I’ve been hearing the term, ‘The greater good,’ quite a bit lately. Apparently, it has it’s roots in Utilitarianism.
utilitarianism: the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority; the doctrine that an action is right insofar as it promotes happiness, and that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct. (via our lovely google dictionary).
On paper, it seems right. It often shapes our decisions in life and helps us to make decisions that would benefit the most. But what about those who become the sacrifice for this greater good? That is an often, swept under the rug discussion that can quickly turn ugly if not silenced quickly. I’ve had the unpleasant experience of being the sacrifice more than once in my life and it’s opened my eyes to an uglier side of society that has no room to take a true look at what that looks like. Closing their eyes and shutting down so they don’t have to face the harm that their decision could cause. Is just their way of protecting themselves and their feelings about the matter rather than facing the ugly truths that exist?
I’ve noticed those that are ‘plugged in’ will have the same lines of thought, words of indoctrination (?), using the same style of language and lingo to justify their viewpoint and leaving no room to think outside that box. It’s a split society in those situations that have painted the picture as either black or white, ignoring the gray that sit in front of them as if it doesn’t exist. They will argue vehemently to defend their position and give you absolutely no room to simply discuss the fall out from that line of thinking. Instead of critical thinking and curious discussion, it’s near immediate ego insulting and name bashing against the one who sits outside the box both in thinking and in experience. Their way is the only way and anything else is pure selfishness.
Yet, life is not black or white. There are sacrifices to the greater good and their voices deserve to be heard. After all, isn’t it my sacrifice that keeps you going? Let’s look at WWII. Some of the most horrific and brilliant doctors and scientists committed some the most outrageous atrocities against mankind. On paper, if you asked anyone, most of society would be disgusted by their actions. But when you boil it down to the finer details, you can excuse them by this thinking of the greater good. Did we not learn much from their discoveries? Did our country not then hire some of those same doctors to keep the studies going? But that’s not something most want to think about or are even aware of. The uglier side of things, swept under the rug and justified by the thinking of the greater good. We simply learned so much, right? I wonder how those poor souls felt being forced to give their lives, their comfort, their humility suffering for the sake of others. How many universities, governments, corporations dipped their hands into the pot of human experimentation, ‘for the greater good,’ before laws were formed to stop the overt practice on human life? Just research the topic and you’ll be surprised how common this was. The people experimented on didn’t have a choice in the matter. That’s an ugly truth that simply is.
It’s easy to rationalize and justify thinking that simply wouldn’t happen again, after all, didn’t those laws come into effect? In the 80’s. We’ve evolved from that kind of behavior, right? No. Tigers don’t change their striped, they simply camouflage themselves much better and push the idea of the greater good, dressing it up in a beautiful wrap and calling it something pretty. Critical thinking and open debate began slipping further and further away from the curriculum taught in schools and universities and group think began. A world wide social experiment with deep effects into the minds of the plugged in. The idea of a different viewpoint becoming an anger inducing division of minds and a black and white scenario with no room for individual thought and discussion. It is ‘the collective’ and the divergent.
Those who’ve become the sacrifice, awakening to the injustices that hide beneath the fabric of this collective thinking of the greater good and the finer details that are hidden even deeper within. It truly explains the immediate silencing and ostracizing of those outside the box. The unplugging from the collective.