This wasn’t supposed to be the second post. The second post was supposed to be something else. But it’s 3 a.m. and I have to write this. I have to write this because I cannot believe what’s going on here. The Ice Bucket Challenge is what — the craze that has swept through social media like bird flu in a Guangdong poultry market. No wait, 2,000 times faster than that. I realize that many of you support this effort wholeheartedly and think it’s the greatest fundraising/awareness campaign ever. This post is not disputing its success in terms of fundraising to combat a horrible disease. (
This post is about sheeple. It is about herd mentality. It is about doing something that you are ambivalent about. Or that you don’t have all the facts about, facts that might even contradict your religious beliefs. Or that you simply don’t want to do, that you perhaps believe is silly, or useless, or even stupid, but then going ahead and doing it anyway. This post is for those of you who reluctantly posted ice-dumping videos of yourself with captions like “here’s my friggin’ Ice Bucket Challenge” or “the Ice Bucket Challenge finally got me.” This post is especially for those of you who told me in private — or in a comment on my Facebook page, not your own — how ridiculous you thought the Ice Bucket Challenge was….. but then posted a video on your page two days later of ice being dumped on your head (or a copy of your ALSA donation receipt).
Why did you do it? Because you felt like you had to. Because you felt obliged, or heckled, or guilted, or shamed. Because you’d feel embarrassed if you didn’t. Because you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Because you don’t want to look greedy, selfish, or indifferent. Because you are a nice person, and you want to make sure that nobody thinks otherwise. (Or maybe you just wanted to show that you’re popular, since after all, you WERE nominated, whereas plenty of others weren’t — but that’s a different story completely.)
Let us all, for a moment, clear our minds and envision ourselves in a different time and place. (I’m not going to say where or when, yet.) Someone ‘nominates’ us to do something. They choose us because they think we will do a good job, or because they know they can count on us, or because they think we’ll find it fun, or maybe because they just don’t know who else to choose but feel compelled to choose SOMEone. The thing that’s being done, it isn’t completely understood by many of the individuals who are doing it. But the general consensus seems to be that it’s a good thing; it is thought to be helpful to individuals, and beneficial to society as a whole. So therefore, even though we may not personally fully ‘get’ it or entirely agree with it, we go ahead and do it anyway. And by doing it, we are in turn obligated to get others to join in. And more and more do, because the way the whole thing is set up, you stand out like a sore thumb if you don’t. You might even look like a bad person if you don’t. So what happens next? A general feeling of camaraderie ensues. There are some meetings. Songs are sung. Some beer is drunk. Glass breaks.
So….. where/when are we?
When a majority of people don’t question and just DO — when they give up their right to say “no” — shocking and horrifying things can sometimes result.
But, wait. It doesn’t have to work this way. Have reservations about participating? Well, you have a choice. A choice to join or not join. A choice to do or not do, whatever is being asked of you.
Instead of being a sheeple, why not be this guy:
I leave you with this.
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