Should you follow the crowd? #9

This post is going to make you rethink your perception of quite a few of your idiosyncrasy. Well one does need a fresh air to sense if where he/she is, is where he/she wants to be. Now, for some time now, the idea of following the crowd has become an anomaly. Even I thought that following the crowd is bad thing, something everyone frowns upon. But why do we follow a crowd? 

We humans strive to thrive and to thrive, first and foremost comes survival. Its common sense that the chances of survival of any being is better in a crowd than alone. Your house has a better chance of not being burglarized or mob thrashed if it looks mostly like all the other houses int he locality. Its not just survival either, man doesn’t live by bread alone, we like to socialize. If you look into some of the confessions and interviews of serial killers, murders, and people like that. There’s most of the time one thing that is common; loneliness. The tendency to socialize is suppressed, now I’m not a behavioral scientist, so I don’t know why loneliness and abandonment from a community creates such creatures. Walter Elliot once said, “The desert has its holiness in silence, the crowd has its holiness in conversation”. Though there’s one thing you need to know.  

When you don’t talk to others, the ideas you have are given no testing ground and one takes any thought as a gospel. We all know how dangerous that can be. Now where does all this fit into the idea of following the crowd? Its actually not necessarily about following the crowd but being in one. You express yourself in a proper manner, if you are wrong you accept and correct and you move forward, if you are right you spread the information. That’s where a crowd a.k.a community is really productive and important. When does this perk turn black? Now this is a bit difficult to figure out, because we tend to justify our behavior in varying ways. 

Because here I’m actually going to talk about the people who are influenced to follow a certain path in life; following a certain career, house is mandatory, two vehicles are required etc. I’m not going to go into the pattern a mob follows. Because here the problem is the norm that’s not made out of a dogma, but a paradigm built over years. 

If we look into the typical example of the career choice over decades. Changing people’s mind from getting their kids into the working force from a tender age, to spending hard earned money into an investment that has a return only after two decades or so. The shift was difficult, but the same was about having and saving the girl child. Unfortunately every paradigm takes its time to erode, a long time, that’s why we still see cases of female newborns being dumped into garbage bins every now and then. Why this terrible scar prolongs is because its difficult to change one’s beliefs, I’ve talked about it in previous blogs. Now obviously I’m not justifying the acts someone commits because they didn’t look into their beliefs. Some mass beliefs are dead wrong. But here in lies the clue of weather you should follow something everyone is doing or not. 

If we look into when parents used to send their kids to work in farms and stuff like that. It was the best thing to do actually, there weren’t schools in every village, people weren’t educated about the benefits of proper schooling, jobs were limited far more than now and one’s society looked down upon the school boy/girl because they aren’t helping their parents out, rather spending their money. Now after years of effort when parents finally realized the importance of good education and people started sending their kids to school. Careers like engineering and medical sciences was the way to go because the choices were limited, other fields of education weren’t that developed, there weren’t even good teachers that taught subjects that weren’t from engineering and sciences. Now we all know that has changed. The quotes you find all across the internet about not following the crowd doesn’t follow all the structures but it encourages you to think about the one you might be following and if it still is relevant. Adolf Hitler has a quote on the psyche of crowds that is worth thinking about. 

“The crowd will finally succeed in remembering only the simplest concepts repeated a thousand times.” – Adolf Hitler


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