Sunday, December 13, 2009

On Ridicule, Granfalloon and such

If we look at ridicule and what it is synonymous with — we also see aspects of derision, raillery, mockery, and sarcasm. Furthermore, individuals have become very sophisticated, practicing a palette of speech intended to belittle; through shades and hues of taunt, mock, certainly scorn but all delivered in what is generally accepted as “in good humor.” Having saId this, many of us, including myself have employed it. But the intention to use this device must be precise and meaningful, and not as a salve to feel socially better.

Those who remain in empathy with such individuals certainly identify and are conjoined intellectually if not a culturally. That person is a granfalloon, as seen in the fictional religion of Bokononism, in the novel Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. Essentially people who outwardly claim a sort of egalitarianism or share a pretend identity with others.
On Granfalloon Technique from Wikipedia
The granfalloon technique is a method of persuasion in which individuals are encouraged to identify with a particular granfalloon or social group. The pressure to identify with a group is meant as a method of securing the individual’s loyalty and commitment through adoption of the group's symbols, rituals, and beliefs. In social psychology the concept stems from research by the British social psychologist Henri Tajfel, whose findings have come to be known as the minimal group paradigm. In his research Tajfel found that strangers would form groups on the basis of completely inconsequential criteria. In one study Tajfel subjects were asked to watch a coin toss. They were then designated to a particular group based on whether the coin landed on heads or tails. The subjects placed in groups based on such meaningless associations between them have consistently been found to "act as if those sharing the meaningless labels were kin or close friends."

Researchers since Tajfel have made strides into unraveling the mystery behind this phenomenon. Today it is broken down into two basic psychological processes, one cognitive and one motivational. First, knowing that one is a part of this group is used to make sense of the world. When one associates with a particular group, those in the group focus on the similarities between the members. This is different from people not in the group. For "outsiders" differences are focused upon and often exaggerated. A problem with the granfalloon is that it often leads to in-group, out-group bias." Second, social groups provide a source of self-esteem and pride, a form of reverse Groucho Marxism as in his famous remark "I don't care to belong to any club that would have me as a member."

The imagined communities of Benedict Anderson form a similar concept. Devilly considers that granfalloons are one explanation for how pseudo-scientific topics are promoted.

Often interjections in forums appear to be in direct proportion (to our understanding) of the responder’s self-esteem, not their awareness. A lot of this may have to do with how an individual is differentiated. The act of differentiation varies across all societies: on account of memberships — civic, mental, professional, cultural, ritual, and the esoteric; which the individual is enjoined or conjoined in. Some persons have high language skills and yet fritter those away, being sucked in by their demons, yet others avoid reasonable engagement. Then there are those who see their talents worthy of dealing with issues other minds are agile enough to engage in. In any case they do not apologize, unless they see the possibility of encountering collateral embarrassment in their in-group.

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