The Us vs Them Conundrum

We as humans want to belong somewhere or to someone or to someplace , when we introduce ourselves we walk around with out identities on our sleeves. It’s not difficult to identify anyone these days , these indicators are more visible now in the appearances with which people walk around. It could be deliberate or it could be purely innocent.

Time and again it has been said by numerous writers and advocates for human rights , how dangerous such a mental construct is. Is it fair to use the word ‘dangerous’ for such distinctions? you may ask , the answer to that is YES & YES. The world today is in the grips of polarization and is more fragmented than ever. We may think that this thought pattern keeps people more united but in fact this can be the greatest threat to human progress and progress of a civilized society as a whole.

The psychology that goes being this thinking is as simple as it is complex. If you see it individually and from the ground up , lets think of something people are crazy about , we’ll take cricket in sports to explain this context. When anyone is playing against India , the notions and thoughts for that country suddenly change in our minds, in normal waking hours we may class Australia as a beautiful destination , somewhere you would want to spend your honeymoon in our send your kids to study further but as soon as you see the Australians in a cricket ground against your home country , they are the inferior enemy.

This is just a small instance of how this thought perpetuates and finds it’s way deep into society until we have no control over it and it eventually becomes a societal norm. Let’s be honest , sports still provides an easy balance , but when this kind of thought finds it’s way in sensitive areas such as religion , nationality , ethnic and cultural aspects , that is when things take an ugly turn. For the world is power hungry , and there’s no other easy way for people in power to control others than simply to plant a seed of US against THEM!

Humans by nature progress and prosper in groups , the collective effort that goes into taking forward and benefiting from each other is the most important aspect of what makes us stronger together, the famous saying ‘United we stand , divided we fall!’. We can’t possibly think of navigating though life alone , the collaborative effort of your own family , friends and teachers has made you who you are today.

Why the US vs THEM thought frame is dangerous for the society at large is because it gives birth and shape to many evils, it’s brings to fore our cognitive biases , it gives birth to forming group biases and prejudices. Turn on the news or go on social media , it can be easily seen playing out in front of your very eyes ,Majority vs Minority , The Republicans vs Democrats , The Right Wing vs Left Wing , Israel vs Palestine , India vs Pakistan the old Girls vs Boys , Communists vs Capitalists , Hindu vs Muslims , Sunni vs Shia , Science vs Arts , Poor vs Rich , China vs USA and the list can go on and on. Where the Us vs Them mentality can make you a strong knit social group in your own polarized circle but we miss the bigger picture here and how it damages the close knit social fabric , especially in a highly globalized world.

Mob mentality or Bheedh ki mansikta describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. We so badly want to belong to our group that looking at things through our own intelligence or rationality becomes a far cry.

In order to understand this better, social psychology gives these causes :

  • De-individualization — when people are part of a group, they experience a loss of self-awareness.

For the sake of peace , people , and the future of the world , we must unite as one , keeping aside our biases and the way we categorize people based on their identities. For we are so much more than where we are born , what language do we speak , which guru do we preach , which religion do we follow and which clothes do we wear. If we give chance to others, and go towards them without our biases and prejudices and pre-concieved notions , maybe we’ll find better relations and stop living so much in fear, fear of the others, fear of being inferior or fear of numbers.

Salamet! I will try to write about things that make stir in the middle of cold nights , for the lover in me , for the empath in me for the introvert in me