Groups Corrupt People
Groups can make people believe that things they’d normally view as wrong or even morally reprehensible are in fact good, essential and defensible.
And by “wrong” I mean out of sync with, and not proper to do in reality.
This is what makes being an ideologue so incredibly dangerous. When you’re an ideologue, things you’d immediately recognize as wrong when you’re by yourself can seem okay, normal and even proper to do so long as people around you are doing them.
If you’re in the habit of letting groups, crowds and trends do the thinking for you then you’re easily corruptible.
For instance, you inherently understand that bullying is wrong. No one has to tell you that bullying is wrong, you’re innately aware that using unfair physical, mental, situational or socioeconomic advantages to prey upon others and force your will on them, towards robbing them of power, property and personhood is wrong. You know that using unfair advantages to dump rage into others is wrong to do.
If you saw a teenager beating up a toddler and taking their food away it would enrage you, especially if the toddler was someone you felt emotionally connected to. It’d be even worse if you saw an adult doing the exact same thing to the toddler, or violating the child in some other way.
In fact, if you saw a 35 year old man trying to seduce and violate an 8 year old girl, unless you’re a pedophile and/or your heart and mind are corrupt, you’d probably wanna beat him senseless. You’d be enraged at him trying to use unfair advantages in size, strength, life experience and mental development to prey upon someone who was obviously weaker than him.
On your own, you immediately recognize these behaviors are wrong, and you’d rush to call the assailants cowardly and more than likely search for ways to target them with your own rage.
But when you see the same types of behavior demonstrated by groups, notably when you view such behaviors and practices through the perceptive lenses of groups that engage in them, then everything can seem kinda hazy and morally subjective — to a degree in fact that such behaviors and practices can become normalized, and even encouraged and highly praised.
In many cultures, taking from people who are either weaker than you or disadvantaged to you is lauded as strength and cunning — e.g, heavily armed and battle-ready colonizers invading and stealing lands from unsuspecting indigenous populations. In some cultures taking child-brides is considered a normal and celebratory practice. In business, say for instance in the social (television/film/music) industry, duping people who’ve had little to no exposure to bylaws that govern and regulate the industry and/or duping individuals who are desperate and socioeconomically disadvantaged into forfeiting their talent, resources, bodies and images for pennies and peanuts is considered doing good business.
In reality these are all just different forms of bullying. At a fundamental level you know such practices are wrong. Living and benefitting at the expense of others is parasitic, and parasitism sources to corruption.
When you look to other people, or to trends and groups to set your moral compass for you, and to do all of the thinking and decision making for you, then corruption can seem not only legitimate and justifiable, but even good and essential.
When done in groups, bullying takes on different shapes. In groups, bullying becomes “racism”, “sexism”, “classism”, “predatory cultures and customs”, “oppressive religions”, “fascism”, “nationalism”, “capitalism”, “communism”, “statism”, “slavery”, “genocides”, etc.
When groups that have unfair advantages by way of numbers, firepower, socioeconomic standing and influence, or social protections (etc), use their advantages to prey upon others — that is, to exploit, and steal resources, power and personhood away from people, and to target those who are powerless to fight back on fair terms with their rage and contempt, more often than not they attempt to morally sanitize their predatory actions and behaviors with the stories they create and circulate among themselves.
In groups, humans tend to create and circulate stories that negate reality and grant them license to do, take, behave and believe as they please. Stories are used to morally sanitize corruption, and stories live and mutate within groups.
Again, stories are used to sanitize and justify corruption. Collections of stories ultimately become belief systems, and belief systems ultimately become cultures. Cultures inevitably corrupt people — and the more assimilated individuals are into cultures is the more corrupt they tend to be. This is because all cultures spawn and ultimately serve to legitimate corrupt behaviors, attitudes, habits and practices. Eventually, cultures make those who assimilate into them psychotic.
No one should have to tell anybody that tying someone to a post and whipping the flesh off of their back is wrong. No one should have to tell anybody that ganging up on people and bludgeoning them to death with stones is wrong. No one should have to tell you that hanging a person from a tree and setting them on fire is wrong. No one should have to tell you that starving, or poisoning, or infecting people with biological agents is wrong. You’re literally wired by reality itself to know such things are wrong to do, because at a sympathetic level you’re innately aware that you don’t want such things done to you or to people you love.
But when you follow crowds and trends — when you listen to people over reality itself then you can buy into hype and convince yourself that you’re doing good, and even being brave, moral, Godly and essential by engaging in such horrific and disgusting practices.
In groups, corruption reigns supreme over the hearts and minds of mankind. When you’re an ideologue you look to people to tell you that your attitudes, actions and behaviors are correct, instead of judging these things by and according to the impacts they cause you to make on reality and others in the world around you. In fact, when you’re an ideologue, you only want to listen to people who tell you that you’re right and that you deserve good things ahead of others, and to do and take what you want.
Think about gang culture for a second. From the outside looking in you immediately recognize that it’s wrong. Your first thought is “This is senseless. There’s no reason for people to live like this or do such things.” But through the groups’ cultural lenses, what seems right and wrong is highly subjective and negotiable. Killing people is objectively wrong in reality, yet according to that cultural narrative, killing for retaliation and/or for what’s deemed “justice” by the group is not just acceptable, it’s glorified. So you’ve got a bunch of people out here killing others based exclusively on agreements they’ve made with themselves and each other about what’s permissible in reality. Ironically, many gang members even have sacred rituals they perform, and literally pray for God’s blessing and guidance as they set out to engage in and further corruption.
When you consider capitalism and globalism from outside of groups that promote and benefit from these constructs, you immediately recognize the behaviors associated with, and which lay the foundations for them are wrong. You know at the core of your being that living and benefitting at the expense of others is wrong, because you know you don’t want anyone to do it to you.
At a fundamental level, you recognize when something’s out of sync with reality. But if you’re in the habit of listening to people (groups) over reality then everything can seem nebulous and morally subjective when you’re in the aggressor stance. That’s because stories, which are the basis for forming social groups, only exist and have power within idealism. Meanings, symbols, beliefs, identities and identity features, all of which are either stories or functions of storytelling in their own right, only exist and matter within the realm of idealism. When you listen to stories over reality you’re voluntarily entering into a state of psychosis.
What’s considerably right and wrong to humans from within their individual and group imaginations changes by and according to the values they assume and assert, which necessarily source to the stories they create and circulate among themselves. When you’re listening to people, and to stories that are created and circulated by people, you’re listening to ideas — your awareness is trapped in idealism, and not grounded in reality itself.
This is how soldiers throughout history, from all nations and walks of life, have gotten duped into believing that killing can be “righteous”, and “done in the name of God” and “goodness”.
In reality, it’s abundantly clear that God doesn’t need thugs to kill for it — reality doesn’t need humans to kill other humans on its behalf. If it did it wouldn’t be God then, would it? Your natural mind — that is, your common sense lets you recognize this fact with minimal effort. But if you’re not in the habit of using your mind to make proper sense of things, and instead look to people around to inform and guide your decisions and behaviors, then anyone can easily convince you that killing other people for them is God’s will, and [thus] morally justified.
Now imagine you got a bunch of people who didn’t want to think for themselves to listen and give priority to stories you came up with about how good and Godly your group is, and how everyone who isn’t part of your group is evil and out to get you… You could convince them to pretty much do anything you want them to, couldn’t you?
It’s why thugs in service to the state, in every tyrannical and fascist movement throughout history have all believed and/or convinced themselves that they were doing God’s (or society’s) work by suppressing, terrorizing, robbing and exploiting whoever they were aimed at and unleashed on.
People will kill and even sacrifice their own lives to protect, defend and promote stories that suggest they, by proxy of their group, are good and entitled to the things they want in life.
Unfortunately, most stories that serve to weaponize people against others usually source to entities that set out to exploit them, who use the ideas of God and “goodness” as props to further their own corrupt schemes. Ideologues end up listening to and building identities around ridiculous stories, towards ultimately forfeiting their lives on both this side of existence and the next, just blindly defending trends, groups and stories they’ve internalized and seek to self-actualize through. People do this because trends, groups and stories imbue them with senses of identity and purpose.
That’s what makes the call of the echo chamber a siren’s song.
Take modern day Christians for my final example. People who call themselves Christians would rather listen to folks tell them pleasant stories about Jesus, and feel comfort and safety within groups of people who repeat, circulate and build onto pleasant stories about how much Jesus loves and accepts them than they would actually read and consider the words attributed to Jesus in the bible.
This is because Jesus is not the priority in Christianity, the label and group is. Don’t believe me though. I actually want you to test this out for yourself.
Say something disparaging (not disrespectful) about Jesus to a Christian and monitor their reaction — e.g., Jesus isn’t real. A bit later say something disparaging about Christianity and compare their response. I’m willing to bet you that people who identify as Christians will take more offense to you speaking against Christianity than they will to you speaking against its namesake.
The label “Christian” is an identity feature that makes up part of who people feel and believe they are, which is why they’ll take more offense to you speaking against the group than they do to you denying Jesus. Christianity is about identity, not the individual’s actual values and beliefs — which is why being Christian is more about belonging to the group than it is reverence for God or Jesus.
In fact, somehow Christian culture has become this unholy amalgamation of everything Jesus said not to do. Extravagant prayers done for praises from men, money changing, money worship, wealthy preachers, pride and self worship, alms for attention, etc, etc, etc — Christianity has become an edifice to self-glorification. None of how Christianity is practiced has anything to do with what Jesus actually said, yet people will side with Christianity as a group over standing beside anyone who attempts to direct their attention to what Jesus actually said and did. Defending Christian culture, and even practices that were deemed corrupt by Jesus himself is more important to Christians than Jesus’ actual teachings.
As such, Christians will choose the group, the social label and the stories they come up with and circulate among themselves about God and Jesus’ love for them over reality itself — notably, over the reality of what Jesus actually said and did, as recorded in the bible.
The wrath and piety of evangelicals, the money worship and gluttony of prosperity ministry, on and on down the line…
They call themselves “godly” for belonging to (but really in most cases, just being loosely affiliated with) a group, while showing no care or concern for the instructions left by its namesake. As a group, they’ve convinced themselves that the agreements they come up with negate reality, and the stories they accept and circulate among themselves have the power to morally sanitize the impact that’s been made on the world by people operating under that banner.
And see, only a person whose heart and mind have already been given over to Satan (corruption) would take offense to anything I just wrote. Corruption uses pride to tether people to groups, and groups to carry out its designs. Corruption hates and scoffs at truth (what’s consistent with and actual within reality), as do those it self-actualizes through.
When you listen to stories and choose to stick with groups over reality, you’re choosing the words, the company and the hope for approval from men over God. That’s not subjective or negotiable, it’s absolute. When you blindly follow and defend social groups, labels, authority and trends, you’re choosing corruption over reality. When you choose groups over reality you’re effectively choosing idealism over reality, and thus voluntarily entering into a state of delusion (psychosis).
Groups corrupt people.