The self-fulfilling prophecy

This post is about you. That's right, it's about you, in specific. Not just everyone, but you. This post is about self-fulfilling prophecies.

There is a basic psychological given that you, in general as well as specifically, want to live up to your own standard. Not "what other people thing your standard is", but your own standard. However, in an ironic twist of your brain, you also care about having a feeling that your standard is justified, either by not caring about others, or by having it conform to what others think is a standard too. Not living up to your own standard makes you experience negative effects, living up to your standard keeps you muddling on in moderate positivity, and exceeding your standard makes you feel good about yourself.

There is no default direction for these "not living up to" and "exceeding" concepts. If you do much more than you would usually do but your standard is one of efficient minimalism, then doing more would be not living up to your standard, and similarly if you take only half an hour for a 3 hour job when you are an administrative clerk who hates his job then doing less is definitely not exceeding your standard.

It depends on you, specifically.

But we can change you. Yes, we can. We can pressure you that way, we have that power. This is the whole reason societies work, we have been changing you for millennia to adjust your standard to match ours. To have you live up to our standards. Even more precise, to have you live up to your standards, which you copied from us.

This is not a bad thing actually, it creates a massive collection of people just like you, who are not you, but who share your sympathies (even though really you share ours, not the other way around). This is where self-fulfilling prophecies are best observed.

Self-fulfilling prophecies are merely hypotheses that end up being true because we think they will be. There are legion examples: attractive people are well-dressed and socially capable, because we expect them to be and thus treat them accordingly, stimulating them to become what we want them to be. We think in terms of stereotypes, and by acting in accordance to these, we enforce them in others. Our prophecy on how a person should behave and what their standard should be, will invariably come true.

We're horrible that way, but we're not going to apologise to you about this, deal with it.

- If we expect you to smile a lot, so that you will smile without being happy, after a while you will start smiling because you just like smiling
- If we expect you to dress snappy, even if you don't like being a snappy dresser, after a while you will start doing it on your own accord
- If we expect you to be sociable, even if you hate other people, after a while you will start to socialise because you like the situation this creates.
- If we expect you to get out of our face, even though you have to work with us daily, after a while you will because you feel it's better that way.
- If we expect you to die, even if you have no reason to, after a while you might kill yourself.

I'll say it again, we're horrible that way, but you have to deal with it. You have to change before we can. We 're pretty sad that way.

Self-fulfilling prophecies are a psychological gimmick that can be used for good and bad, they form but restrict societies, and classify but tie down social classes. They allow use to adopt a higher standard, but will relentless repress those who will not adapt. They are the boon of society.

There are of course people who live without prejudice and expectation. If you ever meet someone like that, give them a big hug. They are the only people who will not try to change you. They are not part of our group, they are part of your group, and we will try to change them too.

If this is unsettling news to you, then really there's a very simple course of action. Don't try to change us (that would be impossible), just see the prophecies and decide for yourself whether to buy into them.

You do that, and I'll give you a big hug when I meet you.


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