Moral Innovators perspectives on groups and conformity

With over 7 billion humans on earth today, it is very difficult to live in isolation. To thrive, we must learn to live in groups. Let us examine the evolution of these groups and how they impact us.

Our most basic natural group is our family, where we grew up listening to our parents and siblings. Our parents gave us life, and we could not survive without food and nurturing during our infant years. For most of us, we started by conforming to rules within our families before we were exposed to other social environments such as schools and workplaces. We also create our own rules by traveling and pursuing our evolving interests over time.

While we often do not control what happens around us, our lifetime pursuit of our interests such as wealth and happiness happen through our communities of colleagues, friends and acquaintances. These communities have their own group dynamics even as we contribute as individuals through physical, mental, and spiritual realms. We seek overlapping interests as we grow older and gain freedom and independence. Our communities provide support and reinforcement. Schools are precursors of workplaces where we develop communication skills in functional areas such as accounting, language, science, etc. as our values are recognized typically monetized as compensation on jobs.

Do not expect a smooth path of growth from infant to adult. There is never a perfect match of our interests in any groups because we are all unique. Therefore we create different communities that meet different elements of our interests. We must, by definition, conform to each community we join in order to gain acceptance. The transition from relying on groups defined by others (e.g. our family) to relying on groups we define ourselves often start in our teenage years. As part of this transition, we often find groups through peers to define our own communities which we also change as we grow older.

Each one of 7 billion humans have our own communities which, when aggregated, have basic common attributes. The largest such community today is the Christian community that believes in Jesus Christ among Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians. The second largest community today is the Islamic world that believes in Mohammad among Sunni and Shiite Muslims. The third and fourth largest communities are Indians and Chinese with their ways of life. Together, people who hold basic beliefs among Christians, Muslims, Indians and Chinese make up over 90% of humanity today, similar to Egyptians, Sumerians, Indians and Chinese 5,000 years ago.

These basic attributes are meaningful only if we continue to dig deeper into the various overlapping interests among these basic attributes. The growth of Islam, for example, had been driven by lower taxes and higher religious freedom for over 1,000 years, attracting followers who have been generally poor and/or dissatisfied with Christianity. The demand for crude oil is a by-product of the industrialized world in the last 150 years, and the peaceful transfer of wealth to the Muslims in the last 40 years financed the growth of both Muslim elites and the radical factions that we are fighting today.

To take these basic attributes into a theoretical construct, we use etheric body as our individual aura based on observable behaviors over time, and the astral body as our individual aura living in groups that can appreciate/recognize our etheric body in communities (or “out-of-body” experiences). With astral bodies, the recognition by others also reinforces the ego of the individual in the spiritual realm. The aggregate sum of etheric and astral bodies equate to an individual’s karma which sometimes lead to discussions about reincarnation when a person’s karma lives through multiple generations.

Moral innovators recognize both the practical and the theoretical approaches to the influences of groups over our lives. We take this knowledge, do the right things together and make our world a better world.