Philosophers debate between individualism versus collectivism. Where the former focused on the goal of the individual over the collective and vice versa for the latter.
As no collective includes all members of the human race, all collectives including those of race, religion, class, belief system, etc. create their own idols. Each collective sets its narrative to state all decent people submit to it doctrine (some people are good, some people are bad). Sequentially, each collective or sub-collective worships its idols and rejects and denounces its rival’s idols.
All actions are determined by the individual, the collective not only cannot create perfect robots but can’t create meanings or goals for itself and here it is dependent on the whim of individuals. No matter how indoctrinated a collective is based on the will of individuals. All collectivism leads to dissonance and ultimately to the fall of all organisations and thus their doctrines.
Why do people tend toward the collective? I believe it’s due to the nature of bias, which is defined as a ‘habit of the mind’. This, like all habits, is because it is easier than denying yourself that very same habit.
Nietzsche actually called individuals that follow a collective part of the herd, inferior beings, because they are unable to create their own goals and meaning life. This part I am starting to agree with, it’s easier to build a pre-perception about someone based on your previous (sometimes hegemonic) experiences.
When was the last time you actually checked the impact of an initiative or recognized the evidence behind something you are preaching was anecdotal? Isn’t it easier to attribute your justification to the fact that someone else does too? I suppose this is how all advertising works.
I would hope everyone will agree that ‘the value of any knowledge and its concepts is within its content’, however, humans obsessed with attributing to people. Dr. Martin Luther King Said… Patel et al states… that film star wears … this draws on the same idolism.
When you see a working class, cis, man of colour with a thick accent, people’s brain switches back to your experiences with that group of people and starts to build meaning (note many of these are unconscious). This is fundamentally easier for the brain than talking to and evaluating the person based on their character, this is a natural function.
‘This person is good, that person is bad’. This narrative serves no intelligent discourse. We build a hagiography around our idols and propagate them as heroes to aspire to. This is crazy, we are inspired by people you have never met, reject known confirmed facts that denigrate them. You end up protecting your habit, your shortcut, your bias and through this you close your mind to knowledge.
M K Gandhi is a personal hero of mine, and this isn’t going to be a revere my idol section. He achieved some amazing things, however, he was certainly not infallible. Should I denigrate his actions and still hold his other actions in high esteem? Absolutely.
I have had various conversations with people about the hagiography around Winston Churchill and various people of colour (and members of the global majority) have suggested ‘People aren’t ready for this conversation’, when will people ever be ready to think out of their collective mindset?
Things I’m trying to do to enhance my experience;
Spending time engaging with things I normally wouldn’t.
Reading for content, not in reverence or vilification of the author.
Checking my bias every time I am in a position of power.