RSS Feed

shaping of groupthink and other maladies . . .

November 25, 2017 by Tunya

Shaping of Groupthink and Other Maladies . . .

While groupthink has yet to be classified as a mental illness in the huge Diagnostic Manual it is something to guard against. I note that the matter of defending oneself from it was a Quora Question, which elicited a number of good suggestions (How do you defend yourself mentally against groupthink?)

Two recent events bring up the topic — Wilfred Laurier University free speech controversy & Chilliwack school trustee calling for a public review of new sex education guidelines. The first, while in full public hullabaloo nationally and now subject of an inquiry, the second is still bubbling along as a local issue just because it happens to be in the “Bible Belt, you know”!

The first protagonist, Lindsay Shepherd, was subjected to a “struggle session” intending to shape her university lessons to politically correct expectations. She was far-sighted enough to have her session taped for all to hear the pressure tactics. The second protagonist, Barry Neufeld, was not so favored. He belongs to a corporation called a school board, which makes decisions by consensus. Who knows what “struggle session (s)” he endured in discussion of a radical new sex education proposal before he broke rank and privately went to the public via a Facebook post? Even the Minister of Education is pointing fingers. But, I’ve read the hundreds of comments (pro and con) to the news stories. This protagonist has indeed stirred up a hornet’s nest and he and his many followers deserve to be heard, not silenced or have him forbidden from seeking re-election.

These “struggle sessions” are an import from the Cultural Revolution in China and are meant to humiliate one into compliance with the group. There are all kinds of ways in which people are subjected to pressures to follow a party line or prevailing dogma. As one who watches school systems closely I despair over the current push for so much group work and collaboration. Is this meant to shape early toward groupthink? Let’s look into both groupthink and “struggle sessions”.

[to Facebook 25 Nov 2017]


No Comments »

No comments yet.

You must be logged in to post a comment.