Jonestown Massacre Case
Jonestown Massacre Case: Social Psychology
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Religion is considered to be among the strongest elemental factors that affect the overall being of the society. The capacity of humans to think matters through is what makes religions relatively affective especially when it comes to determining the most convening effects of how suspected reactions are pushed through especially through making a definite impact on how improved systems of determining social reactions is directed accordingly. In the case of the Jonestown massacre, the suicide of the masses specifically made a definite insistence on how mind-direction is used by a religious leader who has been noted for his power to affect the thinking pattern of his members, making it easier for him to insist on the people to react differently on the situation as would normal individuals would.
Through investigation, psychologists were able to find a relative foundation that connects the case with the most controversial points of psychology and how the theories that identify the foundations of human behavior actually affect the being and the thinking of each individual accordingly. Among the theories of developmental behavior looked upon in this case includes the ideas behind conformity. Conformity basically insists on the manner by which human individuals involve themselves in the point of subjecting to group pressure; for instance, the most basic point of development seen to have followed such pattern of psychological development insists on the manner by which young children are conformed follow the religious beliefs of their parents [at times following the same thinking even when they are already all grown up]. In the same manner, the group of individuals following Jim Jones were not all there for the belief [instead, some were just giving in to the pressure of family, friends and community neighborhood who have convinced them that this was the right religion to trust]. The radical points of beliefs and principles that the sect promoted even made the invitation more effective and believable for most of the followers.
Another concept of human behavioral development that is seen to have affected the thinking of the masses following the sect of Jones was that of the concept of obedience [in this case, blind obedience]. When people are pressured, it is rather normal for them to obey what they are being told, not only to survive but also to save face. In the case of Jones and his sect, the people were lead to believe that the principles followed by the unit or the organization is dependent on how the point of survival should be viewed and how the meaning of life ought to be understood accordingly.
On the part of involving the concept of cognitive dissonance into the picture as to how the massacre itself evolved, the emergence of mental stress and discomfort among members is what made it easier for the people of at least consider suicide as part of the worth of the promise they have made as members of the sect. Dissonance is basically one aspect of a person’s response to pressure, specifically avoiding the need to feel the pain through simply running away from the situation through extensive sense of determining what is defined as one of the most important points of realizing the difference between reality and mere belief (Barden, 1990).
Religion, as powerful as it is, can make or break individuals depending on how they let themselves be affected by the condition of development to which their religion dictates them to go through. Noticeably, it could be realized that somehow, the case of the Jonestown massacre suggests that when it comes to suggestive brain training, people would tend to follow the power of the voice of the stronger individual who could command them to take actions that may not be fully accounted as normal reactions (Brailey, 1998). In the case of the Jonestown massacre, the people who got involved in the sect cannot be said to be stupid, the truth is, they are smart enough to understand and think rather deeply, which made them the easy prey for the concepts being passed on by the religion to the society that it intends to affect. Reference
Barden, Renardo Barden (1990). Cults (Troubled Society series).Rourke Pub Group.
Brailey, Jeffrey (1998). The Ghosts of November: Memoirs of an Outsider Who Witnessed the Carnage at Jonestown, Guyana. San Antonio, TX: J & J Publishers.