Friday, January 25, 2013

Are Your Thought Really Your Own?

Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986
Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With upcoming Superbowl, there will be people cheering, caught up in the mood, all over the country, even people who don't ordinarily love American football.

There is a term for this... "herd behavior"

Sounds dumb, but it's absolutely real, and a herd can be good... or evil. 

A "good herd" is when people united for a cause for good, like disaster relief, fund raising for ethical causes, and so on. 

A "bad herd" is basically a mob, and a mob, almost anonymous mass of people, will do things like arson, looting, assault, rape, and activities that the individuals would not dare do on their own. 

The point is people in a herd are merely following. They don't always agree 100% with the cause, but they are willing to be caught up in the moment. 

And recruiters / scammers know exactly how to exploit this herd behavior by organizing meetings and events to make you feel like a part of a group and let the "groupthink" override your own thinking. 

At the sales meeting, they want enthusiastic people who don't think much. They will sprout quotes from "The Secret", "Laws of Attraction", and various other cliches about "just do it". The presenter will say great things, and people will cheer. 

And if you don't have good self-control, you'll 'go with the flow', be caught up with all the groundswell of enthusiasm, and end up signing a contract to buy hundreds of dollars of stuff without fully understanding the situation, risks, rewards, and all that. 

And if you have questions to ask, you are not welcome. You're thinking too much. You are paralyzed with indecision. We don't want people who are hesitant, not go-getters, blah blah blah. 

You are being bullied. Subtly, yes, but bullied nonetheless, into "social conformity". You don't want to spoil the mood. 

That can be very bad for you. 

Don't be a part of the herd just because you can. 

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