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The Statesman

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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Think For Yourself

    During the Revolutionary War our founding fathers fought to give us the freedoms we so readily enjoy and take for granted today. One of the most important ideals that they fought for was the opportunity to choose their own way of life. While there are more paths for us to choose from today as compared to the 1700s, this principle freedom has spanned the generations and still applies to us today.

    Even though many good men fought and died for these rights, it troubles me that we fail to take full advantage of them. Instead, we choose to throw them away in exchange for the feeling of belonging. So many of us choose to give up our individuality, the freedom to choose what we want to do, say, or even think. Why does this happen so easily? Its a little complicated to explain.

    It is common knowledge to those that study human psychology that we are social creatures. Within all of us is the need to belong and fit in. We could just as easily survive without food or water than live without other people to connect with. The next question you should be asking yourself is, if it’s so important to us, then why would it be a bad thing to be a little less of an individual and a little more assimilated into a group? The answer is simple. It’s not bad to be part of something bigger, but when you completely lose your sense of individuality and can’t think for yourself that this becomes a problem.

    The best example comes from the most obvious place; the world around you. Open your eyes and look around; you can see it every day, everywhere. From social cliques in a high school to the most extreme examples such as the Nazi party in Germany during World War II, people always seem willing to fall into line and remain blindly obedient as long as they are accepted.

    Like I said before, there’s nothing wrong with fitting in with other people, but many of these groups find that people so desperately want to be a part of that group that they will do whatever it takes to join and be ‘a part.’ This is often what leads to the incessant snickering and emotional abuse that many children must deal with growing up in public schools. This is why many Germans rationalized blaming Jews and Gypsies for their problems during the 1930s and did nothing as millions were murdered. This is also what you, a college student, may be doing by gossiping about how a guy or girl is dressed one day.

    It is that need to blend in with other people that drives us to conform. It compels us to not stand up and go against a crowd when we feel that something said was inappropriate or something done was wrong. This dissolve of individual will and personality in order to submit to the group mentality is not what the founding fathers had in mind. We need to be able to think for ourselves and to stand up and act on our own accord. If you want to be a part of something bigger, then be a part of it. Add your own voice to the group instead of letting the group speak for you.

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