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October 31, 2021 - Against the Majority

There's a tremendous internal pressure to comply with the norms of the group. The reward of being accepted is often greater than the reward of winning an argument, or looking smart, or finding truth. Most days we'd rather be wrong with the crowd, than be right by ourselves.

James Clear, "Atomic Habits", Penguin Random House, October 2019

There have been many social experiments done testing this theory. From chimpanzees to humans. Almost every time, the result is always the "one" not wanting to stand alone and will go along with what the group thinks, even though that "one" knows he/she is right.

For example, one experiment hired a room full of actors and then used "one" person actually testing the theory. A series of questions were asked and the actors were instructed to intentionally get some answers wrong, even though common sense said there could be only one correct answer, they were still told to go the other way. Well, the one person knew that the group was wrong, and on some rediculously simple answers too, but instead of standing firm, that one person went along with the group and gave the incorrect answers anyway. Interesting.

This made me do some serious soul searching. Would I have enough courage to stand firm knowing I knew the truth, even if I stand alone? It's easy to say I would do that but I've never been tested. If I was tested, even unknowingly tested, would I go against the group?

Two things. One, we are never standing alone. The Lord will always stand with us, if we ask Him to. And, two, we are being unknowingly tested right now. Granted, we haven't been absolutely required to choose one or the other yet, but we will. We'll have to make a decision. Will we be courageous enough to stand against the majority?

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