Last week (prism #08), ideas about the need for laws, regulations to maintain order and avoid chaos. However, this idea needs to be considered within the context if common sense & the common good. Crazy or stupid is not an option when establishing these guidelines. Too often we tend to see laws as absolutes, rather than their real purpose, guidelines for social order. The current political climate demonstrates this syndrome.

I was mystified how one person could control an entire enterprise, government, or country. Now I understand that it is not one person. An individual by their position gets power from the herd mentality. Herd mentality is how behavior is influenced by a small group of peers. People will blindly follow people who appear to know something. They follow rules even when these rules do not make sense. There is another phenomenon, where a small gang of self-interest support the leadership to achieve their parochial agendas.  This creates circumstances that are greater than the leadership itself. Napoleon Bonaparte understood that “the herd seek out the great, not for their sake, but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need”. Great here meaning the poster child of the movement, government, or organization.

Thus, this cancer of selfishness spreads to neighboring cells. Silently it begins to infiltrate the entire institution where the infection spreads and cripples the healthiness of the enterprise. Archibald MacLeish suggests that “The dissenter is every human being at those moments of their life when they resign momentarily from the herd and begin to think for themselves”. You must listen to your instinct, your gut feelings, rather than follow the majority for fear of being wrong, or cut from the herd. “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” Marcus Aurelius