- “Collective illusions” is a situation where most people in a group go along with an opinion they don’t agree with, simply because they incorrectly believe that the majority also agrees with it.
- We’ve known about collective illusions for over 100 years, but our cultural and technological conditions have changed. Today, creating and sustaining these illusions is so easy that they proliferate at a speed we’ve never seen in history.
- From trust and conformity to aspiration, this new series, hosted by Todd Rose, explores and decodes the world’s greatest Collective Illusions.
Collective Illusions is brought to you by Stand Together: a community of changemakers tackling our biggest challenges.
TODD ROSE: In a perfect world, our public selves, the way I behave, the way I speak, the things I do, are the same as our private selves. At its best, public opinion holds a mirror to us and it reflects exactly who we are. What ‘collective illusions’ do to that relationship is turn it into a funhouse of mirrors, which is fatal to free society. It's not just that we're misreading a few people, it is that the majority thinks the majority believe something that they don't. We are all part of creating and sustaining the illusion.
We've known about collective illusions for over 100 years, but here's the thing— our cultural and technological conditions have changed to make creating and sustaining collective illusions so easy that they've just proliferated at a scale we've never seen before in history. We have found them almost everywhere we look— from the kind of lives we want to live, to the country we want to live in, to the way we want to treat each other and even what we expect out of our institutions. And our job is to dismantle them so that when we see ourselves in public opinion, we are seeing ourselves for who we really are.
If you create the enabling conditions that allow everyday people to reveal who they really are to each other, social change can happen at a scale and pace that would otherwise seem unimaginable. And here’s how we do that.