Researchers at Leeds University, led by Prof Jens Krause, performed a series of experiments where volunteers were told to randomly walk around a large hall without talking to each other. A select few were then given more detailed instructions on where to walk. The scientists discovered that people end up blindly following one or two people who appear to know where they’re going. The published results showed that it only takes 5% of what the scientists called “informed individuals” to influence the direction of a crowd of around 200 people. The remaining 95% follow without even realizing it.
“There are strong parallels with animal grouping behavior,” says Prof Krause, who reported his study with John Dyer in the Animal Behavior Journal. “We’ve all been in situations where we get swept along by the crowd but what’s interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to talk or gesture to one another… In most cases the participants didn’t realize they were being led by others.”
Now, this isn’t really anything new, especially if you have an interest in human psychology or social dynamics. But for those of you that wasn’t aware of this before, let me ask you this question. Isn’t human behavior worrying?
In our society, we value the gifted individuals that strive for something greater. We all love an inspiring story of a man who made it against all odds and did something extraordinary. Yes, we get spurred in the moment to take action too, thinking ” I want to do that too”. But how many of us actually keep going after the initial months of no results and constant feedback from others saying we made the wrong choice?
Or how many people get tricked into a cult or business because of group pressure and manufactured positivity to influence you to take the plunge?
If we human beings were such an intelligent independent being we would see through all the scams and use our common sense, right?
Sadly, we are not as intelligent and independent as we would like to think we are. Yes we have potential and there’s the few anomalies. However, the majority of us are like sheeps and act according to our herd. This is the reality of our society. From uptown classy people to the downtown hipsters. They are basically the same. A herd. They are fundamentally no different, and if anyone argues that there are differences, then they are merely quibbling over semantics.
We are herd animals. That’s why we are so predictable. That’s why big corporate businesses can make billions upon billions of dollars, selling the same stuff over and over gain. Yet many of us are unaware of this. Plugged in the matrix as we call it. Once you see what is really going on, you can never go back.
Consumerism, group dynamics, herd, marketing, peer pressure and product placement. These and many more are testaments to the simplistic nature of us humans. Look at the countless wars we thought in our bloody history. In our modern day society, there are still pointless wars going on. Never have there been world peace for more than a decade in our history. I’m not saying war isn’t necessary to protect certain values. But if you boil it down and imagine you were a higher intelligent being looking down on earth, you would most certainly be thinking humans are retarded and inferior beings spending time killing each other.
However, this is who we are. Sadly I don’t expect seeing us human evolve too such a level that we can all get along. There will always be followers and leaders at least until we somehow evolve into a superior being. So until then I give you this advice my friends.
Strive to become an anomaly. Be a leader. Be independent. Don’t be part of the herd. Lead the herd.