Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.

Attributed to Mark Twain.


b said…
Did my post(s) inspire this quote? :)
True, but it wouldn't hurt to do a lot of this before you even vote or choose or whatever!
Richard said…
breal: I doubt it, Mark Twain has been dead for a while.

cavalock: we should always be doing, especially when we are in danger of having fallen into the trap of complacency.

MOI: agreed, but people, being what they are, tend to be lazy and prefer to do minimal thinking, instead preferring to ensure they are more or less like everyone else.
I don't really want to ensure I'm like everyone else. I think it is better if you take pride in thinking a little outside the box so you can see all the angles of something. Then, if you decide to think the same as most, you at least have put your own thought into making that decision and didn't just follow like sheep.
I know you are like that, Richard! You stick to your own thoughts and are not swayed in the least by the crowd...and your thoughts are well researched. I admire all that.
Richard said…
MOI: It is an interesting issue. People like to believe they make decisions independently, however, the evidence shows that people tend to make similar choices (there is a proper term for this, but for the life of me, I can't remember it at the moment is two words, the first word is social) - which is why you end up with a majority. There is nothing wrong with a majority, so long as it is right. However, people have a tendency to go with the majority because of the perceived authority of majority - which it may or may not have.

Of course, there is also the case of people who seemingly reject the mainstream and choose an alternative stream (say punk). However, from the way I see the picture, while they are associating with a different social class of people who do not reflect the majority, they are still adapting to the majority view within that class. This goes for any social organization or clustering - people have a tendency to congregate with like people. Again, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this.

This then brings me to the question of free will and whether or not we have any. Do I behave the way I do because I have no more choice in the matter than someone who conforms? I.e., am I just wired differently?

True majorities are rare things, people continually refine into narrower and narrower groups, based on finer distinctions (this is one reason I don't believe school uniforms work, to an outsider there is uniformity, but to an insider, there are distinctions). I think the following is illustrative:

A man was walking across a bridge one day, and saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump. He ran over and said: "Stop. Don't do it."

"Why shouldn't I?" he asked.

"Well, there's so much to live for!"

"Like what?"

"Are you religious?"


"Me too. Are you Christian or Buddhist?"


"Me too. Are you Catholic or Protestant?"


"Me too. Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"


"Wow. Me too. Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

"Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

"Reformed Baptist Church of God."

"Me too. Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"

He said: "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915."

"Jump you heretic."

(and, yeah, as usual, I am pulling together disparate topics because I think they are really all related)
b said…
haha. i realize the error of my syntax in my initial comment. and your response was great! :)
Richard said…
breal: I understood your question, but the obvious non-sequitur was more fun.

To kep my blog from being inactive, I decided to post a quote. It was not directly inspired by your posts, but it may have been influenced.

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