|Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash
I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of an animal brought up in the farmyard. It associates itself as one of another species. On another note, you bring home a new pet, and the house training begins. Soon your new pet fits into your home environment. We condition it to what is expected. It established early cognitive development in many creatures in those first months. Personal identity and association with the group are established. In our species, those early developments establish cultural normals.
This brings into view a question. There are some in our society capable of viewing the world around them from the third person. It appears many are incapable of seeing the natural world outside of their identity. Incapable to view circumstance, and evaluate observations, and decide about the whole of the natural world. Many see an only immediate personal benefit.
I wonder? Is there a connection, is it possible, that during early development, limitations are created? Is it possible that in the general population, many are simply incapable of viewing the world outside of their individuality? Consider for a moment that the decision-making capability of each of us as concentric circles. The more circles there are, the higher your level of decision. As we go further out from the centre of these concentric circles, we pass a point where, at the next levels, a person can see themselves from the third person. Similar to IQ tests, we are all individuals with unique capabilities. Just as there are no two snowflakes are alike, there are no two individuals that are alike in their cognitive processes.
This being observed, I wonder? Is early development in our species responsible for the numbers of concentric circles that represent cognitive ability? Keep in mind that some can expand their knowledge and understanding, creating more concentric circles throughout their entire lifetime. This represents neuroplasticity. There appear to be many, that regardless of circumstance, would have a threshold of concentric circles. Cognitive ability that would never develop further because of the individual biological limitations. The working model in social groups that appears to work? Early training/indoctrination creates conformity. The conformity, thus, precipitates amiable interactions with the rest of the social group. Early implementation of team sports, I observe, is one of the best examples of conformity. Young individuals have their ego stroked by sports achievements. This establishes the reward and punishment cycles in the mind. I use this as an example because team sports were never part of my early upbringing. I wonder? Is this why? To view the world in the third person is my predominant way of evaluation and decision-making? In team sports, the team captain directed their decisions and activities. This establishes the authoritative patterns in individuals. From an even earlier age, the child in a religious family authority is recognized. It is understood before the establishment of language; the child understands the parents are directed by a higher authority. The early developmental mind wants to be part of, be rewarded, and be acknowledged. It would then follow that to mimic behaviours that are observed leads to the ego being stroked for observed conformity. I would suggest that all of this early development causes the young developing mind to be less and less capable of thinking in the third person. By that, I mean perceiving consequences of decisions and actions far beyond self for their immediate social group.
This brings to mind a grey area. This area of transition from viewing yourself from the first person to the third person. I would suggest that this capability of transition from the first person, full-frontal ego view, to the third person view of self, is comprised by a blend of concentric circles. That means that it is not an immediate transition of black-and-white. Why do I say this? Because depending on the topic or decision to be made, the ability to perceive consequence in the third person depends on perceiving a loss of identity or social status. If the individual immediately has the comprehension that their identity is in question, they would resist a view from the third person. If their view is that they have very little personal compromise and that the change in perspective is predominantly concerning others, then they may accept. However, that being said, if they perceive that changing their point of view because of seeing circumstance from the third person, will have social consequences by their immediate peer or social group, then they will resist. Because socially, this will affect their social status within the group. This maintains the social conformity of the group, its peer pressure. In extreme examples, this will lead to hostility. Such an outburst of extreme anger can take the form of the following “I don’t f*ckn like the way you think!” I have experienced have been subjected to these outbursts. After an extensive conversation, carefully presenting details and consequences. After agreement along the way in small incremental steps, when the individual realizes that they have been led to a requirement of change perspective, the outburst occurs. They find that their cognitive dissonance is brought into unobstructed view. They have found themselves painted into a corner. Their justification for the previous point of view has been carefully revealed to them. It is for this simple example that people of religious conviction cannot be reasoned with. Logic is not part of their vocabulary for this current topic.
In conclusion, I wonder if the establishment of social conformity in many of our societies truncates the natural development of the mind.