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In a perfect world, the relationship between private opinion and public opinion would be basically like a mirror. At its best, the public opinion holds a mirror to us, and it reflects exactly who we are. But because of collective illusions, that’s typically not the case.
Collective illusions lead individuals to make decisions that are contrary to their private values simply because a majority of people in a group believe the majority thinks something that they don’t. As a result, the entire group can end up doing something that almost nobody wants, which is fatal to a free society.
But if society creates a space where people feel comfortable expressing views they believe might deviate from the group, you’ll find out pretty quickly whether your impression of the group is correct or not. Even when we fundamentally end up disagreeing, a truthful disagreement is always better than a collective illusion.
Read the video transcript: https://bigthink.com/series/collective-illusions/generational-illusions/
Collective Illusions is a 9-part series brought to you by Stand Together: a community of changemakers tackling our biggest challenges
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Watch the entire Collective Illusions playlist ► https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF-0tjFMo6OLiaYA7Nm1L3YDbUC_Xtqmf
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About Todd Rose:
Todd Rose is the co-founder and president of Populace, a think tank committed to ensuring that all people have the opportunity to pursue fulfilling lives in a thriving society. Prior to Populace, he was a faculty member at Harvard University where he founded the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality and directed the Mind, Brain, and Education program. Todd is the best selling author of Collective Illusions, Dark Horse, and The End of Average. He lives in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Read more of our stories on illusions in society:
Are you superior to others? Or is it an illusion?
Penn Jillette: The year that shattered America’s illusions
Is free will an illusion?
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