Friday, July 21, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Jarod Jeglum

Oversocialization Found in the Fountainhead

Jeglum, Jarod
Grade: 12
School: Divide County High School, Crosby ND Educator: Richard Norton
AWARD: Honorable Mention

The word “oversocialization”, although not invented by Theodore John "Ted" Kaczynski, first gained major notoriety from his manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future or what is simply known as the Unabomber Manifesto. It is used to describe people who believe, in Ted Kaczynski’s words within his manifesto:
     We are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, 
     whether he admits it to himself or not. Some people are so highly socialized that the attempt to 
     think, feel and act morally imposes a severe burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, 
     they continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations 
     for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term “oversocialized” 
     to describe such people.

Although Theodore Kaczynski is a psychopath with a flawed view of reality, the man does have a wealthy amount of education on the subject of the human condition to prove that he does indeed know what he is talking about, and to deny him the ability to spread his radical and controversial views or ignore them entirely is a great atrocity for this nation’s guarantee of freedom of speech and the sociological community’s development as a whole.

In my own words I would describe “oversocialized” as follows: when one believes that they are at fault for someone else’s problems or situations and believes that to make up for it they have to work
to better the lives of someone else in a similar group and trick themselves into believing they do not hate anyone in a different ethnic, social, economic, or gender group. People believe they should not hurt other people’s feelings or dislike anyone because we have conditioned society to believe that there are only two groups of people in the world, oppressors and the oppressed.

Personally, I do not want to say that I am “oversocialized” as it has a negative connotation with society’s following in Satan’s footsteps falling from grace into the deepest pits of the Earth, but if I were to compare myself to this definition and much like Ellsworth Toohey, I am defiantly on the stronger end of the oversocialized spectrum, but not to the point where I believe in harnessing its power to destroy the individual and take control over the entire human race like Toohey.

Toohey sees collectivism as a tool to bring the masses to their knees and control the populous. Which, as he states, is used throughout history and the world to control entire groups of people. He states, “Look at Europe, you fool. Can’t you see past the guff andrecognize the essence? One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual held as evil, the mass – as God. No motive and no virtue permitted – except that of service to the proletariat.” (Rand 639) In this quote he is explaining how Russia is controlling its people through collectivism and the communist idea and Ayn Rand is indirectly trying to state that Russia is a corrupt evil nation using collectivism to brainwash a population, as it is widely known that she has great distaste for the Bolshevik’s October Revolution which employed Russia’s new government after 1917 which she fled. It is a very powerful statement that something as simple and “morally noble” like collectivism, helping one another to better society as a whole can be twisted and manipulated into something nefarious and detrimental to humanity’s well- being. It plays with my mind as being someone who supports collectivism, to an extent I must add at this point, that someone can use collectivism to ruin the lives of others for their own selfish gains. I never even realized how often this happens until I read Toohey’s speech; almost every dictatorship is built up this way, by convincing the populous that they must work together to succeed, for example, the Nazis, the fascist regimes of Italy and Spain, or the Communist governments of Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

Another concept that I found interesting and is in direct correlation with oversocialiation is that he uses the notion of god or an afterlife as a prize for collectivists and those who are oversocialized to work on being “moral” and working to better other people instead of themselves. As Toohey stated:
     Of course, you must dress them up. You must tell people they’ll achieve a superior kind of 
     happiness by giving up everything that makes them happy. You don't have to be too clear about it. 
     Use big vague words. ‘Universal Harmony’ – ‘Eternal Spirit’ – ‘Divine Purpose’ – ‘Nirvana’ - 
     ‘Paradise’ – ‘Racial Supremacy’ – ‘the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.’ Internal corruption, Peter. 
     That’s the oldest one of all. The farce has been going on for centuries and men still fall for it 
     (Rand 636).

This is also a very blatant reference to both Toohey and Rand’s atheistic views toward religious systems, such as Christianity, along with how it can easily be used to oversocialize people and how widespread of an “issue” oversocialization is in society. Especially Rand’s, as she had a great disbelief in religion as she states when talking about her objectivist views on reality and life, which make God or a higher deities of other religious systems, such as Buddha with Buddhism or Yahweh of Judaism, to be nothing but a figment of man’s own imagination which he developed to cope with the universe’s harsh reality, making them blind to their own human instincts. 
The last point that stuck out to me and what I felt was the most powerful was one of the beginning lines of the speech:
     There are many ways. Here’s one. Make man feel small. Make him feel guilty. Kill his aspiration       and his integrity. That’s difficult. The worst among you gropes for an idol in his own twisted way.       Kill integrity by internal corruption. Use it against himself. Direct it towards a goal destructive of       all integrity. Preach selflessness. Tell man that altruism is the ideal. Not a single one has ever    
    reached it and not a single one ever will. His every living instinct screams against it. (Rand 635)

This is seen all the time in modern society; we are made to feel guilty toward anyone who is not us. We are taught by our school systems and families to be nice to others because we do not know their stories, because no one can change and we need to deal with it. For example, calling a drug addict a “jerk” because he pushed you on the street, we are conditioned to feel bad because “we do not know where he is coming from” when in actuality no matter the circumstance no one should be rude for any reason and we should not accept that. Public School Systems are one of the largest culprits of expressing this idea. One example of this is the Golden Rule we are taught in classrooms, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” However, this neglects the fact that some people will not treat you kindly back, even when you do so. We are also taught not to ridicule others due to race or sexuality; it is human nature to have resentment towards someone, but it may not be due to these factors. If they are a rude person we will act unkindly towards them but we are conditioned to be told that we hate them because of race or something along those lines which they cannot control and thus we feel guilty.

With everything described above and throughout the pages of this analysis, I feel that many have come to grapple with looking for the word to use when talking about the things I have stated, but someone else did and the world should not be deprived of such a word. The word, “Oversocialization.” They must know that we live in a society of oversocialization.

Works Cited

Kaczynski, Theodore John. "Oversocialization." Industrial Society and Its Future. Livermore, CA: WingSpan, 2009. N. pag. Print.
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. New York: Plume, 2005. Print.