Daily Prompt: Groupthink

Today’s daily prompt is called Groupthink and it asks:

Write a post that includes dialogue between two people — other than you. (For more of a challenge, try three or more people.)

“Right then chaps the daily prompt says that we must write a dialogue today” said I, my voice doing little to hide my contempt for such a silly prompt.

“A dialogue on what?” Steve asked sound rather bored and unmotivated by the idea.

“I dunno” I replied “it doesn’t say.”

“Well what’s the prompt called?” John asked trying to sound interested.

“Er let me look” I replied looking back at my screen. “It is called groupthink”

“Groupthink? That sounds like something out of 1984” John said with an expression on his face that showed just how much he struggled with thinking.

“I believe you’re thinking of newspeak John” Steve said taking a little bit of interest at the mention of 1984.

“Yeah the whole good, ungood, gooder stuff to simplify the language” I added.

“Yes” said John somewhat enthusiastically “but it was all to control how people think and talk and interact so surely that would make it groupthink.”

“Yes but newspeak is not groupthink. Look I’ll pull up the definition of groupthink on the internet and show you” Steve said turning to his laptop where he started typing away. “OK so wikipedia defines groupthink as ‘a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.'”

“Ah ha” said John jumping up “and the whole point of newspeak, with it’s removal of words and simplifying of language is to remove critical evaluation and alternative viewpoints. Go on look up newspeak and see what it says about that.”

“Yeah what does it say about newspeak” I added.

“OK newspeak” Steve said tapping on his laptop some more. “OK there are two parts here. The first says that ‘the aim of Newspeak is to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple concepts (pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, goodthink and crimethink) that reinforce the total dominance of the State.'”

“And the second” asked John bouncing up and down with excitement.

“The second part says that ‘according to Orwell, “the purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meaning whatever.’ And this whole theory or idea that language somehow influences our views is called linguistic relativity.”

“See, groupthink and newspeak are the same thing” John said proudly.

“Well no. They’re not” I said as nicely as I could so as not to hurt John’s feelings. “But newspeak would most likely lead to groupthink because it makes the language incapable of being used for critical evaluation or alternative viewpoints.”

“Yeah and it was because of a desire for groupthink that Big Brother goes about inventing and implementing newspeak” Steve added.

“Well see” said John trying to regain his confidence “I knew there was a connection between the two things.”

“That’s true” Steve and I said together.

“They are both evil” continued John.

“Not quite” Steve began.

“Let’s not” I said interrupting him. “This is the most I’ve ever seen John think about something that wasn’t related to sex, let’s let him have his moment.”

The end.

I have no idea where all that came from but I hoped you all enjoyed.



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