Another way of looking at this whole “being normal” thing is that when we’re “normal”, when we behave in a way that is accepted by society, or that we consider to be what we believe that society expects of us, that it has this feeling of stability.
It has a feeling of connecting with something very solid.
Because when you’re isolated, on your own, or maybe with your little band of other outcasts and dissenters, then you know, you’re really not stable at all.
You’re you’re like a blowing leaf in the wind that’s vulnerable to all kinds of changes in fortune.
Whereas it feels like by attaching yourself to society, by playing along with what you believe is the expected way to be, that you’re now attaching yourself to something that has a very strong foundation.
And certainly it has numbers.
It’s certainly very big, and so there’s a certain kind of stability that we can at least imagine comes with it, in that, you know, certain things about the way society are not going to suddenly change.
Of course, society is changing all the time, but there’s a certain kind of trust that we can have in being treated a certain way.
We can expect that if we play by the rules, we are on the winning side, we’re on the big team, we’re on the dominant team, versus the outcast, who is always in danger of being picked off.
So I think there’s some truth to this.
There is an advantage to being on the bigger team, and there can be an advantage in kind of blending in with the crowd, so that, you know, you can kind of hide in the crowd in a way where if you’re alone, you can just be attacked right away, and just, you know, just be targeted, and you have no safety.
But if you’re part of a big crowd, sometimes you can feel like, well, I can sort of feel where the winds blowing, and you know, maybe you’ll see some people on the edges of the crowd get sort of picked off, and then you can sort of follow where the mass of the crowd goes.
So it’s similar to what you can see with herd animals.
You have this big group, and you know, the safest place to be is in the middle of the big group.
And when you have stragglers that have been separated from the main group, that is not a safe place to be, with all the predators are around outside looking for easy prey, and it’s those stragglers that are separated from the main group, these outcasts, those that couldn’t keep up, or for whatever reason were separated from the main group: they’re the ones that get picked off.
So there’s this kind of drive to hide in the middle.
You just want to be in that centre of the biggest group, away from those dangerous edges.
And I think maybe this is just part of our animal nature, that we just have that in us as some kind of an instinct.
I don’t know if it comes from, you know, it’s like built-in through our animal evolution, or whether it’s just a reaction to basically understanding the way these dynamics work, and just understanding that it’s safer to be in the middle and not on the edge.
So it’s a drive that we all have to some degree.
And it seems like this can be part of what’s behind a lot of conformist behaviour, a lot of our fear of being cast out, and our desire to blend in.
So while it’s very understandable, it seems like it also brings with it its own danger.
Because maybe we can look at the ancient past, when if we were fairly weak, you know prey animals, and there are like lions and wolves out there ready to eat us, it is safer to be in the middle of the crowd and not on the fringes.
But now, it seems like we’re in a world where the humans are the most dangerous creatures.
We don’t have to worry so much about lions and wolves in most situations.
It’s the other humans in the crowd that are the most dangerous.
So now this instinct driving us towards the centre of the crowd: maybe it’s not quite as helpful as it used to be.
So I’d be curious to hear what you think about this, this drive to be in the safety of the crowd, what it means now.
#hideinthecrowd #safetyinnumbers #herddynamics