I do not pretend to be even an amateur psychologist, sociologist, or any other kind of “ist.” But I do have access to Wikipedia and an eye for observation.
Ingroups and Outgroups
I notice that a lot of people on the Internet, especially those who gravitate towards discussion forums and other places they can argue with strangers behind a veil of anonymity, seem to have an “us vs. them” shaped hole in their heart. Or something like that.
When I see someone of any belief system (or non-belief system), who needs a common enemy to disprove, I see someone who deep down, probably needs to validate what their belief system. I know atheists, religious people, spiritual people, and people with well formed political positions, etc who have no need to argue.
Then there is everyone else. Hell, maybe I am guilty of some of it myself with this post….cue Twilight Zone them music.
You can pick these out because you’ll see any combination of the following:
- Need to prove others wrong.
- Need to convert.
- Need to be a victim.
- Need for a pecking order or to establish credibility within their group
- Need for black and white thinking
- Need for over-generalizing and stereotypes
Here is a interesting page from Wikipedia on Ingroups and Outgroups and the whole Us vs. Them mentality thing. where
…people may find it psychologically meaningful to view themselves according to their race, culture, gender or religion. It has been found that the psychological membership of social groups and categories is associated with a wide variety of phenomena.
Oh, and the whole issue around religion and such is only the tip of the iceberg. Everything from politics to preferred camera brands can be an anchor and just like potato chips, no one can have just one.
To be continued.