by Kenneth Justice
“Is it just me, or are all of them dressed exactly the same?!”
~ I was sitting in a coffee shop a few weeks ago with a good friend of mine and a dozen college kids came in, all dressed nearly identically. One of the young men sat down next to us and started talking; apparently they were all from Poland and here in the Midwest on some type of summer holiday/volunteer program helping out a local charity.
“Is it just me or are you all dressed the same?” my friend asked the student. The young man looked puzzled as he didn’t seem to think he and his fellow students were dressed all that similar, “I’m wearing a blue shirt that is a different color than everyone else” he said, and at that my friend silently winked to me; although, yes, the young man was wearing a different shade of blue than the other college kids, for the most part they were all dressed similarly as though they’d all shopped at the same store and bought the same designer clothes.
Humans are interesting creatures, there is something within the majority of us that wants to look like the rest of the herd. Whether you grew up in the country, the suburbs, or the city; it is likely that many of the clothing styles you wear or the types of words or accent you speak with have been heavily influenced by the people around you.
Sociological experiments have found that less than 5% of people tend to go against the grain; the rest of the 95% of people will knowingly answer incorrectly merely to fit in with the rest of the crowd. The simple fact of the matters is the majority of your behaviors are motivated by the various influencers and external agents that govern your life.
—-) Political elections have very little to do with people voting for who they believe is the best candidate and EVERYTHING to do with people voting for who they have been influenced to elect
—-) The food you eat and the clothes you wear are mainly a product of the influencing agents of your family, friends, co-workers, and advertisements you’ve been seen
—-) Your life goals in life are not independent thoughts you arrived at through deep introspection; but are rather more an amalgamation of the cultural, family, and other influences that have driven you toward thinking in a particular manner
Most of the time I’m glad that these external influences exist. Take for instance soap, there are simply too many different brands of soap for me to research as to which one is the best soap for me to wash my dishes with or use to clean my hands. If I had to do my own independent research study on every single brand of soap it could take me a long time to decide which soap to purchase and by then my dishes would be stacked really high. Thanks to the propaganda of advertisers, or perhaps the influences of my parents and friends, I’ve been conditioned to purchase particular soaps as a matter of everyday life; and that is okay.
However, purchasing soap is hardly on the same level of electing a President or Prime Minister is hardly and I often wonder how much you and I are being influenced to think a particular way without us ever being aware of these invisible influencers.
If you have children you have been influencing them to think and act in a particular way ever since they were born. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s the natural order of life. We tell our children that we want to raise them up to be forward thinking individuals; young men and women who objectively think for themselves. Yet the simple truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of people do not think for themselves; we go through life choosing soap and cereal brands based on the built in system of influencers that exists all around us.
So what does all of this mean? Is it good or bad that life is the way it is? Is there any way to change Western Culture? Those are all pretty deep questions, and at the moment the most pressing issue in my life is finishing this cup of coffee.
Categories: Culture & Society