Can Consensus Sometimes Be a Societal Sickness?

Sometimes it almost feels as if given geographical areas are somehow assigned consensual points of view, notions of reality that are collectively held, amongst people in that region, in some Jungian, almost telepathic way. As if –for example–liberalism is literally in the air in Berkeley and the direst conservatism literally in the air in parts of Texas. But more likely, we, as social creatures, absorb social cues, as we go about our community. Signs, declarations of various sorts, remarks at barbecues and parties, attitudes picked up in public schools–but each one contrived out of a multiplicity of little social impulses and messages, cues and semiotic indicators, adding up to a point of view, a perceptual slant which can be as much as fog, ultimately, as anything else. This conceptual consensus for a particular area began, at some point, in the murky past. Then it reproduced. A societal meme; a virus, even a sickness, of presupposition.

This doesn’t mean any one community’s point of view has no insight or truth to it–but it means that objectivity, amongst gregarious creatures, is rarefied and precious.

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