I was at Newark Airport yesterday on my way to Turkey when I noticed the darndest thing. I had a flight with a scheduled boarding time of 6:30. As you all know — unless you never travel by air — airlines do their best to control and organize whatever aspects of the airline business they can. Such a business is highly unpredictable and for this reason having control over whatever is possible is key to minimizing the pissiness of the travellers, a.k.a. the paying customers.
Now, going through airport security lugging around an overflowing backpack is stressful. Once you finally make your way to the gate after undressing, redressing, unpacking repacking and being fondled by airport security, all you want to do is get on that plane, find your seat and wait until the stewardess offers you some cognac.
For those of you that travel, you may very well have noticed this phenomenon: as soon as boarding time draws near, crowds of people start lining up to board the aircraft. This may make sense to you at first, but what you need to consider is that the airport — organizing what they can — has a procedure when it comes to boarding the plane. Here’s a hint: it’s not a free-for-all.
First the airline will call those who have wheelchairs, need special assistance or are traveling with infants to board. This will often occur just prior to first and business class boarding the plane. Then you will have the last 10 rows board and continue to go by increments of 10 or so until everyone’s row has been called. I was flying on an Airbus that seats over 300 people and has about 60 rows.
Why in the world were 275 out of those 300 people already waiting on line before boarding even started? No matter whether you are waiting in line or not, when your row gets called, you board the plane — not before then. So why wait in line, uncomfortably, with bags and suits hanging off your arms and shoulders while you could be sitting and relaxing until it’s time to get on the plane?
The answer is simple: most people are sheep blindly following a herd. You may feel that this statement is a bit too highfalutin to draw from what I described, but what other reason could you possibly give for it? I literally saw hundreds of people waiting in line who, for the most part, looked disgruntled, stressed and very uncomfortable—I had a great view because I was sitting down in one of the many empty seats nearby staring at all of these irrational people. You could see it in their eyes that they were unhappy. So why not sit down?
Why not stop to consider that maybe just because everyone else is standing in line, that you have no reason to be. Not to mention, this is before the ticketed boarding time so not only did these people decide to wait in line until their row was called, they decided to wait in line until they started calling rows. You can’t tell me that they were most likely first-time travellers because most of them were clearly not from the U.S. — so unless they got here by boat or walked across the pond hand-in-hand with Jesus, this wasn’t their first rodeo.
You see these blind leading the blind scenarios all the time. Human beings have in their brains these little things called mirror neurons. We see monkey do, so we do what monkey does — it sounds silly, but it’s a real thing; look it up. While some scientists claim that these mirror neurons allow us to empathize with one another — which I am not arguing against — what is ever so clearer is the fact that due to these mirror neurons, we find ourselves thinking less for ourselves and copying others more.
This can be easily spotted during times when you meet someone new that happens to have some sort of accent or talks in a certain slang. Our brains are wired to mimic the way they talk. You may yourself have noticed how after spending enough time with one of your friends, you start to adapt some of their sayings and incorrect pronunciations of words. However, it’s not just words that we mimic, but body language as well. We are wired to mimic others in order to allow them to feel more comfortable around us — it’s a mechanism of helping us to get along.
Which is dandy. But when these mirroring techniques begin to take the rightful place of rational thinking, we are on the verge of a huge problem. It seems as if most people have some sort of innate trust in other people — maybe not so much in what they say, but rather in what they do. You may not believe a person when he gives you directions, but if he says he is going the same way, you are almost definitely going to follow him. Your thinking is that sure, he may lie to you in order to put you in a bad position, but he wouldn’t put himself in a bad position.
This is usually true — however, since you are following him, who is to say that he isn’t following her? And who is to say that she isn’t following that other dude? People put their trust in other people assuming that they did some thinking of their own. But guess what! They are just as lazy as you and didn’t bother to think for themselves. They followed that other guy; you know…that one with the tin foil hat on his head calling himself Jesus. No, not Kanye. The guy Kanye is following.
This is the reason why you have the masses doing the same thing all the time. This is why things get popular overnight and die down over breakfast. This is why Facebook is a billion dollar company and why Google is synonymous with “looking sh*t up online.” This lack of thought is why we have riots and protests all over the world, why we have huge movements that disappear at the blink of an eye and why religion has claimed the lives of billions. People don’t stop to think for themselves. I was about to say that people “no longer” think for themselves, but the truth is that they never have.
Most of us don’t bother to consider the actual world around us and what significance it holds — instead we spew some garbage that we heard on FOX News or from our half-witted friend Toby. Aren’t any of you tired of listening to people debating politics and talking about how awful this leader is and that leader is when the truth is that none of you know what the f*ck is actually going on in the world.
None of you know all the facts and instead of bothering to actually figure them out (which is pretty much impossible unless you are the one calling the shots), you just regurgitate some crap rhetoric some other idiot regurgitated. If you don’t know, then find out. Don’t just do things, say things or believe things because everyone else does. A million idiots are just a million idiots.