Why do we Think & do Like Everyone Else


Depending on our independence of thoughts and actions, we may be either like a flock of huddling sheep or the dog that guards them.
Which one are you?

One does something, then everybody starts doing it. One points out what's wrong or right, and nearly the whole world starts pointing out the same. One throws a stone and a revolution takes birth. One wears a funky hat and it becomes global fashion. Why do we do what others do or think what others think?

'Same thinking' or in other words 'following others in deeds and thoughts' is human flock behaviour that's surprisingly identical to sheep flock behaviour.

Sheep are extremely social, gentle, mild little creatures who exhibit a strong tendency to blindly follow anyone (Anyone who makes the first move), prefer not to go astray, stick close together and hugely stress out when separated from their flock. This acts as their smart defence mechanism against attack from other species who are bigger, wilder, stronger or more dangerous. The big size of the flock fools/warns the predator into thinking that it may be dangerous to attack it.

Most human beings, if not all, typically display similar flock behaviour largely to keep themselves safe and to camouflage themselves against stronger, more dangerous or threatening elements in society.

Example: in strange/ insecure/ threatening situations people get closer together. In some cultures even today where women have to be careful of males will always stay and move about together with other females to ensure their safety. Staying in crowd often spells security for a lot of people in a lot many situations.

But apart from flocking for safety as innate survival instinct, we often match and align our thinking with others for a variety of reasons. We like to think:

  1. If everyone is doing it, it must be right. (Relying on majority bias)
  2. If everyone is doing it, it must be really good.
  3. If everyone is doing it, it must be fashion/ trend. (That's how fashion is born.)
  4. If everyone is doing it, it must be safe. (Even if it isn't)
  5. If I will also do what everyone is doing, I will be accepted and liked by others. (Signalling strong human need for social acceptance)
  6. Which other option is there? There isn't. There's only this option what everyone is doing. (Wilful mental blindness)
  7. I don't want to stand out from the crowd. Everyone will laugh at me, reject me, ridicule and condemn me. (Fear of rejection/ridicule)
  8. I feel safer when I am together with others in doing something even if it isn't exactly what I want.
  9. I live in a society. I must do what everyone does. I must follow. (Conforming. That's how most social evils keep continuing for a long time.)
  10. Why should I do something else? Just do what everyone is doing. No need to think something what the others have already thought it out for us. (Intellectual indolence and mental lethargy)

Supposedly 99% of people prefer staying in crowd. The remaining 1% of people (this percentage may be higher than 1%) who dare walk alone, venture outside their flock, demolish boundaries, risk dangers, carve their own path and guide the sheep. They are the dogs that guard them thanklessly, guide them to their food, home and safety and get hated, ridiculed and condemned in return by them.

Very few dogs are admired by sheep...!

But that's just my opinion. Thank you for reading.