Monday, January 13, 2014

Bad Argument: Lion Doesn't Lose Sleep Over Opinion of Sheep

Tywin Lannister armor
Tywin Lannister armor (Photo credit: paul.hadsall)
Sometimes, when confronted with detailed criticism and lacking a proper reply, a MLMer would resort to sloganism, such as

"Lion Doesn't Lose Sleep Over Opinion of Sheep"

Apparently it had been adopted by Vemma followers as a general psych defense against criticism, as a substitute for "I don't care what you think. Ha!"

But what does this quote *really* mean?

Origin of the Quote


It was recently uttered by Tywin Lannister in "Game of Thrones" in the following form:

"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinion of a sheep."

The origin of the expression seem to be lost in history. I've seen claims that it originated in Aesop's fables, in Homer's Illiad, and so on. What can be positively attributed was American author Vernon Howard (1912-1992), who wrote:
A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.
The quote is a little on the wordy side, and let's just say Vernon Howard's books leans a bit toward the, uh... esoteric... With such words like "Cosmic Power", "Mental Magic", "Mystic Path", and so on...

It seems Mr. Howard merely rephrased Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) who stated:
Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best. 
Screen cap of The Simpsons 3e07 "Marge be NOT Proud"
where Bart put a lampshade over his head and is beating on it
with his slipper so he can't hear Marge lecturing him.
Is that you, when faced with proper criticism?
Clearly, the intent of the quote is to explain that if you do something, you should not do it because other people approve of it, you should do it because YOU want to do it.

It is NOT about criticism. It is about approval.

Therefore any attempt to use the quote to deflect criticism, i.e. "I don't want to listen to your negativity", is wrong. It's be like Bart putting a lampshade on his head and beating on it with his slipper so he can't hear Marge lecturing him.

But let's explore a little deeper...


Self-Motivation Quote Subverted to Negativity Avoidance

We had explained earlier that the quote "lion doesn't lose sleep over opinion of sheep" was originally meant one does not need outside approval to do what's right.

Thus, any attempt to use the quote in other context, such as defense against criticism, is a fundamental MISunderstanding, and leads to a dangerous mental attitude. The quote was often uttered by Vemma followers as a defense against criticism. It was worth noting that Vemma was shut down by FTC in 2015 for operating a pyramid scheme, and is now negotiating for a restart after a revamp of its compensation plan.

The speaker who mis-applied the quote is trying to imply that he doesn't care that the critics think, as the critics are irrelevant. However, that can NOT be true, since the speaker is trying to deflect the criticism, so he obviously *does* care what the critics think.

This sort of "words don't match the reality" is strangely reminiscent of statements that are completely detached from reality, much like "Baghdad Bob", aka. "Comical Ali" claiming Saddam's army is "defeating" the Imperialist invaders in the Iraq War, and American soldiers are committing suicide in face of glorious fighting sons of Iraq, and other WTF was he talking about announcements issued daily by him during the war.


But also consider the following implication: does he considers everybody as sheeple, to be lead and preyed upon? Nice attitude toward your "customers", marketing guy.

Furthermore, is the speaker really a lion... Or merely a sheep brainwashed into believing s/he is a lion, but in reality, is a judas goat, leading the sheeple around for the real lions, who don't even have to hunt any more?



Conclusion

The solution is quite simple: Stop acting like sheeple.


Start thinking about what you actually say, and do they actually make sense, instead of assuming what you uttered was what you meant, when it may not be.

The quote is about you don't need APPROVAL to do what you think is best. Trying to claim that the quote means "don't care about criticism" is dangerous thinking.

Be a real lion, not a sheep brainwashed into a goat thinking its a lion.

(Revised 10/30/2015)

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34 comments:

  1. I agree, if one uses it to deflect criticism. The spirit of the quote itself, however, rings true, imo. While I don't view people as prey, a person's opinion loses value if his/her character proves faulty. Hunting needn't enter the equation.

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    1. There's nothing wrong with the quote itself, but in the context to which it was applied.

      In a way, this is the result of "reality distortion", which is often a result of cult manipulation.

      Delete
  2. Interesting take on the quote, but you, like many others, seem to provide vague and opened ended answers to the quote's contextual nature. Lions are predators, and yes they feed upon prey. If a lion was metaphorically stabbed by the opinionated toothpick of a critic, he would remove the toothpick promptly. In other words, he would dismiss it. He would simply get it out of the way, and that is precisely what the quote is about. Lions, or leaders, don't worry about the opinions of drones. For every one person that has the courage to speak their mind, there will be ten thousand that would remain docile.

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    1. The point is it's used out of context. The context that I said at the beginning is used by MLMers to deflect criticism, as in "who gives a f*** about your opinion". The fact that the quote is "generally true" is actually quite irrelevant.

      Delete
  3. This article makes no sense. If you view yourself as a lion (a leader) and walk the path of a leader, than you are a leader. No one else can tell you otherwise. If you are docile, than you are a sheep. Another quote comes to mind. "It is what it is." The strong obviously makes the weak uncomfortable. They all serve their place. At the end of the day, you are only a sheep if you allow the opinion of others (who want you to be weak and would like to keep you weak because it makes them comfortable) don't shape who you are. At least they shouldn't. So their opinions mean very little.

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    1. It makes no sense because you don't believe a sheeple can be brainwashed into thinking they are lion (even though they still can't hunt)... and you missed the point about it being used as deflection of criticism (used by people who are really sheeple but think of themselves as lions)

      True leaders accept criticism as they enable them to be BETTER. Leaders who deny any and all criticism because they are criticisms are simply egotistical idiots.

      Delete
  4. This is an extremely stupid post. With how poorly written this article is it amazes me anyone would pay attention to this imbeciles opinion. Just another meaningless rant from an attention wh*re.

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    1. Just another meaningless rant from some random "drive-by" troll who offered nothing useful other than vitriol. Guess we're even.

      Delete
  5. The alternative premise, being, that those who are not MLM'ers could use this quote more effectively... such as, the rest of the leaders in corporate America that often listens to the musings of automatons who follow every protocol and policy to the letter... obviously, that would be the preferable context to MLM...

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    1. Your strawman is so transparent, you lead off with "alternative premise". Tsk, tsk, tsk. if you use a fallacy, you should be less obvious about it.

      Delete
  6. I understand what you're getting at and how it's being used incorrectly, but rather than demean the phrase itself, one should seek to encourage its proper usage. You've successfully deconstructed it and made it into an allegory with a different premise--that people should stop being sheep--and that's ok, but there's nothing wrong with believing yourself to be a lion(although my preferred version is the wolf). This phrase, like any other phrase that encourages self-worth, is dangerous in the hands of anyone with narcissistic tendencies and stubborn personalities. By raising their self-worth, they're only affirming their own belief that they're much better than everyone else and, by default, so are their opinions.

    I, however, wouldn't dismiss the phrase or take it away from someone who's having problems breaking out of a shell or trying to go against odds stacked against them. It's messed up, from a bystander's point of view, but sometimes a delusion of grandeur is just what they need.

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    1. My conclusion is "be a real lion, not a sheep brainwashed into thinking it is a lion". Which should be quite clear that I did not dismiss the phrase but rather encourage people be seek the truth. Though I do agree I could have made that point better. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  7. I would like to point out two contradicting points you present. You encourage free thought while simultaneously trying to force "sheeple" not to use "Lion Doesn't Lose Sleep Over Opinion of Sheep" to deflect criticism. You want them to accept this and use it as you see fit. Doesn't this make you the lion? This then puts you into the premise of your own argument. How do I know that you are right? Maybe you are the disillusioned sheep. Then it gets very circular as now you have advocated branding those who disagree with you as disillusioned sheep. So now you can brand me as a Judas goat and I can turn around and call you a Judas goat. Now we are both sheep running around trying to convince people that we are right about an idiom. We are shouting about how the "sheeple" shouldn't trust anybody who is telling them anything different as they are just trying to delude the "sheeple".

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    1. Good point.

      But I'm not trying to sell you anything, other than actually know what's being a lion vs. a brainwashed sheep believing it's a lion.

      The MLMers who are trying to recruit people into their downline are the ones who insist there's no difference between the two.

      I never was in MLM, therefore I can't be disillusioned. Your conjecture is leaning quite close to the "sour grapes" argument.

      http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2012/06/bad-argumentsour-grapes-argument-and.html

      Delete
  8. This quote comes from the Iliad of Homer. And it directly reflects Achilles' hubris. The fact that you attribute it Game of Thrones is laughable. Read a book, dummy.

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    1. Thanks for the correction, but I never said it originated in GOT. I said it was most recently uttered in GOT.

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  9. Maybe they ARE a lion compared to you, and really DON'T care about your opinion?

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    1. I didn't write it for them. I wrote it for the sheeple who listen to them and wonder if their advice should be followed.

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  10. You have missed the point. To "not lose sleep" over the opinion of others is not to say that the opinion of others should be ignored. It is simply to not allow the opinion of others, particularly lesser people, to take your mind captive. This is possible only when you have mastered yourself.

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    1. It's the people who misinterpreted it in the FIRST PLACE that missed the point. I am trying to fix that interpretation. Guess I ain't doing that good of a job.

      Delete
    2. Overall I did not get the gist of your article, and the conclusion you made. Though you raise some interesting questions.
      The key implication here is that "sheep" are ignorant people. It is not to say that all critics and doubters are considered sheep (sheeple). Critics and doubters may be wiser than oneself and therefore it would be wise to heed their doubts and criticisms, in the same way as it would be wise to ignore those of ignorant people (sheeple).
      Try again, I'd certainly be interested in reading :)

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    3. The gist is supposed to be "don't be swayed by sloganeering". :D

      Delete
  11. I suspect that you have all missed the point. Deciding who are the lions, the sheep, and the sheeple and whether the "quote" (a VERY loose translation of "There are no compacts between lions and men, and wolves and sheep have no concord." from The Iliad) is about criticism or approval ignores a 1st century "sheep". Upon seeing Jesus before his baptism John the Baptist declared "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John1:29) and seeing Jesus the following day he declared again "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:36). Not only do many of us identify ourselves as the sheep of a particular flock but we revere the wisdom and the spiritual legacy of a mere lamb.Perhaps a more accurate rendition would be that the Lamb of God does not concern himself with the machinations of the lion.

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    1. While I appreciate the historical reference, the point is some MLMers cited quotations out of context for their own (mistaken) purposes.

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  12. The spirit of this quote is meant to give hope. There are people in this world who give out unnecessary and unwarranted criticism. Those who are succumbed to this criticism are themselves weak. The lion is strong in mind and in body uplifting all who are themselves at peace.

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    1. So you agree that the quote was inappropriately used by people selling false hope, which was my point all along. Thanks for agreeing.

      Delete
  13. Interesting article, I'm not sure I agree completely, but I appreciate you for taking the time to clarify the context of the quote.

    I was contracted to build out Vemma's website buy two of the top Knuckleheads in this MLM. Once I had finished the website it went live, and they refused to pay me the balance of 80% of what was owed to me, so I pulled it down while receiving many threats from them. They went as far as to clone the website I had built and have someone else use my elements to complete the website without ever compensating me. I was so delighted to see that they had went belly-up, the two gentlemen that refused to pay me had to file bankruptcy as I understand. Karma is a b****.

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    1. You could have hit them with a DMCA takedown notice too. :)

      Delete
  14. If you believe you are a lion, you can be a lion. You determine your own image. This quote should not be deemed unusable in certain context because nobody knows the power of the speaker. This quote is simply stating a fact that leaders do as they please. It does not need to be debated whether or not the person using the quote is a falsified sheep. Fact- True lions and not affected by true sheep.

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    1. Quotes like this are used for "inspiration" and to "deny criticism", which was stated in the very first sentence of this blogpost. By denying it's NOT unusable in a certain context" is simply nonsensical. Real leaders listen to criticism and try to learn from it. Whether they change in reaction to the criticism is optional.

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  15. "a lion doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep" Is by great Imam called Imam Shaafi. All the above is absolutely hilarious but yeah I saw it on Games of Throne aswell and I thought yep now everyone will use the quote copyright guys lol peace

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    1. So it's an Islamic saying? Got any citings?

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  16. Lovely article, I shake my head at these comments that amuse me so. Your argument and viewpoint was clear as crystal. Just many goats on here butting heads, haha.

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