to become the self-appointed guardians of the values of that forum, and non-conformity is punished by expulsion

I suppose he had a point - up to a point

His point was never so much about us ignoring a vile member, as it was about us "picking on him because he didn't conform," which was mostly untrue. We were critical of his arguments, because they were wrong. At least I was. Now if I had been vile, profane or obscene towards him, and he tried pointing it out only to have everyone ignore him or deny it, then it would be the perfect illustration of this argument.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:25 pm
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he still saw it as the forum regulars ganging up on him
not saying that's what really happened, but you can see how the accusation could be made

i've seen it happen to a far greater degree on a libertarian forum i had the misfortune to encounter some time ago (in case you're wondering it's A.I. Jane - start a discussion that doesn't fit at your own peril)

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:01 pm
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Very true. And no thanks. I deal with enough libertarians in my daily life.

@geordief - I'm glad I'm not the only one who has thought about this. What helps keep me being introspective on my beliefs is that I don't allow myself to be surrounded by people of similar beliefs. Living as a liberal in a very conservative area keeps me thinking critically about my view points and keeps me thinking critically of my compatriots. If you live in a bubble of people who believe all the same things as you, then it turns into a sort of mental circle jerk. Or even if you choose only to associate with those that agree with you. That's what I see happening a lot in places like Tumblr.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:29 am
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I find your point about this being a remnant of ancient tribalism and pack behavior resonates with me the most. That idea strikes me as most likely to be valid since ingroup/outgroup associations were so critical to...hmm, no...so required for our ancestors to survive and thrive.

It goes back well before humans, before apes, primates, and even before mammals. It's extraordinarily common across the entire animal kingdom, the members of which must be at every moment ready to rapidly classify encounters with the world into kin or not-kin, safe or dangerous, prey or predator.

I'd even argue (and have argued in the past) that it goes all the way back to single-celled organisms. Those that reproduced most successfully tended to be better at differentiating between ouch and not-ouch or food and not-food.

Taken to its logical end, this same ability to discriminate and group items happens even at the level of molecules, atoms, and quarks; each of which are best described using the language of chemistry and physics; a language that could also potentially be used to describe the groupings and behaviors of us mostly hairless apes that you've raised in the OP.

In case it's not already abundantly clear, I think you're spot on about this phenomenon being deeply tied to the copious rewards afforded to those who engaged in tribal behavior across our evolutionary past.

Returning to human populations and our modern age, however, I'd like to introduce the psychological concept of insecurity as another possible explanation.

If you are insecure, it's possible you are more sensitive and averse to the risk of a possible ostrasization from the larger group, largely since membership in that group brings with it by default added security, access to resources, simplified personal prosperity and easier paths to survival. All of these things would be comforting to an insecure person.

Now, I admit that I'm not sure if these ingroup behaviors and willful blindness / easy dismissal of horrible deeds committed by kin are themselves driven in reality by psychological insecurity, but it'd sure be interesting to explore and test.

I wonder too if this idea is crap. I can normally convey my thoughts more concisely, so that makes me feel insecure about it. ;) [/tongueincheek]

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: Behavior of members in an ingroup  |  Posted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:01 pm

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iNow wrote:

I wonder too if this idea is crap. I can normally convey my thoughts more concisely, so that makes me feel insecure about it. ;) [/tongueincheek]

There seems ** to be a dichotomy between primal instincts and sophisticated intelligent reasoning.

We can presumably err in either direction and need to be indulgent to ourselves and others. We are a work in progress . Let's keep it that way.

** a bit of an understatement.


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