Do you exist if I do not believe you exist?(Big Think question)

Do you exist if I do not believe you exist-is the question.

Of course one is not sure.An objective reality cannot exist without somebody perceiving it.If you believe it still exists independent of your perception,you may do so but that is only a belief and hence is subjective. It is therefore safe to presume that nothing exists without our perceiving that it exists. The question that arises is whether a reality has necessarily to exist if we believe it exists.By way of example ,I believe ghosts and gnomes exist and does that mean they exist as an objective reality ? No.Additional conditions apply .Verifiability of the evidence suggesting their existence should possibly be one of the conditions. Of course one would ask what we mean by verifiability.Suppose there is a mountain near the horizon and everybody’s perception and everything else points to the possibility of its existing. Which means the sensory impressions of all the people with respect to the object tally in all respects. We may therefore conclude the mountain exists. The unanswered question is whether several assessments tallying with one other and based upon “physical verifiability” make the mountain an objective reality .

Since we cannot separate our consciousness from what we perceive outside of ourselves the only way of verifying the existence of the objective reality is to cease to be the experiencer and become a part of the experienced. This is what the Hindus call brahma gyan(knowledge of Brahma)

The tyranny of “groupthink”

  • Groupthink is an interesting phenomenon which can occur when a group of people gathers to make a decision. Essentially, desires for group cohesiveness and a quick decision cloud the judgment of the people in the group, leading to a decision which is less than ideal. Social psychologists have studied groupthink extensively in an attempt to understand the warning signs of this phenomenon, and to develop methods for avoiding groupthink. Irving Janis was one of the first social psychologists to delve into groupthink, publishing a study on groupthink in the context of foreign policy decisions in 1972. He argued that groupthink was probably responsible for some of the more unwise decisions made by the United States government, backing up his claim with studies of group dynamics. Many studies of groupthink focus on foreign policy, since the groups who make these kinds of decisions tend to be classically pressured and very cohesive, setting up an ideal situation for groupthink.

  • Several things characterize groupthink. Members of the group tend to experience illusions of unamity, morality, and invulnerability within the group, meaning that they think everyone agrees, they are under the impression that their decisions are morally based, and they think that the decisions made within the group are always sound. Groupthink is also accompanied by self-censoring, in which members of the group stifle their opinions because they are afraid of controversy. The group often engages in heavy stereotyping of other groups and the situation they are dealing with, and there is often an immense pressure for conformity within the group. One of the hallmarks of groupthink is collective rationalization, in which the members of the group rationalize thoughts or decisions in flawed ways. This rationalization is often supported by so-called “mindguards,” who prevent contradictory information from entering the group discussion. As the members of the group work with incomplete information, high pressure, and a desire to conform, they come up with an idea which may not be balanced and well considered, like the decision to invade another country on the basis of flimsy evidence. There are a number of ways to avoid groupthink. Most importantly, the group must start out with no clear expectations and desires, and dissenting opinions must be encouraged, to the point of asking individual members of the group to argue against ideas as they are presented. Many organizations also break groups up into smaller committees which come back to the main group with their ideas, in the hopes of stimulating more discussion and creative ideas. In a situation where discussing decisions with people outside the group is feasible, people are encouraged to talk with people not in the group, to see whether their ideas will hold up in the outside world.

    tags: groupthink

How often have I seen this happening in our organisation! The individual decisions of a few strong-willed people often pass off as group decisions merely because the so called leaders ,often self-appointed ,put down dissent by the simple method of shouting louder, using lots of fluffy unrelated data and oneupsmanship. In the group discussions held as part of the promotion process,several clear thinking people get left out because the other participants are brash enough to leave them no room for airing of their own views..The Management’s representatives ,who are supposed to evaluate the individual’s contribution get easily taken in by the apparent consensus that seems to be building up around the leader’s viewpoint and come to the facile conclusion that the aggressiveness of the so called leaders is really what they have to look for in the promotion process and end up rating them higher than the other participants who are considered "also-rans"