Chapter 2: Influence

You know that old stereotype we have about the general American follower mentality? That we're all just sheep led by the herder called consumerism and society?

I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps we have this whole sheep mentality pegged wrong. Where does originality come from anyhow? Is anything ever of our own accord? Are we ever really thinking for ourselves? I don't think so. So much of who we are is about how the people around us have influenced us. Even when we think we've come to a decision on our own, odds are that idea had to have come from somewhere...

I definitely think that how we decide to process what we're given makes us individual...but I notice when I look around, we're almost all the same kind of people in any given society. Does liking yellow vs blue or chicken vs steak make us really all that different? Not really.

Does our political views make a real difference in our society? Not really? When was the last time your political views changed the face of how our government functions or what laws are passed or what wars we fight in or what countries we decide to aid?

I tend to judge people a lot on their religious and social views. But I guess if you really think about it, the issue probably isn't about how "mindless or ignorant" I feel their thinking is... What it really comes down..the only thing that really matters is how it effects how they treat other people around them.

Being influenced is okay. We all are influenced. The people around us help us define what we like and who we like. Co-workers define what products we like to buy, parents help define what we want to be, and friends can define what we like to do...etc

It's okay to be a product of influence...but how is that people can be okay being influenced to hate. But if it's a given that we're influenced by everything else, what stops us by being influenced badly? Nothing I guess.

I guess it's another proof that we're all just programmable biological bots. :)

1 comments:

francois said...

Interesting.

I like "So much of who we are is about how the people around us have influenced us" and "how we decide to process what we're given makes us individual".

Not sure about,
"It's okay to be a product of influence...but how is that people can be okay being influenced to hate."

I assume "hate" partially relates to the general negative talks and gossips you've noticed on your previous post.

I think most people are okay to be influenced this way *by design*.

I come back to our "social animal" background.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_animal

For the survival of the group it was more important to spread quickly awareness of potential threats and negative signals.

Haven't you noticed how different someone can behave with you when taken alone rather than in a group?

Obviously this tendency is harming us now especially if we are intelligent and taking things personally (as I often did, and still sometimes do, before seeing the social animal in them).

Most of the time there's nothing *really* personal, we need to think more at a *meta level* and see how we can build from this deprecated heritage.

My 2 Euros cents.

francois (sorry for my approximate English)