In popular counter-cultural lingo there is a term for the mass of people who simply accept, with little or no skepticism, the information that is given to them. The word is “sheeple”. Authoritarian type folks are dependent upon people who fall in line under the banners of mass movements.
You probably know a few people who get led around by their noses. Likely they belong to or are heavily influenced by one of the current, faddish political activist organizations. They gave up rational thought in the public sphere long ago. This was probably preceded by succumbing to irrationality in their personal lives to a greater extent. You and I may smirk about how “those” people don’t have much of a clue. We might feel a sense of pity for the sheeple. The people who just go along to get along. The people who bought into the “system” just don’t seem to get it.
If we ponder our own beliefs for just a while, we might come across some way that we’ve surrendered to some sort of movement or organization simply by listening to emotion over reason. Maybe some particular commentators validate your own political opinions? Maybe some sort of religious organization or group dovetails with our personal beliefs? Maybe the person or group is just plain flashy, snarky and popular? The current anti- establishment, populist, quasi-libertarian fad is a good example of this. There’s some sort of angle that might hook you if you’re not mindful of the dangers of conformity.
Ancient Roman philosopher Epictetus was spot on when he recognized that people easily give up their better judgement when they decide to align themselves with some sort of power system or authority. He warned us to not surrender our minds. Let me quote what he meant by that statement. “If someone were to give your body away to just any old passerby, you would naturally be furious. Why then, do you feel no shame in giving your precious mind over to any person who might wish to influence you? Think twice before you give up your mind to someone who might secretly revile you, leaving you confused or upset.”
What frequently happens with mass appeal movements aimed at swaying public opinion is that the followers end up working against their own self interests. We have a vivid example of this sort of unfortunate occurance happening as a result of the current craze of anti-immigrant fervor.
At first glance, it appears that discouraging immigrant guest workers would be great for the U.S. economy. There’d be all sorts of job openings for the unemployed amongst us. What has happened in the state of Georgia is telling. The rhetoric against Mexican and other Latin nationals has influenced farm workers of those nationalities to abandon their adopted home state. There have been bumper yields of agricultural produce this year. As a result, there is nobody to harvest those crops as they rot in the fields and orchards. There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “You’d put out an eye to spite your face”. This saying applies in this instance.
Oftentimes people align themselves with pressure groups who aim to halt the progress of civil and human rights. There might be religious or political points of view that seem to validate anti- civil rights activism and legislation. The problem presents itself that fellow citizens will be harmed and suffer hardships because of discrimination. Again, the best interests of all the citizens of the country are being subverted.
The point of this bluejayblog post, today, is simply to remind ourselves to remain vigilant and mindful about our minds. The media, new and old, are ripe with enticing ideological points of view and the people who espouse them. They have seduced millions of folks who have surrendered their rational thought. They are today’s flock of sheeple.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes to fly the flightpath least flown.