Sunday, 18 December 2011


If one thing ever really irritated me, it's my own damn fallibility.

We're all fallible: few to no people can live their entire lives without making a single mistake. But what bothers me in particular is just how damn weak I and others are to persuasion, like advertising.

Have you ever walked out of the cinema or finished watching a TV show thinking "Damn, that was epic!" and then someone says "God I hated that," and you think "Huh... so did I."? Happens all the time. XKCD comics made a comic about that effect, but I can't find it for the life of me....

It would just seem that we're such insanely social creatures that we act according to fit into the crowd automatically, and so we're easily influenced by crowd behaviour. Which is why mobs and riots are so fucking dangerous. And it also makes you wonder about those experiments where one unwitting volunteer is pitted with other "volunteers" (who are actually actors in an experiment) and the actors all give a wrong answer to a question, the volunteer will probably give the wrong answer too. For example, if he's given two lines and everyone else says that one is longer than the other (but it isn't,) then the volunteer would likely agree, not even necessarily out of a desire to conform, but because we have it in our heads that the more people agree on a subject, the more likely it is to be true.

And it just pisses me off, because it affects me as much as it does the next guy. I find myself in a crowd believing one thing, everyone else insists the other thing, I find myself seriously questionning my original belief. I may very well be wrong, and often majority views are an indication of that. But just as often, they're an indication of a bias that is spread into the psyche of your community, and it's always possible that you are the only one that's right.

...It happens.


~Love Leonidas

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