User Tools

Site Tools


This article needs some work: the ideas are there, but they are disorganized as I've added sentences from time to time.

The Role of Conformity in Conflicts of Interest

Conformity allows the existence of maladapted, flawed, dysfunctional ideas. Why? Because it does not allow controversial topics to be discussed in a constructive way. In a conformist environment, more value is placed on upholding social graces, maintaining the peace, political correctness, and overall positive appearances.

Conformists are not egalitarian, but instead look for their place in a social hierarchy. The establishment represents a higher status entity than themselves in their construct of hierarchy. Hierarchy provides a feeling of safety and stability for conformists. They therefore have an inherent need to trust the establishment. Conformists prefer to avoid making decisions for themselves, and would rather have a higher status person, or the establishment make decisions for them. Conformists would demonize whistleblowers. They are the ones that would support Hitler because they like the feeling of security so much that they will ignore atrocity.

Conformists have an inherent need to feel safe. They adapt to having multiple and independent belief systems that are contextually triggered to maximize safety. So where does that leave rational thinking, if your perception of reality changes to suit your needs? How can you realize scientific thinking with that kind of bias? Persons whose primary motivator is the pursuit of safety and stability, are starting with a conflict of interest in the pursuit of scientific, rational thought.

For the same reason, where does that leave values or morality? Conformists will follow the morality of society not because of their intrinsic set of values, but because they value the order/safety that the system provides. They don't think for themselves. They are like robots acting on instincts that run a self-preservation program optimizing the continuation of their DNA to the next generation. Conformists would marry for money, since money confers higher status and resources. They want to climb their concept of social hierarchy, but still want to feel that someone above them can keep them safe. If they reach the top they may turn to God to provide this benefit.

“Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.” Conformists are not able to see themselves as accountable for their actions. Their feelings overrule logic. Their mind is optimized for resource acquisition. They are not aware of their own true motives. They have a bicameral mind. The deeper mind is ruthless towards resource acquisition. To avoid cognitive dissonance in the conscious mind, the deeper mind creates rationalizations for the conscious mind to follow. A conformist will say one thing, and do the exact opposite, all the while believing they are in the right. They can commit heinous acts while showing no remorse.

Conformists' need to feel safe is driven by a homeostatic level of anxiety and fear. I have a hypothesis, which I'm sure someone has already researched. The innate conformist-fearful person, in the absence of threats, will perceive threats where they don't exist. Given they are in a constant state of anxiety and fear, they will rationalize that there is something to be afraid of, even if there isn't. This is how they can be manipulated by a madman like Hitler: he only needed to offer safety from an imaginary threat.

We are all conformists to some extent. I am not sure if it there is a Gaussian or Multimodal distribution, when it comes to the degree to which individuals are conforming.

There must be some evolutionary advantage to having our level of conformity. However, modern society is a different environment from our evolutionary past, and what once was an advantage, could now be a liability towards a better civilization. At least I think of it as a liability. Some others may be quite fine with it.

sociology/conflict-of-interest.txt · Last modified: 2019/06/09 00:54 by marcos