Thursday, October 25, 2012

You are all sheeple, until you choose not to be

XKCD: Sheeple
(Photo credit: Adam Crowe)
The term "sheeple" is defined as:
term of disparagement in which people are likened to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research. By doing so, they undermine their own individuality and may willingly give up their rights.

In scams, most victims are sheeple, who basically was told "shut up and fall in line", and they simply followed orders, instead of objecting.

Yet each of them thinks that they are better than mere sheeple.

Honest truth: you are *all* sheeple when some psychopath appear in front of you and "lead" you, and you all just fall into the herd and go along, even when you are asked to do "evil" things, simply because someone asked you to.

Stanley Milgram setup a psychological experiment back in 1961 to test how deep is our morals: will we cause hurt to other people just because we don't feel "responsible"? The experiment is simple. The subject, A, was given the role as "teacher". A was told that A is there to give "punishment" to the other test subject B (who's actually part of the experiment staff, an actor) who goes into a separate room. B is supposed to choose the right word association when given a word as prompt. If B got it wrong, A is supposed to push a button that administer an electric shock to B. (In reality, there is no shock.) B will react to the "shock" via microphone, and subsequent wrong answers will cause the voltage to be increased by 15 volts, and B will eventually bang on the wall, claim to have a heart condition, and go silent (all part of the act). The shock ends when 450V was "administered" 3 times, or subject A refuses to continue the test even when verbally "prod-ed" multiple times. The test is for A, to see how far he will go, when he was simply ORDERED to continue, and/or told he would NOT be held responsible.

Before the experiment, most people believed that virtually no one will go all the way, and most people would stop by 300 volts. The actual result was extremely surprising: 26 out of 40 people tested went all the way to "administer" 450V shock three times. They all acted as if they are in physical distress himself, like sweating, fingernail chewing, and so on, but they all pushed the button when verbally ordered to do so.

[ Read more about the Milgram experiment ]

In other words, you all can be asked to do evil things, as long as you are quite sure you will not be held responsible.

And the scammers know that.

This is NOT the only experiment that proved that the only thing that held people back from evil are the consequences. You may have heard of the "Stanford Prison Experiment", where 24 people were divided randomly into 'guards' and 'prisoners'. The guards started to psychologically abuse (and even some physical abuse) the prisoners that the experiment, originally planned to run for 2 weeks, was called off after 6 days.

The conclusion is simple: you can be lead to do some EVIL THINGS if you believe you are serving some higher ideology.

Scammers rely on this sheep behavior of the sheeple. They "teach" a couple of the sheeple, turn them into Judas' Goats, which let the goats recruit other sheeple into the scam. That's how ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes work.

Scammers associate their scam with some higher ideology such as THE AMERICAN DREAM, convince you that you are not responsible if anything bad happens, and convince you their way is a great shortcut. So that you hand over your money.

Take the Zeek Rewards Ponzi for example. Do you *really* think that people wouldn't notice the problem, that this is "too easy" to make so much money? That posting ONE ad on the Internet daily would allow one to earn 1.4% DAILY on any money put in? But they were told it's okay, it's legitimate, it's vetted by lawyers, consultants, and it's an "established" business and it pays people. And to sweep any misgivings, their vague feeling of uneasiness under the rug.  It's just "negativity".

And the sheeple did all that. They may even have convinced themselves that they are actually doing their friends and family a FAVOR by recruiting them. The implication is if there's anything wrong, it's with the company, and the company's fine (they themselves cannot be held responsible).

Think about it... when people demonstrated that they are willing to administer what they thought to be extremely painful and potentially fatal electric shocks (clearly evil) just by some verbal prodding ("You must continue.") what sort of evil are people going to commit if they actually think they are doing their "victims" favors by introducing them to a scam?

You are sheeple and easily lead, UNLESS you choose NOT to be lead, but examine whether those leading you are worthy of your devotion.

So stop being sheeple. Be skeptical instead.

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