Sheople! Feel no shame, you are not alone.

25 02 2009

new_sheeple_dees1Sheople = Sheep + people

As in people who just follow the crowd with little or no thought.  Just like sheep, the just follow the masses bleating like sheep.  Well as much as all of us like to think we are far more intelligent  than that, we are free thinking intelligent individuals..  we most certainly DO NOT follow the masses and just do what others do.  Taking all our cues from the other sheep surrounding us with out a thought or a care in the world.

Influence: Social Proof

There are a million instances of the power of social proof in daily life. And it goes much deeper and is significantly more wide spread than you might imagine.  We are all sheople.  End of story.

Ok not really the end of the story.  The thing is, it’s really true.  We all work on auto pilot in order to survive, we have to.  We are exposed to more information and decisions (according to my new favourite book) than the average person did in their whole life way back when (mmmm maybe 2-300 years ago?).  As a result, we are incapable of actually analyzing and really deciding everything.  So what do we do?  How do we navigate through the mess and save our real mental gymnastics for the stuff that counts?

Apparently, we do it by being sheople.  We look to others around us in order to make quick decisions that are ‘acceptable’ to the group.  If we stay with the pack we get the protection and safety net of group.

So do you follow the pack?  Even if you think you don’t, you do.  Even if you do take the time, to analyze and decide what you’re doing you still base your decision, at least in part, on what those around you are doing.

This all went dancing through my head the other day, on my way to work.  I was at a light that is generally really annoying, it’s a two road intersection but it’s a three way light, south then north, then east and west at the same time.  Now this light will drive you batty waiting for it to change if you’re going east or west.

Going West, if you skitch across the north bound lane before it turns green you and skips loads of time and cross the south bound lane when it is red.   Perfectly logical.. and mildly ( ok wildly) illegal so one shouldn’t do it.  What do I do when I  succumb to the temptation, is wait ’till just before the light changes then skittle across and cross the other lane right away.   My logic being that the longer that I sit under the bridge waiting (illegally) to cross the other lane, the greater my chances of a cop coming by catching me and giving me a ticket.  So I wait, if I go at all.

The other day, I was waiting to be bad, and a few brazen souls just zipped across.  I watched as one by one they all caved faster and faster as more of them went ‘over to the dark side’.  I was marveling at how frequently you can see examples of  people’s need for ‘social proof’ and even more fun, how you can exploit it to manipulate them.  I deliberately goaded a couple more people to go when I went.  Now I want to run around the city doing silly things and experimenting with people around me to see how easy or difficult it is to make them ‘follow the leader’.

Ok I’ve rambled on enough for now 🙂

Time for bed.

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8 responses

25 02 2009
Dave

Never follow always go your own route in life!

25 02 2009
dee

HA! I call it “duck duck goose”.

I hate when a gaggle of my people are all standing around in a group talking, say on a streetcorner. And it’s time to move in whatever direction we need to move in. Now, you can say, over and over “we should get going” and people will nod and agree… and keep talking and standing.

But one person… just one, walking away in the direction we have to go in? And the rest continue talking, but their feet start moving. They don’t even really realize it. It looks like a gaggle of geese, honking along.

I’ve gotten umpteen groups moving with this scenario. I love it. I usually have one conspiritor that I look at with that gleam in my eye and say “watch this” just before I start walking.

23 03 2010
Magdalicious

I think we should start experimenting on the ‘ducks’
Awesome example

26 02 2009
Magdalicious

I think we should start experimenting on the ‘ducks’ 🙂
Awesome example 😀

12 03 2009
miltownkid

I suppose it’s true that we’re all sheeple to one extent or another, but I think range of sheepleness is quite large. For example, the difference between a follower of MTV and a follower of nature seems pretty vast.

One of my favorite exploitations is still getting people to clap at awkward times.

23 03 2010
Magdalicious

lol how did I miss this comment? I would greatly enjoying seeing you get people to clap at odd times! My uncle used to get people to stare at the sky until everyone else started staring and then he’d walk away .. chuckle

23 03 2010
Larry

I started reading this because I expected it to be yet another “they’re sheeple and ‘we’ aren’t” froth that litters the internet, reading which would fuel my appreciation of irony. I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s true; we’re all sheep, everyone has the biological programming to gossip, to copy, to mimmick, to compare, to envy, and most notably; to outcast.

Mix into that selfish desires to excel, and look down on potential competition as inferior, which have been relevent throughout history in leading the masses against other groups of “inferiors”. This is now starting to take the form of people in these groups having no external group to fear or hate, turn to form follow their own or other groups to hate the group they’d normally be part of. This happens in almost any political ideology.

In this sense, even those who don’t “follow the pack” actually are, they’re following their own pack. When people subscribe to witch hunts or conspiracy theories, or a contrasting political ideology they hold as grand against the evil ideologies (which, from the profile picture, I fully expected) they’re not “breaking from the pack of sheep”, they’re following into another pack, and they will instinctively lie, manipulate and replicate all manner of dishonest and malicious tactics used by the media and politicians and FOX news, and behaviour of group-think to support the new pack they now associate with. Sheep on a different farm, who can easily bleat more obediently than the farm they left.

When Hillary Clinton comes out with some blatant lie like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BfNqhV5hg4 , or O’Reilly froths in typical hypocritical furor they’re pretty much doing “the right thing” to build their side of the pack, which they are an important part of, and associate with. Conspiracy authors and their subscribers behave no differently, and they really don’t see the irony in calling everyone else sheep while holding themselves as the shining glorious exception.

The only comfort I have in all this is that I associate with the concept of society in general, and what I deem to be good, and bad practice within it.

There’s no stark black and whites to choose from, and anyone who expresses that “everyone else” are sheeple, are just deluding themselves into thinking they’re not.

This was a good blog post, and a welcome breath of fresh air.

23 03 2010
Magdalicious

Larry, first thing.. WOW you’re comment is possibly longer than my post ha.

And second, that’s so much!! I was really excited about your comment. I”m glad you liked the fact that I didn’t dress it up and mamsy pamsy it. Sometimes it drives me NUTS that everyone thinks that they are the exception to the rule, you’re not the bloody exception.

I totally agree with you, that so many people or convinced that they are all full of independent thought and action while completely missing the irony of their little clique (insert sarcastic eye roll here).

I’m sheeple and totally cool with it, I guess the real difference is being aware of your own sheepleness and not denying! The truly ironic thing is the ones that confess to their sheeple ways tend to be more likely to be able to make their own decisions. Would you agree?

Thanks for your comment, completely made my day!

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