Feeling Sheep-ish

Well I know I have been truly testing your patience levels regarding love-related-bloggosphere-content over the last …several posts. My sincerest apologies.

If it helps, I get to use the Christmas gift plane tickets to visit Ben in a little over a week. With any luck this will stem the torrent of anxiety-ridden ‘boy’ topic posts for a little while. I’m counting on at least half an hour. That seems about an appropriate length of time for the reassurance of Ben’s presence to dissipate, wouldn’t you agree?

My theory #11: People are like sheep. And monkeys. We follow the crowd and do what others do, even if it is not necessarily the best course of action.

This isn’t even anything about peer pressure or attempts to fit in. It’s just What Humans Do.

If you get the opportunity next time you are in a long queue, you can test the sheep theory by taking a step forward that is not only slightly to one side, but one that also just changes your angle to the line compared to the person in front of you. More likely than not, the line will slide in obediently behind you, off at a little angle. You can even appreciate this as a bystander: observe how any line moves up each space over time, even if that means someone takes an insignificant step forward that, aside from in the extreme literal sense, does nothing to bring them closer to their goal. Rarely are these actions consciously decided upon.

Ultimately, the copy-cat gene is so ingrained into human instinct that it is almost not worth fighting. Anthropologists could probably claim there’s a link between these sorts of actions and, in an evolutionary sense, moving-with-the-herd survival technique.

The only thing I would recommend is to at least try to be aware of your actions. For example, if I am stuck standstill in horrendous traffic, I will wait for enough space to open up in front of me to make the move forward worthwhile. Truth be told, it’s less about proving an anthropologic point and more that I drive a manual car, so I’m mostly trying to save my leg muscles, but I do like to think that even for a small moment I help raise the hope that the traffic is clearing because “oh wow, we moved up quite a bit that time!”.

So, in the only way I know how, I want to make sure you are prepared if you are to jump on a band-wagon – I’m turing to medico-legal speak.

For informed consent: it must be given willingly or freely (i.e. not under any influence or coercion), it has to be specific to the situation at hand, and it has to be given by a competent person. To assess competency (or medically it’s called ‘capacity’), a person must be able to understand and retain the information, believe the information, and weigh up the information to be able to arrive a reasonable decision. It doesn’t matter how you would arrive at the decision, and the it doesn’t even have to make sense, as long as you have been provided with all of the information you (or a ‘reasonable person’) would require to be able to come to a reasonable decision.

(..A little off topic here.. but while writing that I had the strong urge to end that paragraph with how you cannot meet the requirements for informed consent if you are wanting to drunk text. Perhaps it’s a little too wordy to try to explain if you’re talking someone out of drunk texting…)

If you are a Twitter fan, now is your opportunity to give me enough information to be able to arrive at an informed decision about whether I should be joining this band wagon or not. I attempted to just see what it was like but hit the speed bump of “find five friends to follow!” when I’m trying to keep this largely anonymous and I haven’t quite decided where this blog is going. I also have no idea if it will stay fairly PG-13, ..actually it’s pretty likely I’ll talk about sex or swear or share a bit too much shortly anyway.

My point is help: Twitter or not to Twitter??

– Dr O.



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