What The Flock: Human Sheep? Baa Part One

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We all probably like to pride ourselves for being independent thinkers and doers - thinking and doing outside of the box that society has tried to put us, and confine us, in. Dream on. Nearly all of us conform to the norm and rest comfortably within that box because ultimately it's too much effort to really be an outsider, a free thinker and doer due in part to the social consequences of being, well, different. Let's face reality; most of us are sheep most of the time.

Sometimes it's good to be a human sheep, like when you're driving in traffic or following the tried and true training regime, being part of the work team, obeying lawful orders in the military or from other authority figures vetted for that purpose. You're expected to be a sheep and follow the rules when participating in sporting events.

On the other hand, at times there's something to be said for marching to the beat of a different drummer. Alas, what's drummed into you tends to be something akin to being told to €Jump€, and you meekly reply, €How high?€ Baa!

Unfortunately, there's no shortage of that €How High€ reply. For example:

Religion: There's relatively little that need to be said here. Billions upon billions of people past and present would bet the family farm that a monotheistic deity (Allah, God, Jehovah, the Almighty, etc.) exists despite the fact that there is no evidence that one can see, hear, touch or taste or smell than even remotely hints at such a deity, far less confirms the actual existence. Whether Muslim, Christian, or Jew, there are just certain times of the day, week, month or year when you go to your closet and pull out and don your sheep coverings. It's all due to the concept being rammed down your throat by authority figures from an early age, because they had that concept rammed down their throat when they were young and impressionable, and so on down the line to thousands of years ago. Would someone born and raised in an environment that had no concept of the supernatural come to believe in a monotheistic deity of their own intellect? - Probably not. Baa!

When in Rome: Unless you're a hermit, you have to mingle with the great unwashed and it's not just €when in Rome do as the Romans do' but in anytown do as the local anytowners do or you will find yourself in social strife. Many a movie plot revolves around that theme of the alien and the alienated other, a stranger in a strange land; the outcast. Dare to be different but wear iron-plated underwear. It doesn't take much otherness for anytowners to resort to necktie parties. On a scale of 0 to 10 for human tolerance of the other, well maybe 0.5 is a reasonable score. The other had better conform. Baa!

Christmas: The bills, the cards you send to people you really don't give a damn about, the bills, the unneeded and unwanted presents you receive, the bills, all those presents you get to give to the great unwashed, the bills, the wrappings, the bills, the Xmas trees, the bills, the baubles, the bills, the Xmas lights, the bills, the decorations, the bills, the family guests you'd rather not have come around, the bills, the extra food (with a usually ever unchanging and boring menu), the bills, the cleanup, the bills, all those lengthy hours spend Xmas shopping for others instead of yourself, and oh, did I mention the bills that come due? Are we having fun yet? Why do people voluntarily subject themselves to total insanity; this annual nightmare, even if you can afford the bills? The only institutions to benefit are the banks who issue the credit cards and the retail sector. Nor can you use the excuse that you're just part of the masses observing the birthday of Jesus. Nowhere in any religious literature, like the New Testament, will you find the date, even the month or season when the alleged deity Jesus was born. And woe to any authority figure who says there's no Santa Claus. They will be crucified - reality is damned. Baa!

Birthdays: We nearly all €celebrate' birthdays, our own obviously, and those most near and dear to us: WTF? Why €celebrate' another anniversary of coming ever closer to your final demise, or the demise of those nearest and dearest to you, and why not celebrate, if you must celebrate, a date some nine months earlier at the conception instead of when you or yours were hatched? Many people also €celebrate' the birthday of those already dead, why I'm not sure since they can't participate in that €celebration'. There's also the idiocy of €celebrating' someone's birthday on the wrong day, the example that immediately springs to mind is that of the British Queen Liz, at least in Australia. Then there's the even greater idiocy of €celebrating' the birthday of someone on a date that isn't known with any remote degree of certainty, and of that same someone whose very existence is open to question - Jesus. Baa!

Peers Rule, OK: People, especially young people want to fit in, be accepted by their equals. In order to do that, they have to be just another face in that crowd of peers, and dress the part. If the €uniform' of the day is wearing backward facing baseball caps, then to fit in you'd better wear your baseball cap on back-to-front. Another common €uniform' accessory is the 600 ml bottle of water or soft drink tucked away in the required backpack, all part of the non-conformist uniform (vis- -vis your non-peers) you wear to conform (vis- -vis your peers). Now that bottle has to contain THE brand name. Any old brand just isn't acceptable. Now marketing gurus, knowing this, rub their greedy little paws together and laugh all the way to the bank. It doesn't take much to verify that a 600 ml bottle of top brand X will usually cost twice to three times as much as a standard 1.25 or even a 2 litre bottle of the same. THE top brand of course, in any size, will cost way more, two to three times more, than an in-store house generic brand of the same size, even though the difference in taste is usually minimal, if that. But, your peers say that THE brand, in this size, is required to be part of the in-crowd, so THE 600 ml top brand it is. Baa!

The In-Crowd: The in-crowd is not the exact same mob as your peers. The in-crowd is a combo of the €right' place populated with the €right' people. Not just any crowd found in any old place qualifies. Personally I find pandering to the social scene, the society pages, as if this somehow elevates your worthiness Boring (with a capital B). Besides, when all aspire to be one with the social set, the in-crowd elite, you become part of a flock again, even if it's the upper-crust flock. Baa!

Fawning Over British Royalty: Why do millions of people fawn over just a couple of handful of peoples who lead the super ultra good life plus; are a drain on the public purse; are a totally dysfunctional family; who never had to earn their position in life, yet who sit on the commoners throne in the same manner as the great unwashed? What's Queen Liz (for example) done for you lately to earn your bowing and scraping? Baa!

To be continued.
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