If you are like me, you spend a lot of time in the shadows, analyzing others and sometimes even yourself because you really have nothing better to do. In your idleness, you might have followed discussions on twitter like I have. In these discussions, you might have noticed a certain pattern: the groupthink patterns where there is so much desire to harmonize with the popular thought that independent thinking, moral judgment and realistic arguments are replaced by unanimous thinking.
I have seen this happen when people are talking about a brand, or giving general opinion on an issue raised. People will often take different sides, but there is always the popular bandwagon, parked at a corner waiting for passengers to board. This is often the fashionable thought, and not necessarily the right or the wrong one. At the gate are the self-appointed mind-guards. They are the gatekeepers, and often the ones the masses like to follow. What they think is what we think. If they endorse a brand, the group-thinkers will say good things about it. Not to forget, there are of course those who come here independently. The popular belief is not necessarily a place to hide for the lazy minds. There is a good number who board this bandwagon of thought because they believe in its argument. They have taken time to critically analyze the situation and made a decision that this is where they stand.
This popular bandwagon is also home to those who have nothing to say but believe in the morality of the unanimous. They might have something different to say but they’d rather keep quiet. They are more interested in harmonizing the group than in their independent thought. Sometimes they will hide behind the group because they are afraid of the pressure and the personal attacks that are usually thrown at the dissenter. They are afraid of saying it because they fear that they might receive the usual social media banter, and this popular bandwagon makes them invulnerable to attack. They are afraid of saying anything because they do not want to be called ‘stupid’ by those who disagree with them.
This bandwagon also hosts those who have nothing to say but want to seem like they do. They forget that you do not really have to say a thing, and not knowing is actually ok. They hide here because they have someone to speak for them: the mob. When you are behind the mob, you can recycle thoughts and views and jokes and tweets and you will be sorted.
Then there are those who do not belong to this group. Those who have an opposing argument, and are prepared to carry the cross that comes with it. Sometimes, behind this stone hides the ones who are in it for the independent thought. They will disagree because it sets them apart from the rest of you guys. They like being on the other side when the rest of you hurdled together like sheep- a desire to seem different.
There are also those who will not say a thing. They will keep off the talk and move on with life as they please. They have their reasons. Disinterested. Their thoughts feel safer locked deep within. So I say what I think, and then we argue, and then…?
All these thinkers, regardless of their opinion will welcome criticism in different ways. There are those who will put you on their own yardstick, measure you and label you stupid because you disagreed. There are those who will welcome criticism, reason with you. If one of you jumps over to the other side- well and good. If none of you is convinced to move feet, still good. This, they do rationally.
Worthy of mention are those who want to argue for the sake of arguing. They are the ‘intellectuals’ who want to throw in big words, quote philosophers and theorists just so they can come out of it the bigger man. They will walk with a magnifying glass, looking for a loophole they can push you into and burry you. This makes them happy. Sometimes, they really do not care about the issue at discussion here- it is argument for the sake of argument. Finish one argument, then move on to the next one.
Then there is you and I…