Today I read the required articles for the Walking Dead course that I’m taking. This isn’t a course just about the show; it’s more like looking at a global disaster in terms of social, governmental, health, and ecological changes. They use the show as a backdrop and as examples, but it’s actually some pretty fascinating stuff. It’s also one reason I love the show so much, because it makes me think about how drastic the changes would be, in all aspects.
Anyway, this week's topic is about social identity, which is defined as a person’s sense of who they are based on their group membership(s). I found a couple of quotes from the articles really interesting:
“It is, however, important to recognize that sometimes we perceive ourselves primarily in terms of our relevant group memberships rather than as differentiated, unique individuals.”
“Self-stereotyping is a cognitive shift from perceiving oneself as unique and differentiated to perceiving oneself in terms of the attributes that characterize the group.”This is really making me think. Ow! Haha! But seriously, this dovetails nicely with my recent entry about my paradigm shift. I wrote that when we categorize others, it’s way too easy to demonize them. It leads inevitably to an Us vs Them mentality. Is it possible to do that with ourselves? I think it is!
In the course of my life, I’ve found myself having a hard time being a part of any sort of insular group, or identifying with one particular group very strongly. I’ve never been a “joiner.” There have been times that I tried, but I always end up resenting the commitment. This is not the same as resenting the people involved with the group; I’ve made some long-term friends through some of these associations, and I continue to value those friendships.
I think it always bothered me to be lumped into a group, or to feel obligated to a group. I’m not deluded enough to think that I’m some sort of a rare flower; I have too many like-minded friends to think that I’m something special. But I’ve always had a certain sense of individuality, and a tendency to not want to “conform,” whatever that means. There have been many times when I haven’t quite fit in with others. I’ve always been driven to be at least a little bit beyond the norm. I wouldn’t call myself a rebel, Dottie, because I’ve led a very traditional life of Birth, School, Work, Death (not the last one for me...not yet!), but I think it’s fair to say that I’ve always been a little different. I’m cool with that. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way!
I wonder how that would play in a disaster, though? Would I still be that way when the number of people has dwindled so much that you have to depend on others for survival? Going back to the show, although Michonne spent a lot of time on her own, she has willingly joined the group. Several characters, including Daryl, have mentioned that it’s impossible to survive alone. Would I be able to set my loner attitude aside and become a fully integrated member of a group? I’d like to think so.
That was good food for thought today. Then my brain started to hurt, so I stopped. Heh.