Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Why are most people submissive?

My July 28 blog was about leadership: Why is leadership restricted to animals and humans? The flip side of leadership is submission of a majority to a minority. Why are most (animals and) people submissive? A 2010 article in Psychology Today argues that people are conformists:

“Human beings are herd animals. We survive only in highly coordinated groups. Individually, we are designed to pick up social cues and coordinate and align our behavior with those around us. Recent research has shown that social disapproval provokes the brain’s danger circuits. Conformity soothes.”

Noam Shpancer Ph.D.: You Are a Conformist (That Is, You Are Human)

The perspective above is largely the result of a macro focus. From an individual or micro focus, people may claim that they are independent individuals who cherish their freedom.

This dilemma also applies to me. I am an independent individual and love my freedom. Yet, I never protest against anything, apart from the 4-year ritual in the voting booth. From an alien (and thus macro) perspective, I must be considered submissive, which I am not, by any (micro) standard. Why are the macro vs micro (my blogs) focus and perspective (my blogs) so different?

An auditing (ie, ifac) analogy may help explaining: independence in mind vs in appearance. Most people seem to feel independent in mind but are not independent in appearance. Probably, as they are conformists.

Hence, it takes immense pressure before societies start revolting. Protests rarely become uprisings, and uprisings seldom lead to a revolution (eg, 2014 study Social Revolutions: Their Causes, Patterns, and Phases).

In general, even a foreign occupation does not result in a revolution (eg, Crimea, Tibet, WW-2). To some extent, this situation resembles the one of a boiling frog: “if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death”.

I suppose that many people think, feel and/or believe that a micro focus (eg, family, relationship, sports, study, work) is more important and/or relevant than a macro focus (eg, society). Perhaps, that’s even a or the reason why so many people do not vote in general elections. As stated in my recent blog: when personal and group interests no longer align then people quit (eg, a group) and pursue their own interests.

The above paragraph can also be rephrased into this: to many people, (micro) advantage is more important and/or relevant than (macro) empathy. Essentially, this is human nature. Nurture (eg, education, upbringing) may change that, but only to some extent.

Human Nature (1983) by Michael Jackson
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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