When we talk about socialization, we refer to the act of interacting with others and engaging in social activities; activities that involve the companionship of others. It's healthy for the mind and the development of young children. When done properly, we create a future of "normal", healthy, law abiding citizens. But when it is overdone, it is said that this person is oversocialized. So what does it mean to say that someone is oversocialized?
Ted Kaczynski describes the term "Oversocialization" in his manifesto as the following,
The moral code of our society is so demanding that no one can think, feel and act in a completely moral way. For example, we are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, whether he admits it to himself or not. Some people are so highly socialized that the attempt to think, feel and act morally imposes a severe burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, they continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term “oversocialized” to describe such people.
It is scary how many people fit this description. I believe that oversocialization is one of the primary causes of mental illnesses. The reason why is because this cannot be treated or diagnosed, especially from the perspective of an outsider. When someone is being physically abused, he/she leaves a clue; scars, bruises, black eye, bandages. At that point, anyone call tell there is trouble at home and can do something about it. But what about emotional and psychological abuse? This is much more difficult to see and sometimes the truth doesn't come out until many years later.
The "normal" socialized person combats adversity differently than the oversocialized person. The NS handles adversity by saying to themselves things like
"Why did I do that?"
"My actions were unacceptable"
"I should have done better"
The NS accepts that he/she is wrong and is ashamed of her actions. He/she doesn't let this event define them as a person. They move on with valuable lessons learned.
The OS on the other hand, deals with this situation by telling themselves things like the following:
"I hate myself for doing that"
"This happened because I am not worthy"
"I must be a bad person"
"I am ashamed of myself"
The OS turns these events into a personal matter, where one minor deviation from societal norms become a huge blemish on their character. Now adversity can happen countless times throughout someone's life. Can you see how this kind of situations can develop into depression, extreme anxiety, low self esteem, and other serious mental issues? This is a vicious cycle that end up killing our minds and soul. Ted presents a similar sediment when he says,
Oversocialization can lead to low self-esteem, a sense of powerlessness, defeatism, guilt, etc. One of the most important means by which our society socializes children is by making them feel ashamed of behavior or speech that is contrary to society’s expectations. If this is overdone, or if a particular child is especially susceptible to such feelings, he ends by feeling ashamed of HIMSELF. Moreover the thought and the behavior of the oversocialized person are more restricted by society’s expectations than are those of the lightly socialized person.
In my opinion, this kind of brainwashing is criminal and is being done for selfish reasons. It makes people easier to control and manipulate. After all, there is nothing more dangerous than a free man. This is the last thing that today's society want.
So who is to blame for this terrible crime inflicted on millions of young children around the world?
Usually the main culprits are the parents. They are primary caretakers during the early years of a child's development. But there are others suspects as well. Teachers, peers, social media are also major contributors to oversocialization. One example of oversocialization in effect is when children are brainwashed into believing that academic success is the hallmark of all achievements. Like in South Korea
So when young kids in South Korea do not meet the benchmark for success, they are ashamed of themselves, instead of simply being ashamed of their performance. The academic career is being tied to their self esteem. So academic failure to them turn into low levels of life satisfaction. The result is one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
And how about this recent anti male video by Gillette?
Play this message enough times, and soon young boys will start feeling ashamed of themselves for being male. They will be disgusted with themselves for being sexually attracted to women or displaying feats of strength. Their innate nature will be in constant conflict with societal expectations and with enough social programming, the latter will win. The males will then feel powerless against this type of propaganda resulting in low self esteem and depression.
Going back to the scene where the male was expressing his sexual attraction towards a woman, how would the OS male act in that scenario? Aside from deterring other men from staring in her direction, he would constantly try to deceive himself or find some moral reasons for his actions; he probably follow her into a bar, open the door and buy her a drink. Or maybe do some menial labor for her and listen to her emotional problems. He may never show his true intentions because of his internalized shame for wanting sex. He will do anything to fool himself into thinking that he is simply being a nice person and isn't sexually attracted to her. The future for this OS male will be nothing but anger and frustration. This is a perfect example of oversocialization.
We are all oversocialized to some degree. But let's not pretend that this is a good thing because it isn't. This is psychological abuse; a crime that will rarely if ever be detected. If people can be prosecuted for bullying, then oversocialization should be criminal as well but that's just my opinion.
Nonetheless, children and young adults need to be raised as individuals and not cogs of a corrupt society where all the riches belong to the privileged few.
Thanks for reading!