How to Recognize and Leave Behind Your Social Conditioning
By The Daily Bell Staff - February 11, 2018

Every decision humans make is colored by their past. Despite vast progress, we are still prey to the oldest tool of learning: social conditioning and the pressure of the group.

What was once a key to survival follows us into the modern age. It shapes our decisions, the careers we choose, and at times even forces us to act against our better judgment.

But we can break free and shape our own decisions. That is the gift of self-awareness. It begins with recognizing something most of us would rather discount; the effects of social conditioning.

Recognizing the prevalence of social conditioning within society and ourselves…

Real freedom from social conditioning begins with accepting and recognizing that we are influenced by social pressure.

A famous experiment into the effects of social pressure and conformity is the Asch experiment.

Solomon Asch, a social psychologist in the mid  20th century, set out to create an experiment that would test humanity’s propensity to conform to the group.

The experiment itself was carried out by selecting 50 individuals and subjecting them to a small vision test among a group of their peers.

All the participants had to do was simply look at two cards, one with a single line drawn on it and another with three lines drawn. Then participants chose which line on the second card was the same length as the single line on the first card.

The entire test was crafted to be as unambiguous as possible with an obviously correct answer in each experiment. All the participants had to do was say the obvious answer out loud after each of their peers had given their answer.

Unbeknownst to the participants, this was the true experiment. The group of “peers” taking the vision test alongside them were in on the experiment. Their mission was to unanimously give the wrong answer.

This caused the actual participants to face the choice of going against the group even when their judgment told them the group was obviously wrong.

And contrary to Asch’s own hypothesis, participants caved to pressure and gave the wrong answer along with the other members.

After all was said and done, Asch noted that nearly 75% of participants gave the unanimously wrong answer at least once each test. Nearly a third of participants always followed the lead of the group.

By the conclusion of the experiment, one thing was clear; individuals who otherwise believed themselves to be independent, when subjected to social pressure, acted against their own judgment.

This brought to light the human propensity for conformity when faced with opposition to our own beliefs and judgment.

Though nearly seventy years have elapsed since Dr. Asch’s test, we still see this effect within society and within ourselves.

We see it within individuals who wish to remain unnoticed, choosing to blend in with the crowd. Rather than follow their passions and risk becoming a unique individual, they select the path of others as to not stand out.

It’s present in the fear individuals feel when going against the mold and deciding on a life that may not fit the boundaries acceptable to society.

The large house, the respectable career, the large bank account, the vacation to Paris, the perfectly toned body.

How often do we truly desire these things, versus following the crowd?

Perhaps, right now, you’re thinking, ‘But I want one of those things and it isn’t due to any pressure, I simply just want it.’

Of course, that is often the case. Some things are popular for a reason. The trick is finding that area of your life where you go through the motions, but don’t really know why.

How can we be certain that the things that we want are truly what we desire and not the effects of conditioning?

Let’s look to another great mind of the 20th century.

Alan Watts and the study of the true self…

In the mid-twentieth century, a philosopher sought to bring the spirituality of Eastern philosophies together with the advancements from the Western world. Alan Watts began asking students in universities one simple question, “What do you desire?”

With that question, Watts sought to bring people a better understanding of themselves, one that was not based on what they should be but based upon on what they wanted to be.

Not long after Asch proved our predisposition to conformity, Watts offered individuals a way out.

It’s that question, “What do you desire?” that will be the starting point of discovering whether or not the things we aspire for and work for, are truly our decisions.

[By the way, our free report on crafting a Two Year Plan guides you through this process. It is a step by step approach to severing social chains and taking back the freedoms you’ve been missing. Find out more!]

So, let’s start there.

Pick an aspect of your life, say perhaps a career or goal you would like to attain. After finding it, begin asking yourself:

  • Why do I want this? Is this a passion that I cannot live without, something I need in my life?
  • How long have I wanted this? When did I first start gravitating towards this? Is this a new desire or years in the making? 
  • Is there a particular person that sparked this interest and passion? What was the cause of that spark? A shared interest or a new discovery with a friend or family member? An opportunity with a colleague?
  • What do I gain in achieving this? Happiness? Recognition? Love? Money? Is there anything at all to be gained or do I simply want to do for the sake of doing it?
  • Is this a means to an end or the goal itself?
  • If there was the possibility that this would fail, would I still want to try attaining it? How many failures am I willing to endure?
  • If no one were to know that I obtained this, would I still want it? 
  • What am I willing to give for this? Is it worth losing friends or leaving family? How many years can I give to pursuing it?

These questions can help you get a better understanding of your desires. But the path to understanding yourself and finding freedom does not begin with following someone else. Treat these questions as a jumping off point to start the process, or create your own litmus test. Consider the unique aspects of your situation and desires while applying it to your life.

Staying the course through pressure…

Understanding yourself also helps to push towards your true desires despite what society, friends, coworkers, and family think.

That is where the true challenge lies, following the beat of your own drum even when others around you cannot hear it. At first it may be easy. But when failure inevitably comes, will you continue through the pressure?

To prepare, ask yourself each morning “Am I ready to follow through with the path I have chosen?” and each night “Have I done all I can to make my path easier to follow? Has any outside force changed my vision for my life at any point today?”

It is only through constantly reorienting yourself that you can continue to pursue your unique path to true freedom without straying off course.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

When you subscribe to The Daily Bell, you also get a free guide:

How to Craft a Two Year Plan to Reclaim 3 Specific Freedoms.

This guide will show you exactly how to plan your next two years to build the free life of your dreams. It’s not as hard as you think…

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  • GH

    Good article DB! Some additional works related to this topic are (at least) two books from OSHO: “Living on Your Own Terms”, and “Enlightenment is Your Nature”. These books are excellent! There are dozens and dozens of books which all are transcripts of OSHO’s talks. Given they came from his talks, there are some redundancies from book to book, but all fit into the context of his main subject, and are also his answers to questions of participants.

    Please read one or many, if you are open, they will change your life.

  • Dimitri Ledkovsky

    Group think and group action aren’t without purpose. Their role in the survival of the individual is to raise the chances of survival. – This DB Staff article revives the individualism so carefully cultivated starting with the Enlightenment and getting capped off with the hopefully deceased New Age Movement. Separating individuals from their points of strength renders them more gullible and governable. Going it on a path by first disconnecting from one that is offered at birth by the milieu you are born into guarantees a troublesome journey. Is it The Hero’s Journey we’re talking about here? Or maybe we’re suggesting that a society of self-determined, “liberated” humans is the best material for the Matrix?

  • The only sure-fire way to leave behind your social conditioning and so much more, most importantly your sins, is by being born from above. Anything else is as futile as the figs leaves Adam and Eve attempted to use to cover their shame:

    “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

    “Therefore if any man be *in Christ,* he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are *in Christ Jesus,* who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

    Note the word “in” in the previous two passages. Thus, the paramount question becomes HOW do we get *into Christ* in order that we might become a new creation and that we might not be condemned?

    There are two New Testament passages that provide the answer and they both tell us the same thing:

    “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized [immersed] *into Jesus Christ* were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

    “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized *into Christ* have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)

    For more, listen to audio series “I Had a Dream: Judgment’s Coming: Are *You* Under the Blood?,” beginning at

  • akagaga

    While the herd mentality can certainly be an issue, simply discounting our past is not a very reasoned response. All of our experience can be teaching us, if we are willing to listen. If we, on the other hand, are determined to find our deepest desires and follow them to the exclusion of all else, completely ignoring our effect on those around us, we are nothing but rebellious children who refuse to grow up.

    • NobodysaysBOO

      or innovative explorers and inventors who are breaking new pathways in the jungle as the herd proceeds single file down the well worn trails.
      thank you Space X!

  • coyote

    Do you think this will help here:
    Judas-ism, the “religion” of jews, is, literally, a satanic mind-control cult.
    99% of jews march in lock step to satan’s zionist jew dictate.
    Any person (i.e., the jews) who takes the talmud as their holy book has been utterly brainwashed by PURE EVIL.

    WHY does he, the jew, make this choice, to be a jew, to be the enemy of all humanity?

    Jews CHOOSE to be the ENEMY of US, the non-jew.

    It’s EXPLICITLY stated over and over in their “holiest book,” the talmud.
    See talmud quotes here:

    WHY, WHY, WHY would ANYONE want to have ANY association with this so-called religion of jews, this filthy judas-ism, this in-your-face PURE EVIL? WHY? It’s a satanic mind-control cult.
    WHY jew? Why do you CHOOSE to be a Goddamn jew?!!!

    • NobodysaysBOO

      there are advantages for the leaders if the road to enlightenment is single file with me first.

      • coyote

        God, do I hate this site. There’s so much garbage, ads, cookies, etc. operating underneath the surface that my computer constantly locks up.
        Boo, I’m not following your logic here. “…the road to enlightenment….”? Sarcasm?

        • NobodysaysBOO

          sarcasm it is.
          sort of like when bush said “it would be easier if the USA was a DICTATORSHIP run by HIM, when indeed it already WAS. ps this site works ok for my really old computer Yahoo is the LOCK up QUEEN for me and being BANNED from is an HONOR!

    • snow27

      Ouch! Go ahead and believe silly crap all you want. Just don’t expect others to buy a word of it.

    • r2bzjudge

      “Judas-ism, the “religion” of jews, is, literally, a satanic mind-control cult.
      99% of jews march in lock step to satan’s zionist jew dictate.”

      Interesting fiction.

    • dauden

      Whoaaa! What is this, the religion of hate? Some Jew done you wrong? So what do you preach is the good news?

  • NobodysaysBOO

    if you say bs to the teacher she/he will beat you ?
    I knew a kid in jr.high that the gym teacher KILLED with a spat board.

  • Many good points made but many glossed over. Watts could likely be credited with helping western minds grasp eastern philosophies. His book on the taboo of knowing who you are was a life changing event for many people including myself, many years ago. Today there is far more information available, largely due to the internet. And yes I fully realize the internet is a double edged sword that is easily used to mind eff the populace. But there is still a tremendous amount of good information there . The real issue is realizing the illusions created deliberately that control us and only then can you avoid them ! This explains it in detail and the links below in great detail.

    Most people are in fact afraid to look inside and find their own truth and that is also a big part of why we see what we see today here in USA ?

    Also, realize many of the illusions that were created to control us are in fact breaking down and failing and that is a very good thing as many more people wake up from a long deep sleep of ig-norance !–.html