Tag Archives | Conformity

Thoughts on James Randi and His Flat Earth Conference for Superstitious Dorks

James Randi

James Randi

I have a confession to make. Before I started writing for Disinfo about a year and a half ago, I wasn’t really familiar with James Randi. I’d heard his name come up a few times on the internet in comments threads regarding fringe spirituality, but that was about it. Much like Carl Sagan’s utterly retarded book The Demon Haunted World (which I make fun of here), I wasn’t super familiar with his M.O., but the more I delved into this stuff, the more I realized I was always going to have to deal with superstitious idiots referencing his “work”. So finally, a couple of weeks ago I decided to spend a minor amount of time on the interwebs actually digging into who this loser is and how he convinced a bunch of seemingly at least semi-intelligent people to passionately raise their pitchforks at anyone insinuating the legitimacy of psi.… Read the rest

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The Kids Are Alright, It’s The School ‘Reformers’ Who Are Actively Hostile to Children

PIC: Russavia (CC)

PIC: Russavia (CC)

Peter Greene writes:

I was in a CCSS training, and the trainer stopped to make an observation about how Kids These Days lack discipline and order. She even illustrated it with a story about her own child. And  light bulb went on for me.

I have long considered that the Masters of Reforming Our Nation’s Schools view children as widgets, as little programmable devices, as interchangeable gears, as nothing more than Data Generation Units. I had considered that these MoRONS were indifferent to children. What I had not considered was that reformers are actively hostile to children.

I have certainly heard people in the ed world complain about Those Darn Kids, and I have taught in the building with more than one person who blames all their classroom woes on terrible awful no good pretty bad students. I try to be understanding. If I hear it once or twice, I assume somebody is having a bad day.

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How Belief In Hell Directly Benefits The Elite

Coppo_di_Marcovaldo,_HellIf there’s ever been any doubt in your mind that organized religion benefits the ruling class then a recent paper published by PLOS ONE, an open-access, peer reviewed online publication, should quash it for good.

Psychologists Azim F. Shariff of the University of Oregon and Lara B. Aknin of Simon Fraser University, British Columbia conducted a study in which they asked asked over four hundred Americans to write about Heaven, Hell or what they did yesterday. The Americans who wrote about Hell were more likely to show emotional negativity compared to the other groups.

This was consistent across believers and non-believers. Just thinking about Hell makes people ill and out of sorts, and they don’t even have to think that it’s real. It’s worse for the true believers: Individual belief in what the researchers referred to as “supernatural malevolence” (Coming soon to pay-per-view!) was associated with bad coping skills, low self-esteem and poor health resiliency.… Read the rest

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Sheeple: Why You Should Feel Sorry For Them

Pic: Luxamart (CC)

Pic: Luxamart (CC)

Brandon Smith writes at Alt-Market.com:

To live a life of endless acceptance is to live a life of meaningless obscurity. When one arrives at his deathbed, does he want to reflect on all of his regrets or all of his accomplishments? Most of us would rather find joy than sadness when looking back over our past. For sheeple, though, this will not be possible — for what have they ever done besides conform? What will they have left behind except a world worse off than when they were born? What will they have accomplished, but more pain and struggle for future generations? In the end, what have their lives really been worth?

I cannot imagine a torture more vicious and terrifying than to realize in the face of one’s final days that one wasted his entire life trying to please the plethora of idiots around him, instead of educating them and himself and molding tomorrow for the better.

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Nine Out Of Ten Men Say They Fake An Interest In Sports

soccerSo does anyone actually like professional sports? Fascinating ritual sociology from the UK’s Daily Mail:

Nine out of ten men lie about liking sports to impress friends or to get ahead at work, it was revealed today. Football was the game that men most faked a love of, with two out of three admitting they gushed to mates about the national sport to avoid being unpopular, a survey of 500 Britons found.

Football was the most fibbed about, with 61 per cent hiding their dislike. The national game was followed by F1, cricket, gold and rugby. One in three admitted to lying because they thought it would aid their career.

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These Boots Were Made For More Than Walkin’ – The Sole of the Rebel

2013-08-10 10.00.17-crop“Driving fast, drinking cheap beer and smashing windows isn’t rebellion. The best form of rebellion is individualism. Thinking for yourself.”
Martin Roach, Dr Martens History

We live within a system that awards conformity and penalizes individualism. We get on Facebook and Twitter each day, ranting about how “they” are fucking us over or how “we” have to rebel; terms suggesting conformity to the majority. The truth is that most of those rants are veiled attempts at getting more people to conform to a particular notion presented by the mouthpiece. True rebels think and do what they want without caring what others think. They don’t care about being “proper” or “polite” or wearing the right jeans or driving to the right church on Sunday. Individuals aren’t worried what purse they’re holding at the cocktail party or what the label says on their beer bottle. Conformists worry about what other people think while individualists think.… Read the rest

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The Child and Its Enemies

220px-Emma_goldman_1886By Emma Goldman, via the Anarchist Library:

Is the child to be considered as an individuality, or as an object to be moulded according to the whims and fancies of those about it? This seems to me to be the most important question to be answered by parents and educators. And whether the child is to grow from within, whether all that craves expression will be permitted to come forth toward the light of day; or whether it is to be kneaded like dough through external forces, depends upon the proper answer to this vital question.

The longing of the best and noblest of our times makes for the strongest individualities. Every sensitive being abhors the idea of being treated as a mere machine or as a mere parrot of conventionality and respectability, the human being craves recognition of his kind.

It must be borne in mind that it is through the channel of the child that the development of the mature man must go, and that the present ideas of the educating or training of the latter in the school and the family — even the family of the liberal or radical — are such as to stifle the natural growth of the child.

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A Serious Challenge to the Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments

“Authority allows two roles: the torturer and the tortured” – V for Vendetta, Alan Moore.

Picture: PaulR (CC)

A serious challenge to theories regarding human behaviour based upon the ground breaking Milgram and Stanford Prison experiments has been reported. Humans who choose to follow roles given them by authority figures actually relish the process more than was previously imagined, even when it involves gross acts of cruelty, according to The Telegraph:

Professor Stephen Reicher, Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of St Andrews, and Professor Alex Haslam of the University of Queensland, Australia, have published [a] paper in the journal PLos-Biology on the nature of tyranny and evil.

[…]

Professor Reicher said: “In short, people do harm not because they are unaware that they are doing wrong, but because they believe that they are doing right.

“It is this conviction that steels participants to do their dirty work, and that makes them act energetically and creatively to ensure its success.”

The study began when the two researchers ran their own prison experiment, which was broadcast by the BBC in 2002.

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How To Read USA Today

More from the just-deceased Neil Smith -- a classic dissection of how to properly read and understand the USA Today newspaper:
Each edition of USA Today has four seperate sections aimed at the broadest possible appeal -- there's News, Money, Sports, Life -- who could object to that?  
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Groupthink And The Elevator Experiment

Want to see how people will change to fit in? In 1962, groundbreaking social psychologist Solomon Asch teamed up with the television show Candid Camera to demonstrate how quickly a basic social norm (how people stand in an elevator) could be reversed using group conformity. Just imagine all the behaviors and beliefs you could get tricked into following, via the power of social pressure. (The elevator experiment was still effective when replicated in the present day on the University of South Florida campus.)
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