Breaking away from the herd instinct

Posted on Oct 13, 2017 | 23 Comments
Breaking away from the herd instinct

Have you ever done something not because you really wanted to, but because other people around you were doing it?

Have you ever adopted a line of reasoning, not because you came up with the reasoning yourself, but because others around you believed it, so to please them you accepted it as your own?

Here is an entertaining video that graphically illustrates the critical importance of thinking for yourself, and not doing something just because others around you are doing it. I don’t know if this video was staged or not, but it doesn’t matter. The lesson is still right on, I think you’ll agree.

“Hidden camera social experiment proves most people are sheep”

For success in spiritual healing, Christian Science emphasizes the importance of understanding that there is only one Mind governing man and the universe. This Mind thinks for itself, forming conclusions and determining action through the influence of Truth and Love, and never according to what a mortal may or may not believe.

So, for instance, if many people around you believe in the reality of disease and the danger of it, you do not need to go mentally down that same path and suffer from that belief system. You can resist it with Truth, ward it off, and stay protected from it.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote,

“We weep because others weep, we yawn because they yawn, and we have smallpox because others have it; but mortal mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection. When this mental contagion is understood, we shall be more careful of our mental conditions, and we shall avoid loquacious tattling about disease, as we would avoid advocating crime. Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error’s advocate” Science and Health, p. 153.

The wise watch their “mental conditions,” and let “neither sympathy nor society” outline their state of thought or course of action.

It’s okay to be a sheep, if Christ is your Shepherd! And not mortal opinion.

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23 Comments

  1. Linda, Cheshire, UK
    October 13, 2017

    This video was so funny but the underlying message is very thought-provoking. We do have to be wise in what we take in. As I drive along I am seeing signs everywhere saying “flu season approaching. Get your flu jab now”. It’s important to be alert and not go along with these subtle and sometimes not so subtle claims. So I won’t be joining in with the rest of the herd saying ‘baa’. I’ll keep the Christ as my Shepherd! Thanks Evan.

    Reply
  2. Gillian
    October 13, 2017

    Wow – what a wake up call ….. thanks so much, as always, Evan, and Linda – how about saying BAH Humbug to those siren calls to join the herd?

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth
    October 13, 2017

    Amazing. I agree with Gillian – what a wake up call. This is a new perspective that revealed an unrecognized temptation that entices one to believe that error is real. Thank you again, Evan.

    Reply
  4. James Dielschneider
    October 13, 2017

    You can read the book “Nudge” by Richard Thaler. He was rewarded a Nobel Prize for his work.

    Most people go along and do the wrong thing for themselves because of habit and what others do.

    With the help of Evan, we can do far better.

    Reply
  5. Big sky
    October 13, 2017

    Wow!!!

    Reply
  6. Bill Gearhart
    October 13, 2017

    I am sure that most of us, CSS, would not adhere to this path of logic. But it allows us to examine that influence of others does not effect our spiritual reflection.

    Reply
    • Autumn
      October 13, 2017

      Bill, I’m not so sure. *Everyone* in the video stood up, even the man who was reluctant to at first!
      But it occurred to me to wonder what would have happened if someone had resolutely remained seated. Would others do the same? Or would they sort of ostracize the seated person?
      And what would have happened had someone encouraged others to remain seated? What if someone had questioned the reason for standing, had reasoned with the others – as we do in CS? Isn’t it fascinating to think what impact one independent thinker might have had?!
      It’s also chilling to realize the implications of this herd behavior. Another interesting read on the same subject is Hannah Arendt’s “The Banality of Evil,” which analyzes the trial of a Nazi officer, and states that most evil is committed by people who are simply going along with others.

      Reply
      • Kirsten
        October 13, 2017

        Autumn, I agree. I found myself asking the same questions. “Why did no one ask, why are you standing?” If there was a logical reason to do it, I would want to know. But, if a person answered “because everyone else is”, you would see there was no intelligence associated with that action. And, if a person saw through it, they could help others see through it as well so they could be free from the nonsense – by asking questions to get at the root of the deception and then taking a “stand” by sitting. Would others sit too? Would they condemn you for sitting instead of standing? And, if they did, would you really care since you saw the nonsense in standing up? And, could you convince others it was nonsense? It is fascinating!

        Reply
  7. Carol
    October 13, 2017

    Oh my goodness! That is so bizarre and shows how easily one can go along with the crowd, even if there is no logical reason. It seems so typical of our society today. Thinking like we do on SpiritView seems to be ‘going against the stream’ in a lot of ways, but in Good ways. I love the ‘ewe’ ( YOU) in the photo. Let’s let that be US, looking at what is right, the truth and not what everyone else might be doing or believing in and maybe we will set an example of living a life others wish to emulate. Thank you so much, Evan and SV thinkers, for such an eye opening lesson.

    Reply
  8. SpiritViewFan
    October 13, 2017

    Good JOLT, Evan!

    Mary Baker Eddy was so right-on in writing:

    “We weep because others weep, we yawn because they yawn, and we have smallpox because others have it; but mortal mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection. When this mental contagion is understood, we shall be more careful of our mental conditions, and we shall avoid loquacious tattling about disease, as we would avoid advocating crime. Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error’s advocate.”
    SH 153:25
    From Concord Express – A Christian Science Study Resource: The King James Version of the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s published writings

    I needed a good POKE to wake me up this morning! Thank you. It is very tempting to accept the rampant belief that God, divine Truth, is irrelevant or powerless regarding the massive problems facing humanity today (and throughout history). To truly worship God is to not go along with these beliefs. Now or ever.

    Reply
  9. Kirsten
    October 13, 2017

    Thank you Evan and contributors. What an eye opener! This is so relevant. How many people look outward to make sure they are doing the “right” thing? They think others know something they don’t know. There is no logic or intelligence behind it. And, how disconcerting, when thinking this way, other opinions/actions can be than the “right” one or worldly one unless we know to follow Truth and Love. Truth is within, not outside of us. And Love is within. They are our compass. They are our Principle and are a solid foundation that is safe (intelligent) to build on. Truth and Love lead us beside the still waters. They are always intelligent.

    Reply
  10. grace
    October 13, 2017

    Wow! How important to decide whether it is human beliefs or spiritual facts that are guiding our every day thinking/actions. This is powerful. Thanks, Evan!

    Reply
  11. Karen
    October 13, 2017

    One time I read an article in the Christian Science Sentinel (which I’m sorry I can find the reference for) about a similar social experiment. The concept was simple. A man was told he would be one of a group of 10 people who would be seated at a round table. Everyone else was in on the experiment. Once seated the group was told they would be given a ball and all they had to do was say what color the ball was and then pass it to the person sitting to the right of them. The man was handed a blue ball and asked what color it was. He said blue and passed it to the next person. But she said the ball was red and passed it along. To his puzzlement each person seated said the ball was red. The man was perplexed but when it arrived back to him he once again said the ball was blue, but with a little less certainty. Well finally 5 times around the man capitulated and said the ball was red. The point of the article was how much courage it took for Mary Baker Eddy to write,”There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.” And she writes in the preface to Science and Health as well,”The time for thinkers has come.” Thanks Evan for this reminder.

    Reply
  12. Kathy
    October 13, 2017

    I LOVE that picture of the one sheep!! The sheep seems to be saying, “You talkin’ to me!?” “ I will listen for Thy voice all the rugged way!”
    Thank you!!!

    Reply
  13. Lori Marquart
    October 13, 2017

    I enjoyed the video and all of the comments. When watching TV lately I have wondered if all of the NFL members shown not standing for our National Anthem are really in agreement with the others, or just afraid to not conform. Any ideas?

    Reply
  14. Carolyn
    October 13, 2017

    Thanks, Lori, for pointing this out. I agree with you that it could be a herd instinct for many. And thank you, Evan and contributors, , for bringing this out and relating it to our spiritual understanding – knowing what is absolutely true and living it.

    Reply
  15. Brian
    October 13, 2017

    Thank you Evan. This is so interesting!

    What came to me when watching this is the idea that everyone just wants to feel love. So perhaps “going along with the herd” is one way people try to feel love in their lives. After all, feeling like we “belong” can give us a sense of feeling loved.

    Therefore, isn’t the antidote to being subject to “herd mentality” fostering a sense of God’s love in our lives? If we are truly feeling God’s love for us continuously, we will be less tempted to try and feel that we are loved some other way.

    Reply
  16. Mary Ann
    October 13, 2017

    Thanks Evan. I would not have stood without asking why. I LOVE that picture of the one sheep!! I, too, will keep the Christ as my Shepherd!

    Reply
  17. Maximo
    October 13, 2017

    Enlightened sympathy
    is an expression of a heart that
    knows the true source Love.

    Unenlightened sympathy
    should have another name
    for it can exacerbate a problem

    So thinking for ones self
    is the only way to know.
    As Christian scientists
    we are also cautioned
    not to follow blindly
    anything within the
    Church culture

    Reply
  18. Rafikka
    October 13, 2017

    Priceless♥️

    Reply
  19. Kirsten
    October 13, 2017

    Maximo,
    I agree with you. It is easy to think because we are CS this is something we are already alert too so we don’t have to worry about it like the rest of the world. But, I think Evan posted this because we do need to be alert to it. And, this mentality can take many forms. For example, it is an American tradition to overeat during Thanksgiving or many holidays – everyone else is doing it so why not join in the festivities? It is fun to, right? And, what about buying things we don’t need? I do these things without thinking sometimes. There are lots of other examples as well.

    Reply
  20. Uta, Germany
    October 13, 2017

    Thank you all for your so interesting comments .
    And thank you Evan for the SV.
    Everything thought provoking, very good and helpful.

    Reply
  21. jerry
    October 14, 2017

    wow wonderful EVAN this experience can help to know how to break bad habits

    Reply

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