Groupthink & Independence

As we celebrate Independence Day, I, perhaps like many others today, find myself pondering its significance. While many may be thinking back to the 1770s and the great many personal sacrifices and contributions American families made at the time toward the establishment of the United States, I have found my thoughts to be rooted in present times and, at the core, the seemingly ongoing trend away from independence.

I believe there to be a fatal flaw in today’s groupthink. The flaw may simply be that there is too much groupthink. For a country founded in the spirit of autonomy, it is interesting that “teamwork” is a term we are hearing all too often these days. Though the idea of teamwork may have been deep-seated with good intentions, what we’re seeing is a playing field where personal accountability and ideology is being stifled, absorbed and shared by an assembly, large or small, to the point where that accountability, and most importantly, any direction, is completely lost. The lack of accountability removes personal and global consequences. Some of you will read “consequences” with a negative connotation, yet, I would argue that the presence of consequences drives ultimate success. Consider the many positive consequences that resulted from the efforts of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence.

But wait. The presence of consequences indicates the incidence of risk. Does it not? We all have heard the adage, “without risk, there can be no reward”. Yet, we move away from risk every day for fear of failure. And, as we do that, we also move away from the prize.

Today, we live under a belief system that tells us we must always compromise, and that we must be quick to do so. Is there not a point where too much compromise strips us of who we are? The signers of the Declaration of Independence battled each other for years before coming to agreeable terms. Yet, because each member had something vital to contribute and held on to those ideals throughout the process, what they came away with was something that has endured.

Right or wrong, we need to stand for our convictions. Let’s not just talk about it, but let’s be active. I’m not necessarily talking about political activism. I’m talking about life. Be passionate about life. Your life. Enjoy the freedom we have given ourselves. Allow others the freedom to be passionate about their lives and what is dear to them. Mistakes will be made, but the triumphs can be great.

It begins with each of us.

I propose that each of us take today, if only this one day, to reclaim our personal independence. Own this day. Make it yours and make it infectious. Escape the “machine” for a day. I imagine the sheer power of that in each of us could be astounding.

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Categories: World Events

2 replies

  1. WoW. Voice… awesome post. You are correct. No Consequence + No Risk = No Prize.

    It is too bad people of my generation shy away from hard work, expect a hand out and do not think of what their actions today, will mean for their future, or the future in general.

    I wish you and yours an awesome Independence Day. I will be going out to the cemetery later to remember our fallen, to put flags on those who have fallen and to help those families remember. Then probably climb Mt POW/MIA for all who have worked hard to secure this Nation… serving or not.

  2. This write-up is right on target.!

    I will extend it further to what our children are being exposed to and how they are being taught.

    In high brow academic circles it is called “collaborative learning”.
    You are no longer expected to HAVE knowledge.
    No, no!
    You are expected to know WHERE TO GET KNOWLEDGE and it is through “group concensus”.
    This also makes life easier for teachers since kids take on the teaching. When a teacher is questioned,
    the teacher will respond with another question to get them to “think”. It’s easier to do this than have
    him/her TEACH. Less papers are marked since a “group” turns in their “concensus”. What is tragic is
    that objective courses like math have proven this approach to be a failure. It works better with
    “subjective” course like art. Is it ay wonder that kids get so frustrated with this they go into the arts
    rather than the hard sciences – which require, gasp … math!

    Listen to a critique on “collaborative learning” when using Everday Math –
    another adventure in disastrous “group think”.

    “Collaborative learning” is ALL about destroying genuine SELF confidence
    and destroying the INDIVIDUAL. This approach is COMMON in most schools today!
    Are you aware of that?

    Listen and pay close attention to the comments by this weather person,
    who went back to college for more math courses:

    NOTICE the curriculums she does NOT RECOMMEND. Yes theses particular
    course require “group think”!

    This approach is what most schools use that involve “group think”.
    You might be tempted to believe that prior to this destruction of self,
    people were unable to “get along with one another. That is not so nor
    does stiffling the individual and require them to compromise to a
    “group concensus” improve anything. It doesn’t. It just frustrates students.

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