Sheeple – a blend of the words sheep and people. Used to describe people who tend to believe what others have told them, without finding out for themselves if the information is correct.we can all be sheeple. How often have you listened to your friends when they told you something, and never questioned it, other than to perhaps say, “No, you’re kidding!” They are your friends, you trust them, you could never believe they would tell you an untruth. Are you sure about that?
What about your parents? Have they ever told you something as you grew up, which you may have later found out not to be the case? You blindly believed it at the time though. The media, the Government, your teachers, your siblings and even your children will tell you things that you take as read.
Here’s an example:
On a female hospital ward, one of the more mature and popular ladies singled out a much younger and shy girl. The mature lady went around the ward whispering and telling the others that the small lumps seen all over the young girls body were because she lacked personal hygiene methods, and were caused by dirt. The rest of the ladies on the ward were immediately disgusted upon hearing this and avoided the younger girl, not wishing to be near her, and would repeatedly whisper derogatory remarks about her.
This went on for several days, until a new patient arrived, and was treated to the same “Don’t go near her, she is dirty, look at those lumps.” type of comments. The new patient listened to all this, and later approached the younger girl after noticing how alone she was. A conversation was struck up, and the new patient tactfully asked about the lumps.
The young girl had a rare form of cancer that causes many tumours to grow all over her body. She had spent many years in and out of hospital having surgery on the tumours, with the knowledge that she would probably spend the rest of her life undergoing such treatments.
Such attitudes and the tendency to blindly believe what we are told are commonplace. We need to think for ourselves. Many of us believe we do, but we are ingrained with ‘bandwagon behaviour.’ A following of the crowd mentality.
If we do perchance think about things, we justify not seeking answers, with reasons such as:
- I believe my friend/Spouse/family etc.
- I don’t want to upset people, they’ll think I disbelieve them.
- that’s how it’s always been.
- Millions of people can’t be wrong.
- Well it said so in the [insert any newspaper/news service here]
How many people do you know that suddenly developed an interest in football and being patriotic during the last world cup? People who only weeks before could be heard to say how they held no interest in football, hung England flags in their windows and on their cars. they walked around with England t-shirts and watched every match. They shouted out time worn phrases, and offered opinions on who was the best player, usually only being able to talk about the current popular footballer and things reported by the media.
Nothing wrong with enjoying football or being patriotic. Patriotism is not a one off event though. It is a state of being. Take Glasgow in Scotland. There are two major football teams. Glasgow Rangers and Celtic. More so in past times, but still prevalent today, is the view that by default if you are Catholic then you will support Celtic, and if you are protestant then you follow Rangers.
There are a lot of people who like things, do things and follow things, yet have no idea why they do these things. They have never analysed themselves and the world around them. How many of you have music in your collection that you are embarrassed to admit owning? Why are you embarrassed? You obviously liked it enough to purchase it and listen to it. Do you dislike owning up to having it because everyone else says it’s no good, or because you bought it at the time when everyone said it was great even though you didn’t really like it?
Think for yourselves. You have no need to disbelieve information you read or hear about, but find out for yourself if it is true, and how it affects the world around you. Don’t blindly follow the herd simply out of fear of not entering the clique. Allow yourself to be an individual and feed your mind.
I remained friends with the younger girl from hospital for years. Had I listened blindly to the other patients, I would have lost out on a valuable friendship.