Crazy is a Compliment

One must note that the convergence of all economic, political, and social phenomena and its ultimate outcome are rendered through the collection or the summation of all human endeavors and actions, both from a game theory perspective and a sociological perspective. And as Talcott Parsons argued, both individual and collective action are oriented towards something, or are guided and led by an ‘orientation of action.’ In turn, there are ‘objects of orientation’ towards which individual and collective action are directed. For one, there are ‘nonsocial’ or ‘physical objects’ or ‘accumulated cultural resources.’ And then there are ‘social objects’ or ‘individual actors and collectivities.’ 

The choice of one’s ‘object of orientation’ is made by the individual through ‘cognitive discriminations’ with the aim of ‘cathexis’ or ‘the attachment to objects which are gratifying and rejection of those which are noxious” to borrow from Parsons. It follows that ‘cathexis’ is “at the root of the selective nature of action.” Arguably, the social aspect of action and one’s ultimate belonging to a particular group prompts one’s choice of object more than any other factor or impetus, although there are exceptions. As one writer argued: “The social influence of our groups is so powerful that it can even outweigh common sense and empirical fact.” 

The individual can even lose sight of what he or she wants because of the sheer power of group conformity. In most instances, the reality is such that when we put certain individuals into contrast with a group, we end up with a situation whereby “we can never be sure what most other people really want or believe.” The fact is that in most instances, our personal identity “is tightly interlaced with our social identity, to the point that our brains really can’t make a distinction between them.” Group conformity is such a powerful psychological and social force that “the ghost of groups past reach beyond the grave and exert a mighty influence that we almost never notice.” 

‘Group dynamics’ or ‘The Groupthink Syndrome’ or ‘symptoms of groupthink,’ as Irving Janis wrote, include ‘an illusion of invulnerability’ between members of a group, along with ‘an unquestioned belief in the group’s inherent morality’ which ironically leads to unethical and immoral behavior, a collective effort towards ‘rationalization’ of what is irrational, an inclination towards stereotyping everyone outside of the group, self-censorship which minimizes the importance of “doubts and counterarguments,” an “illusion of unanimity” which conforms to a majoritarian view, immense pressure on those who express “strong arguments against any of the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments,” along with “the emergence of self-appointed mindguards” who “protect the group from adverse information that might shatter their complacency about the effectiveness and morality of their decisions.”

“Information selectivity” or “selective exposure” to information and people who conform to one’s opinions and views are basic instincts and impulses that can be found almost anywhere and in anyone. But openness towards the opinions and views of others and recognition of opposing opinions and views begin to take hold when an individual becomes aware of “the likelihood that he will have to discuss or debate” with others. People will “increase, rather than decrease, their exposure to (and mastery of) the opposition’s arguments when they are worried about inescapable encounters with powerful opponents who will attack their decision.” 

Hence, in an era of converging political and social phenomena and the anticipation of the political and social outcomes from such convergence, effective entrepreneurs, leaders, and problem-solvers are the ones who “come from a group of outsiders who are committed to looking at the world a little differently and overturning traditional ways of doing things.” These entrepreneurs, leaders, and problem-solvers have to “come from a collection of “Davids” …who take on entrenched “Goliaths.” Effective entrepreneurs, leaders, and problem-solvers are also people who “are not bound by convention, precedent, or habit but are committed to disruption, adaptability, and reinvention.” In other words, to be called “crazy” is perhaps a compliment in this day and age. 

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