Golden Tankard

Send In The Clowns

Joined: 05/10/2020 Posts: 1058
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Four Quadrants of Conformism - Would you have been for or against slavery?


Graham posits that people, by and large, can be put into two buckets personality-wise: aggressive and passive.

They also can be classified at independent-minded or conventional-minded.

There are more conventional people than there are independent-minded and more passive than aggressive.

Graham says people are pretty much the same as adults as they were as kids, because they're hard wired this way.

He notes they can be identified by their behavior in elementary school.

Also, Graham tells about the Princeton professor who asked his students "what their opinion on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition."

Of course all of them said they would have been fierce abolitionists and opponents of slavery at every turn.

But the truth is, most would have gone with the flow.

They would have acted as the great mass of white people in the South acted then. Graham then makes the point that

"the ones who are aggressively conventional-minded today would have been aggressively conventional-minded then too. In other words, that they'd not only not have fought against slavery, but that they'd have been among its staunchest defenders."

He goes on to say,

"aggressively conventional-minded people are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the trouble in the world, and that a lot of the customs we've evolved since the Enlightenment have been designed to protect the rest of us from them. In particular, the retirement of the concept of heresy and its replacement by the principle of freely debating all sorts of different ideas, even ones that are currently considered unacceptable, without any punishment for those who try them out to see if they work."

Read the linked article to see if you're a an independent thinker or conformist.

Link: Paul Graham


Posted: 10/20/2021 at 2:02PM



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