By Jada Short
As the progressive movement grows and ideologies around the world have slightly started to shift in our favour, have we really factored in what it is going to take to win the majority? What are we fighting against, and is there any hope we could win and maintain the majority long enough to shift widely accepted societal norms to our favour? On a daily basis your average progressive faces a struggle against a force that is comparable to gravity itself. What is this force driving the reluctance to accept rational thought and realistic ideologies?
‘Progressives’ today and others throughout history who strove to push society forward have been facing a majority who have belief systems in place that see morality as God’s word. Unlike progressives, among whom beliefs evolve with a better understanding of the world and the environment, the majority has not evolved their thinking in a forward motion. Instead they have reverted back to traditional conservative and even regressive theologies that perpetuate inequality and social hierarchies.
The problem is that these theological ‘systems’ have and still do perpetuate social ills – murder, greed, rape, terrorism etc, that are detrimental to humanity’s existence. These systems also perpetuate a worldly and other-worldly divide and, deriving from such a worldview, a supposed explanation of why we are all here. This wide acceptance of the pre and post canonised workings of ‘God’s word’ has established a certain foundation for societal norms upon which people determine what is right, wrong, normal, abnormal, accepted, rejected, etc. The commonly accepted majority today holds a worldview that aligns our society against the knowledge and understanding that science, technology, and evolution have shown to humanity about the validity of such teachings. Their beliefs are not feasible or reasonable in their literal or even figurative interpretations.
The force behind irrational ideologies is so strong, as many of us know, that even with more evidence brought against its veracity it still continues – and in many cases unabated. Recent studies have showed that an infant will associate itself instinctively with the first group it is surrounded by. This alignment with a particular group will be a point of reference in the child’s mind determining ‘who’ they are or ‘what’ they belong to. This instinctual loyalty forms bonds that the child will accept and defend. The child is not likely to challenge the group’s culture which strives to maintain cohesion and uniformity within the group. An adoption, to whatever degree, of the groups ideologies, customs, and mannerisms happens before the first word is even spoken.
Along with the instinct to form an attachment, an infant will also automatically and instinctively fear, hate, reject, and oppose outliers of the group. This behaviour is enforced by society throughout the course of his or her life. This is the way loyalty and group identity have been enforced since civilisation’s inception. During recent centuries, the school systems in place throughout the world have indoctrinated humanity with a false sense of patriotism and allegiance to a government or its laws, an allegiance that suppresses our natural desire to challenge uniformed thoughts and practices. Any movements fighting against the majority are therefore fighting against humanity’s apparently genetically coded desire to cohere into groups is labeled as disruptive, heretical and a threat to society.
This leaves the progressive movement and outliers in society who rely on rational reasoning at considerable disadvantage – let alone those who have been indoctrinated to see the power of reason as dispensable, even questionable. As we know, one cannot force someone to gain an insight into the importance of having a forward-thinking worldview informed by reason and compassion. Not only that, one cannot necessarily reason with irrational ideologies when such ideologies discredit widely accepted facts that science has proven to be factual. Regrettably, the mind struggles to see the veracity of facts from the outliers because their mental training has demonised these entities, and they have an instinct to reject the outliers.
So where does that leave the progressive movement? The only way to become a progressive majority and reshape society with a strong forward-thinking mentality that would lead to equality and peace globally is to reform religion. Religion is going to have to evolve and humans are going to have to move past discredited religions. Moreover, they will need to re-orientate their bearings when it comes to questions concerning where we come from, wherein our highest values abide, and why we are all here as a species. Put another way, there needs to be a considerable axiological, genealogical and teleological shift. Not only that, until we do away with tribalist ways of thinking, thinking that fosters the outlier mentality, we cannot get past seeing ideas for what they are in themselves, for their merit. Indeed, without these metamorphoses the progressive movement will, I fear, continue to come apart at the seams.