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Thread: Scapegoats

  1. #11
    Senior Member Lookin4theBestNU's Avatar
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    I have befriended many 'scapegoats' in my time, being the typical NF in such regard. My experience/insight has been different though when I spent time getting what I tend to believe the reasoning as to why they seem to conform to the expectations of such. I am currently studying one such person whom is 54 years old whom I consider to be my friend as I cannot help but study them. The underlying motivation from most of these people (including him) is intriguing to me. I have watched these people intently and it appears through statements they make upon digging deeper they find satisfaction and meaning in 'playing the victim'. I have seen it appear as excuses for never "making it" out in the real world once they become adults. I wouldn't say that I was technically ever a 'scapegoat' however I identify with those who are "strong" in a sense. I realized at an early age that I was indeed different in some way. I could never when I was young quite get to where I wanted to be socially. After some maturation I felt a sense of comfort/self acceptance in being different and unique. I would say that it has been unsettling as of late to talk with other another ENFJ, in a sense it scrambles my identity though I am not sure that I can explain that.
    "At points of clarity, I realize that my life on earth is meaningless, and that I am merely a pawn in a bigger game. A game I cannot possibly understand or have control of. Thankfully, before depression sets in, I drift back into my cloudy, bewildered daily routine." **Joel Patrick Warneke**

  2. #12
    Senior Member Crabapple's Avatar
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    For whatever reason (tribal/power dynamics) there is scapegoating, and on this board I wish it would stop. It's ugly. It upsets me (as little else does). Not to say that one can't critique another's post or simply dislike another, but shouldn't there be a line draw at sustained attacks?

    Should one complain to the Mod.s?

    offtopic: Lookin4theBestNU, I like your new quote.
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
    -- Unknown

  3. #13
    Lallygag Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crabapple View Post
    For whatever reason (tribal/power dynamics) there is scapegoating, and on this board I wish it would stop. It's ugly. It upsets me (as little else does). Not to say that one can't critique another's post or simply dislike another, but shouldn't there be a line draw at sustained attacks?

    Should one complain to the Mod.s?

    offtopic: Lookin4theBestNU, I like your new quote.
    Yes. If you feel you or someone else are being victimised, we'd rather know. We don't see everything, and every post, due to having our lives to live. Wait a minute...of course we see them all, not having other lives.

    But, tell us anyway, please.

  4. #14
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cut the grass View Post
    This happens in almost every situation--abusive relationships, teacher/student relationships, parent/child relationships, peer-to-peer relationships (peer pressure) are the ones that come to mind.

    I've never felt compelled to blame a scapegoat. I entertain the likelihood that there are two sides to every story, and there are countless factors that play into what you are witnessing.
    Good thoughts.

    It is fascinating the parallels that can be drawn between so many different types of relationships. Even though people are diverse, there are basic principles that influence us in many different contexts.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  5. #15
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    In every society there seems to be a person designated as the scapegoat. That is, one who bears the blame of others. On the Day of Atonement the ancient Hebrews would take a live goat over whose head Aaron confessed all the sins of the children of Israel. "The goat, symbolically bearing their sins, was then sent into the wilderness." Because of the history of the term, it is especially appropriate when discussing this process of projecting the potential faults of a society onto the least capable individual, thereby ensuring that all members have the security of superiority.

    In other societies we have the witchhunt, the village idiot, the celebrity tabloids. It appears to be a process by which the members of the society project their own fears and inadequacies onto a mutually designated individual. Perhaps by having a common enemy to ridicule, the group finds common ground that otherwise would not exist. What is especially fascinating to me is the evolution of the individual to respond to this peer pressure and 'become' the witch or the village idiot. It is a sort of degradation of the individual. When the society you belong to finds you funny, intelligent, quiet, outgoing, whatever, it is a powerful subconscious motivator to live up/down to the expectation. I have seen it a thousand times and have experienced it.

    It happens on online forums consistently - almost to the point of being agonizingly predictable. Why? Why do people participate in it? Is it a means to correct a problem? Does focusing energy and attention on a scapegoat lessen their impact on the society or does it make their behavior more prevalent? It actually appears that this process of scapegoating someone is nurtured and fostered with great focus and energy. That is why the question is so compelling to me. What is your take on this process, both online and in virtually every society?
    Scapegoats are usually a consequence of our drive for self-affirmation. When we are denied what we want, it is usually easier for us to blame someone else for our mishaps as opposed to explore the possibility of us having failed at a task due to our own short-comings.

    This tends to be common in human behavior. Not sure if I could say that this is immanent within our nature, but very many of us do have proclivities towards that. Extroverts more than introverts. As we can notice that they tend to be Extrapunitive as respectively to their natural outward focus, whereas Introverts intrapunitive.

  6. #16
    only bites when provoked
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    A scapegoat is selected due to being seen as slightly inferior to begin with, for whatever reason that is, or in the case of the origins, this was something they heaped everything they didn't want in the group upon, then removed it from the group.

    I think you're seeing the effect of a group dynamic that is part of the self-healing nature of groups, where nonconformists are pushed out of the tribe for the sake of tribal coherence. It isn't scapegoating, it's more like circling the wagons and when one is damaged to the point of not being useful, you push it out and move the others to tighten up that location, or replace it with another wagon.

    Effective groups need sufficient similarity, common goals, common culture, or some other commonality to thrive.

    Back to the scapegoat: It's much like pushing something out of the circle, only pushing some aspect, which may or may not be true, on a particular thing/person, then pushing them out to cover the inadequacies of others in the group.

  7. #17
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    A scapegoat is selected due to being seen as slightly inferior to begin with, for whatever reason that is, or in the case of the origins, this was something they heaped everything they didn't want in the group upon, then removed it from the group.

    , .
    I can grant that claim, as again, it is clear that one need to be slightly 'inferior' in order to be bullied. On the social-emotional level, he would be excluded from the group, yet as far as the external formalities are concerned, he would remain on the inside, as it would be deemed by others that he serves a desired purpose.

    But again, whoever the current scapegoat is, it is not always the case that he was once a member of the group and is now ousted. A scapegoat can easily be a rival.

    This is where demonization comes in, which I'd argue is scapegoating also.


    For example, in George Orwell's animal farm, Snowball(he was supposed to symbolize an emeny of Stalin) was blamed for the missing crops, when in reality it was a weather-related mishap. So scapegoat could be used as an explanation for the maladies the community has been afflicted with.

    In the present day we could see an example of this in Israel, where the natives falsely blame the Palestinians for many of the problems the nation has incurred.

  8. #18
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    Effective groups need sufficient similarity, common goals, common culture, or some other commonality to thrive.
    What's interesting is that based on my background and mindset, the only type of group I desire to be part of is a diverse one. These are generally larger, more formal than the tribal group. Large metropolitan areas, large universities, professional organizations, etc. function with a set of formal guidelines that apply to all impersonally. They tend to examine the basic common denominators needed by all. Diversity creates a different type of interpersonal boundaries than the tribal group. It creates a hands-off mentality that requires objectivity and tolerance in order for cooperation to exist. It focuses on finding specific commonalities for specific goals, rather than attempting to make everyone's behavior uniform.

    This increased tolerance of diversity is where humanity needs to lean in order to survive as a global village. Of course people will form myriads of small tribes in churches, communities, etc., but w/o isolation from the rest of the world, the ability to think with a different set of social boundaries will be necessary. Would this negate, or at least minimize, the need for scapegoating?
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  9. #19
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    What's interesting is that based on my background and mindset, the only type of group I desire to be part of is a diverse one. These are generally larger, more formal than the tribal group. Large metropolitan areas, large universities, professional organizations, etc. function with a set of formal guidelines that apply to all impersonally. They tend to examine the basic common denominators needed by all. Diversity creates a different type of interpersonal boundaries than the tribal group. It creates a hands-off mentality that requires objectivity and tolerance in order for cooperation to exist. It focuses on finding specific commonalities for specific goals, rather than attempting to make everyone's behavior uniform.

    This increased tolerance of diversity is where humanity needs to lean in order to survive as a global village. Of course people will form myriads of small tribes in churches, communities, etc., but w/o isolation from the rest of the world, the ability to think with a different set of social boundaries will be necessary. Would this negate, or at least minimize,
    the need for scapegoating?

    From this we could reasonably conclude that encouragement of mindless conformity is responsible for much of scapegoating that we observe in society, and it would be congenial to see it decline.

    Yet again, this will only take care of one specie of scapegoating. At that point we still have done nothing about scapegoating that results from 'bullying' and scapegoating of enemies.(Both of these stem from our need to seek self-affirmation)

    I suggest that those problems can be rectified only from within. If we make it a point to avoid appeasing our tendencies to give affirmation to the self we will not have the problem of scapegoating because of bullying. And we will not have a problem of scapegoating in relation to racism (as depicted by George Orwell's allegory where Snowball was accused of stealing crops from the Farm in the Animal Farm)..Essentially... the problem of scapegoating... like many other problems with human behavior stems from our tendency to seek self-affirmation.. We have to go all the way down to the root for the most efficient remedies..

  10. #20
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    This increased tolerance of diversity is where humanity needs to lean in order to survive as a global village. Of course people will form myriads of small tribes in churches, communities, etc., but w/o isolation from the rest of the world, the ability to think with a different set of social boundaries will be necessary. Would this negate, or at least minimize, the need for scapegoating?
    It's an interesting conundrum.

    When the small established groups must vie for power (i.e., their success in getting what they want is dependent on them having some sort of control over others, or they end up being infringed upon or being controlled in some way), then the "scapegoat" effect is generalized to include ALL members of the offending group. [i.e., "Bleeding-heart Democrats have ruined the country" or "Republicans are all warmongering bastards", etc.]

    Yet, if the groups do NOT have to fight for dominance within the culture, what we generally see is isolationsim. They are very content to exist within their own little boundaries and basically ignore the other groups... which prevents a cohesive instructive culture from being formed, they simply have their own little pocket fiefdoms.

    What usually happens, at best, in that sort of scenario (where no group *has* to establish dominance in order to survive or get its way) is that a few independents/wanderers are capable of moving from group to group and included as pseudo-members -- and thus the best potential for change from outside influences comes from these pseudo-members, who are like bees pollinating flowers as they buzz around the social/cultural landscape.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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