Archive for conformity

Are You Smarter than You Think?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on August 4, 2010 by dredslack

  You’re probably smarter than you think. Most people are. This doesn’t mean most folks make great decisions or achieve a lot, but that underlying ability is often there, waiting for the chance to come out and show what it can really do. 

  When we’re kids a big part of our job is to push our agenda to see what works and what doesn’t work, what we can get away with and what leads to unpleasant consequences. That’s one of the ways we learn how the world works and what’s best for us to do. It’s left to our folks to set limits for us so we don’t kill ourselves in the process. It’s not an easy job. A lot of their message comes across as “you don’t know what you’re doing” and for the most part that’s probably quite true. 

  Societies “more primitive” than ours usually have a ritual called ‘the rite of passage’. In this ritual a sub-adult can prove themselves competent and worthy of adult status, typically by performing a set of difficult and / or dangerous tasks successfully. This is followed by a ceremony where the sub-adult is ‘transformed’ into an adult and from then on out, to both themselves and their society, they are no longer some dumb ass kid but an adult worthy of respect. 

  Aside from some ill advised drinking rituals our society does not have a defined marking place for us to shift gears from adolescence to adulthood. This leaves many of us with the lingering sense we’re still dumb ass kids. 

  To compound this being able to critically, logically think for one’s self is not part of the curriculum (required classes) of any public education system currently in the United States. Clearly learning to think for one’s self is not important enough to be part of a general education. It’s not important. 

  Further, the road to any type of competency or wisdom is strewn with errors and mistakes, ask anyone whose achieved anything of significance. Mistakes are how we learn and grow. In spite of this a preponderance of people respond to any error as proof of hopeless incompetence. Even more sadly many of us do this to ourselves.

                     You’re probably a lot smarter than you think.

Are You Post Sheep?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by dredslack

 I recently responded to a blog about manipulation in film by Mihai Stoian, ( He made some good points so I added my voice to the discussion, supporting identifying manipulations and being aware of them as a good and often pleasant way to avoid their influence. Mihai  replied in a very gracious manner and implied that most people need more protection than simple awareness and self analysis, without some other source to lead them, life would be too much. It seems to me that this perspective views most people as sheep that need to be told what to do. 

 The Bible contains many analogies regarding Shepard’s and their flocks that make the same implication; people aren’t smart enough to think for themselves. Well, I don’t agree, I think that most people have the ability to think for themselves. To get good at it we all need to work at it and we’ll need some education about thinking logically and not being tricked by simple forms of manipulative argument. We also need to be honest with ourselves and it’s of course wise to seek the council of respected others but I believe most of us are capable of making good decisions on our own. Sure they’ll be mistakes but that’s how we learn. Miles Davis (American Musician 1926-91) says it best: “Do not fear mistakes … there are none”.   

 Perhaps in the past, for society to survive we did need to do a Shepard / flock thing. We may have done ourselves in if we hadn’t. However now it seems the leadership caste (& I’m not talking about the Obama administration) has become the child that needs leading and we need to think for ourselves at a more complete level than ever before.

 Every generation has its challenges and perhaps one of ours is to assert ourselves as thinking, aware individuals. Whether it’s a political party, a gang of skinhead punk’s with white laces on their boot’s or a revered leader, do you need to follow a doctrine, group or charismatic individual ….. or are you post sheep?

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