Diminishing Tolerance - The rise of cults
Thinking beyond bubbles. A slice into the workings of society through the perspective of the dynamics of ideologies and cults. Answering how people get stuck inside a systematic ideology or bubble and cannot see clearly into reality. Why do we have conflicts over simple discrepancies or differences when we can coexist peacefully.
August 8, 2021 · 6 min · By: Vimarsh, Aryan and Aabhas
In today’s era of social media, where we come across hate comments every single day, it’s quite evident that intolerance is a matter of concern in today’s generation.
One of the primary reason behind this attitude of getting affected at the smallest of things is because of the insecurity and vulnerability inside us. The current generation tends to easily idolize people and things and follow them blindly (so called “Bhakts”). They don’t have their own rationale, and to keep themselves away from contradicting their own formed ideologies they are ignorant. Thus, vulnerability arises when we are affected by anything beyond our bubble. This is what gives rise to intolerance!
What is Intolerance?
Remember that time when you were offended by the smallest of conflict? yea, that is intolerance. Before we come to intolerance, we need to learn about bubbles. Bubbles are like an isolated group of people that blindly believe in a particular rigid ideology, thought or opinion. An individual can be a part of multiple groups or bubbles at once. There is a difference between groups and bubbles - a bubble is a group with a leader which others follow blindly whereas a group may or may not have a leader.
Coming to intolerance. You must have seen a bag of chips, right? the chips are so fragile, that they can break with the slightest of force. So, the chips need a huge bag with a lot of air to prevent them from breaking. The new generation is just like a chip. They get offended easily and thus, stay inside that ‘bubble’ of air for protection. For example, if your friend follows, admires or worships, say, Elon Musk, but you disagree with Musk or give reasons against his advice - then it is very possible that you loose yet another friend. The popular solution is to heed precaution while talking in public, to avoid popping others' bubbles. People are very insecure and sensitive.
Mainspring of Intolerance
The new generation of people are easily affected by what one says to another. Not only that they are insecure and sensitive. Segregation by religion, caste, gender, work were and are some of the most prominent causes.
But recently the mainspring has been the practice of ‘following’ and differences in thoughts. People on the internet (which all of you - the readers) are influenced by others and have developed a community; a virtual one - all united on common grounds. This has led to ignorance and the lack of understanding for others.
Consider a simple example: You like Modi government and its steps a lot. So your internet visits, following and social circle will probably include people partially aligned to your believed. What happens is resonance - the amplitude of strong belief grows so much that external dampers (even if they are significant - have little to no effect. The internet has become a hero but a villain as well. You have the ability to research on your own and find information about a topic and form your own opinion, but unfortunately the YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc recommendation feeds are curated in such a way to keep your echo chamber amplifying > spawned by overflow of content. Integrity and following what you believe in is not wrong but ignorance is.
Then there is knowledge but an urge to defend. Sometimes you know the right or wrong but your beliefs might not align with the principles you believe in, but to not burst the bubble, you strengthen in and defend the wrong. The trap you own create for yourself sets off with an upending explosion is orders of magnitude higher than just shifting to the ‘right’ or relevant side.
Each bubble we form through our confirmation bias is a result of our experiences that we tend to jump to conclusions by making generalizations with our perception of people. We tend to define our own bubble of ideologies or thoughts to avoid any vulnerability of our actions: a result of our insecurity giving rise to cults. What’s the problem when you are following a cult that aligns with your ideologies? well.. nothing.
The problem arises when your ideology doesn’t match with the cult and then the insecurity of bursting of the bubble makes us orthodox , ignorant, and intolerant towards our vulnerability. We end up blindly following people or ideologies or organizations i.e. the cults without any will to rationalize, thus, we get affected to realize our mistake.
Often the problem is following such Cults leads to almost a herd mentality of blind following, where anything against your bubble wrong or right is not acceptable. Losing out upon rationale is problematic when these Cults are driven by few powerful people (or leaders) who exploit these emotions and sentiments for their own benefit. The problem that arises with this clash of cults at every single aspect of our mortal life, is probably the root cause of most conflicts in our life.
Food for thought: Aren’t the concepts of countries themselves cults?
Probably we could try to solve this by constantly redefining our bubble or by simply retaining our rationale even believing in some ideologies and have the courage to disagree when feeling like, and most importantly by not being intolerant and ignorant rather accepting our vulnerability, and being ready to let our bubble of ego burst (silently).
How can you fix it - Pringles, anyone?
The Pringles Ideology: Instead of being randomly shaped chips, all of us could be kind of standardised. All with different taste but with ability to stack up. When you are stacked together not only is it more dense but also foundationally resistive to external forces.
Let’s understand one possible solution using a hypothetical example. Imagine a person who is wearing sunglasses, but due to which, they have a biased view of the world - they see the world as black (or blue or orange, basically skewed). You feel that you need to change this and enlighten that person or show them the reality. Without a second thought, you snatch and break those glasses. What you didn’t know is that those glasses were a gift to that person from a very beloved friend or relative. Now the person will never trust you and try to get away from any of your influence. Instead, if you ignore it completely, maybe that person will not see the large rock in his way and fall while walking blindly. Thus, it is important to find a balance between ignorance and influence. This is the solution: to convince people such that they trust us. This maintains trust while also ensuring others' well-being.
The difference of opinions is the cause of animosity, but there could be co-existence. Co-existence is when we can live benevolently even with our differences. We should hence make bubbles with a backdoor to exit but also merge when needed.
There is no We. No Them. But only a common collective entity that encompasses Us all.