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P33ish074: The H In HERD - K.W.C (Guest Blogger)


I know it has been a while since you have seen my scrawny self with my less than creepy pen name. I didn't grow tired of this all of a sudden, I was busy taking stock of things.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been racking up wins, some minute, some inconsequential, others seemingly major and knowing who I have been all my life, I just get the win and keep it moving, no time to celebrate, no time to look back and take in or appreciate all the moments that led to this win, just keep it moving. It is even as bad as not knowing it was a win until a week after, then remembering oh shit, last week was my 5th year anniversary of my call or wow, I really just won that case that it was nothing”. Basically, this year has been a year of wins, academically, career wise, personally but this system (I still want to have a chat with whoever designed it with a sack of pebbles, maybe pelt him/her into the realization that this system he/she designed, is shit) just gives little room for that, but I digress, this is not why we are here.

I BOUGHT A CAR. There isn't really any easy way to ease into this so I will just breeze into it right away, just get into the shit, like into the shit. Now, why is this information necessary? I don't know. Maybe to give you an insight on how the herd works and how it affects our every decision, just maybe. Now, I got this car with the only intention to move me from point A to point B (even though I still cannot drive to save my life), I mean, that is the point, isn't it. But the buying opened my eyes to a lot of things I really couldn't be bothered to think about, I see clearly now that a lot of people don't know it yet, but they are not in control of their own mind, they have been programmed and reprogrammed to think in a certain way with a passion for conformity. This is the gist, I bought a Nissan Pathfinder 1998 model (I hope your eyeballs fall off from all that rolling). Did you get it? A 1998 model.

Instantly, everyone had an opinion:

oh, it is too old

wow, why didn't you get a Toyota product

damn, a Camry would have been better 

that car is for old expired men, not a young man like you 

would you be able to maintain it, it looks like a gas guzzler 

look at it, it is way too big 

Everybody, except one idiot (whose name we shall not mention) congratulated me with one or more of the aforementioned addendums. I must confess, it made me feel some kind of way, like they weren't all the way happy for me until I took time to understand their thought process.

Herd mentality (also known as mob mentality) describes a behavior in which people act the same way or adopt similar behaviors as the people around them  often ignoring their own feelings in the process. Think of a sheep blindly following the flock no matter where they go just because that's what the herd is doing.

In 2008, Professor Jens Krause and Dr. John Dyer of Leeds University conducted an experiment where groups of subjects were told to walk in a random path inside of a big hall while not communicating with the other subjects. However, the researchers told a few of the subjects exactly where they should walk.

Guess what happened? They discovered that the people who were told exactly where to walk started being followed by the subjects walking randomly.

According to Professor Krause
‘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.’
In the end, they found that it took just 5% of people walking confidently to influence 95% of the other walkers to follow them.

See, where I come from, a car isn't just a car (that is, a piece of machinery that moves you from one place to another place thereby making your life easier than usual); a car is a status symbol, something to show off to your haters like look at me now, I'm driving the latest model without a thought as to whether leaving that model in a car lot would actually be doing you and/or the car a favor. I live on the outskirts of town, where the roads aren't all that nice and when I see cars that people buy to commute that road day in day out, I feel sorry for the cars and the owners. I feel sorry for the cars because they weren't built for these god-forsaken roads: their owners are abusing the cars. And I feel for the owners because I know it is only a matter of time before they start spending money they shouldn't be spending to replace parts they shouldn't be replacing just because they didn't have the presence of mind to know why and why not to buy a car.

Back to me, where I come from, if you are a young man, and you buy a car other than a Toyota product, you are wrong. It doesn't matter if you're a Honda lover (don't even go here, your folks will stigmatize you if you get a Honda, they will refuse to ride with you out of fear that a wheel might pull off in transit and trying to explain to them that not all Hondas have that problem or that if proper care is given to a car, that problem could be averted will always be like that meme where this dude is talking to a brick wall: nobody is going to listen to you), or maybe a Volkswagen or Volvo. It doesn't even matter if you think German products are better than Japanese products, just get a damn Toyota.

One search online gave me all the answers I needed to know and to understand that we are all victims of one giant herd programming. Every blog, every car review site listed Toyota as the number one car to buy where I come from. Why? The only reason that that stood out in all those car review sites and from interaction with people was good resale value.

Now, that is a very good reason, for good reason. People can hardly buy a new car where I come from, without having to sell off the old car, now having a Toyota guarantees you that you could sell it off at a fairly good price and then buy a new one. It is a good reason, just not for me. I want to enjoy things, then when I feel like I want to enjoy something else, affect someone else's life with the old one I have enjoyed, not necessarily selling them off, affect someone's life with it.

Now, this particular incident forced me to take a stock of all my life's major decision and I realized that I. OluwaKevin Wendell Crumb, Eleniyan 1, have been a major victim of herd programming. I will give you two vivid examples.

My college. I waited five years after graduating high school to get into college. Why? My mum, dad and big sister graduated from the same college, so I felt it behooved on me to continue the family tradition; it cost me five years, five years of rejecting admissions from other prestigious schools, five years of sitting for the same qualification examinations.

Five years. 

Herd mentality.

Now, the second example is a lot weirder than the first so I am going to stop at the first.

The fun thing about the herd mentality is that I am bringing it from a car perspective, because I bought a car and I was exposed to it. In actual fact, that is the least place you would find vivid examples of the herd mentality in play. Have you ever bought that book because everyone was buying it and it felt like it was the cool thing to do even though you know that reading is one of your least favourite things to do? You ever invested in that stock because all your friends are doing even though you are well aware that real estate is a more viable and secure investment? You ever tried to act like you didnt like that favourite artiste because you would be viewed as tasteless and uncultured? Black Friday sales, anyone? Yayyyyyyyy!

Can herd mentality be good? Personally, I would say yes. Because it has personally allowed me to achieve something I didnt need but was good: I went for my Master's Degree because everyone was doing it and it looked like the right thing to do. I didnt need it at the time I went for it, I don't need it now that I am finished with it, but I am glad I did it and that is partly down to my mum who always says it is better to have something and not need it than to need something and not have it.

Let this writer know how the herd has shaped your life either positively or negatively. There is no judgement here, it is all love.

Thank you for your time.

#

Comments

  1. This is funny on so many levels.

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