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Thread: Scapegoats

  1. #21
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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?
    This, however, is based on an empire that will fall. You want to be valuable to a tribe, because there really is strength in numbers (~150 is the maximum), and when the empire is no longer enforcing the rules you depend upon, your tribe is the one that will protect you as you protect them.

    There cannot be a global unification without an outsider that is sufficiently different to bring humanity together. As long as we all live on this little ball of dirt and rock, we will divide it and ourselves into pieces and groups.

  2. #22
    To the waters of the wild Siúil a Rún's Avatar
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    As has been mentioned, the tribe often has a leader who thinks for the group. If the tribal society is not based on individual thought, then there is a reasonable assumption that the leader is not chosen based on thought. This leaves more primal motivations of intimidation and displays of certainty. Because of this, it would seem such a system would tend to support an individual who was powerfully sadistic and narcissistic. To balance it, yes, the tribe thrives longer-term under a leader who considers the needs of all. However, the group could benefit as an extension of the leader. The leader wishes to thrive, uses the individuals to achieve that end, supports the individuals to the extent they can continue their function.

    It is interesting that in our modern society, those 'tribes' that are most intensely secluded and identified as a group are often led by such a leader (i.e. cults and such). I'm now wondering if this is a reason that humanity is by nature so cruel and self-centered? This would also account for the obsession with being 'number one'.

    What unnerves me about the remnant of tribal thinking in today's society as seen in scapegoating is this: What is the difference between a group of people disliking one member and publicly humiliating them, even joking about doing sadistic things to them vs. the Salem witch hunts? I will suggest that internally, the processes are exactly the same. The difference is that out 'civilized' society does in fact have the layer of diversity and formality that requires accountability outside the tribe. I realize this comparison may sound harsh, but think about it, people are just as they have always been. Differences are not so much internal and they are based on the system in which the individuals function.
    I wish I was on yonder hill 'tis there I'd sit and cry my fill, And every tear would turn a mill, Iss guh day thoo avorneen slawn.
    I'll sell my rock, I'll sell my reel, I'll sell my only spinning wheel, To buy my love a sword of steel Iss guh day thoo avorneen slawn.
    I wish, I wish, I wish in vain, I wish I had my heart again, And vainly think I'd not complain, Iss guh day thoo avorneen slawn.

  3. #23
    Senior Member kuranes's Avatar
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    There was an article posted recently on INTPC talking about how to make sites and/or forums successful, and one of the methods mentioned was something that is also true for groups IRL. Pick out a real threat, or exaggerate a real threat and tell the group they need to unify in order to stop the threat. If no real threat ( large or small ) exists, then make one up, by stressing "purity" or some other vague aesthetic that may require "special interpreters". Such "interpreters" are often the leaders or the "medicine men" or "merlins" behind the throne.

  4. #24
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    I'm kind of the weirdo that sees the scapegoat and starts taking up for the scapegoat because no one deserves to be held with all the blame of the world on their shoulders. They likely have a complex history and problem that makes them the way they are. And while this is not a defense, it is enough for me to say, am I truly assisting their growth by joining a band of enraged mobs to chastize them? You can do so but do so with the intent of growth and well-being and not just destruction. Too many go into an issue with a thought of destroy it. If we instead go in with the thought of pull the weeds and tend the garden, I think we would go a lot farther. Nevertheless it can seem "Easy" to jump in, especially in the moment if you don't think about it. Which when it comes to something like that, especially if people you care about are involved, it may feel more inclined TO jump on it. It isn't fair but I think the inclination is always there. Often it is as stated, more than one side to every story. It is hard to grasp an entire picture. And it is better if the two originators work it out instead.


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  5. #25
    Guardian of Ga'Hoole Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FemMecha 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?
    I wager that it creates the illusion that problems are easier to fix, and this is what makes it attractive. If all the problems you see are directly attributable to one person, then dealing with them is simply a matter of dealing with that one person. The really nifty part is that it absolves everyone else individual responsibility for addressing the situation, even if there are actions they could take that might make a difference.
    A path is made by walking on it.

    -Zhuangzi


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  6. #26
    To the waters of the wild Siúil a Rún's Avatar
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    This is an ancient thread - one of the first ones I created here. It's 13 years old when the forum was a month old. Just sayin' I'm not sure what to think or feel about that. I'm still not a fan of scapegoating.
    I wish I was on yonder hill 'tis there I'd sit and cry my fill, And every tear would turn a mill, Iss guh day thoo avorneen slawn.
    I'll sell my rock, I'll sell my reel, I'll sell my only spinning wheel, To buy my love a sword of steel Iss guh day thoo avorneen slawn.
    I wish, I wish, I wish in vain, I wish I had my heart again, And vainly think I'd not complain, Iss guh day thoo avorneen slawn.
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  7. #27
    Guardian of Ga'Hoole Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FemMecha View Post
    This is an ancient thread - one of the first ones I created here. It's 13 years old when the forum was a month old. Just sayin' I'm not sure what to think or feel about that. I'm still not a fan of scapegoating.
    Ironically enough there's a post that describes exactly what happened to the INTP site

    Quote Originally Posted by kuranes
    There was an article posted recently on INTPC talking about how to make sites and/or forums successful, and one of the methods mentioned was something that is also true for groups IRL. Pick out a real threat, or exaggerate a real threat and tell the group they need to unify in order to stop the threat. If no real threat ( large or small ) exists, then make one up, by stressing "purity" or some other vague aesthetic that may require "special interpreters". Such "interpreters" are often the leaders or the "medicine men" or "merlins" behind the throne.
    It seems that this was very influential, but I would say that the thinking behind this is dubious. It can create cohesion perhaps up to a certain point, but eventually it can lead to the breakdown of community. If you either drive out or eliminate scapegoats, this means that you keep on having to find new scapegoats. This means that you not only lose the scapegoats as you go away, but, if membership in a community is purely voluntary, you also drive people away because it creates an environment full of mistrust people will not want to be in.
    A path is made by walking on it.

    -Zhuangzi


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