Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I Beat To My Own Drummer

"Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, & county commissioners." Edward Abbey

I've been fascinated by how movements and trends get started be it cultural, political, clothing styles and what not. I've been keenly aware since childhood about the pressure to conform to "society's standards" whatever those standards may be. While to a small degree there may be nothing wrong with this, if left unchecked, it can lead to persecutions, mass murder (including war), and collectivization. In a nutshell, society generally runs on the herd mentality. Herd mentality and herd behavior have been prevalent descriptions for human behavior since people began to form tribes, migrate in groups, and perform cooperative marketing and agricultural functions. Religion can also be used to soothe the masses by claiming that all of society united under a central ruler can answer all of life's questions. Religion is about doing what is acceptable of the society in which you are in. A relationship with God is an entirely different matter. "Created in the image of God, a human being is the crowning work of God's creation. Human personality is sacred and life's highest value. To deny freedom of conscience to any person is to debase God's creation."

The idea of a "group mind" or "mob behavior" was first put forward by 19th century French social psychologists Gabriel Tarde and Gustav Le Bon. As was the case thousands of years ago, there are leaders and there are followers. These days, "public opinion" is done through celebrity worship and mass media. All the while, the elites claim they can make all the common people's "problems" go away by just blindly trusting in what they say and do. It can be very difficult to separate yourself from the surrounding culture. Doing so surely will invite hangings on the cross, stone throwing, insults, to name a few ways the masses dictate conformity. But in the end, we are judge by our own individual actions. Don't let the masses dictate how the central character of you is developed.

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