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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lemming Or Independent Thinker - Life Lesson 11

It is a myth that lemmings jump as a group over a cliff to kill themselves. It is a fact that they will migrate on occasion collectively. Scientists have several theories but no one seems to be able to get into the mind of the rodent for the complete answer. Hence they do go en mass together even though it occasionally is group destruction. They will go off a cliff into the water and attempt to swim to another area for reasons of their own.  Sometimes they do not have the endurance to make that swim and die in the process. They start out with good intentions but all end up dying anyway. It is not understood why this rodent joins a mass of others of like kind but they do and seem to attempt to migrate as a group. Sometimes it doesn't work out for them. 

Over the years many comparisons have been made between the apparent self destructive tendencies of the lemming and humans. Both mis judge their capacity and ability.  While the mass suicide of lemmings is a myth the comparison between their self destruction and humans who follow others or agenda's blindly is anything but myth. I have personally observed that some people find it easier to follow a false ideal, a convincing person, or what appears to them what may be the right direction than to think for themselves.

As a matter of fact I see articulate people who can express themselves very adroitly with good educations blindly follow what is flawed, what makes no sense or is destructive to others or themselves on a regular basis.  Some support people who are clearly defective out of a sense of friendship or for reasons that only a therapist could fathom. Friendship is not following( like a lemming) blindly even when you know that ideal or friend is wrong.  A good friend will give that friend who is headed wrongly another choice of a right or better way and still support them as a friend. Supporting someone who is clearly wrong or with evil intentions is not being a good friend. The old axiom that two wrongs don't make a right is flawlessly correct and two people who choose to do wrong don't make a right either. It just makes two people very wrong.  It is better to support a friend but not endorse or support their bad idea or choice and therefore become part of that bad decision. 

We humans seem to be conditioned to be followers and not think independently for ourselves anymore. We have various forms of media that prefer us that way. Some people are so committed to always being right that they manipulate others who may not agree with them. They are persuaded that like the lemming the bigger following they can accumulate the more right they are. The challenge for all of us is to think independently and base our decisions on established facts and not loyalties or half truths.  A half fact is also  half lie. It is possible to support a friend and not what they are doing. 

 This would be this old mountain man's life lesson #11.  Be yourself, think for yourself, make choices and decisions based upon fact and not instinct or half truths.  Instinct can be wrong sometimes even though it may seem right. By the time you discover you are wrong you just may be to far down that trail to recover and save yourself. If you are afraid you will lose a friend if you disagree with them - maybe they weren't much of a friend to begin with.  You have become a lemming who will perish with the mass of other lemmings who may just be blind followers and not independent thinkers.  

One of my favorite sayings is:  "Never Judge till you've heard the other side." Euripides (480-406 B.C.)  By listening to only one side you may have heard only half the story.  If you take the time to listen to all the facts you might be tempted to take the other side.  It takes less effort to be hasty than correct. I have personally witnessed many a reputation be ruined by those who were hasty and then spent enormous effort to proof their faulty thinking was right and did not have a real friend to disagree with them respectfully. Don't be a lemming, it is not a good choice at all and could end in your friends destruction as well as your own.      


Skip B. said...


It is my observance that there are more lemmings living in Forbes Park than independent thinkers. I believe there is a small group of lemmings who are led by one person in particular who is obsessed with controlling the FPLOA. He has lived in FP for over 14 years and is still driving around with TX license plates.

Last summer, the head lemming told his followers not to speak to me ever again. This went on for the entire summer. Not one person from his group spoke to me or my wife for the entire summer even though we attended the same church where this group attended.

Now his group has decided to run two from their group to run against me for re-election if I should decide to run for another term as a board director. Being an independent and belonging to no group, it may be very difficult to win against this group of permanent residents. I suppose I am going to have to decide pretty soon or else they will regain their control of our association once again.

Thanks for writing the lemming article. It is very appropriate for some of the full-timers residing in Forbes Park.

Skip B.

Carol said...

Skip, couldn't agree more. Also in many situations like Bruce described if you don't "join the pack" you are singled out and disrespected by "the lemmings". I say HAVE AT IT as I don't want to be park of their pack. Be an independent thinker/doer! The Pied Pier and Jim Jones also come to your own person.

There is everything to be gained and nothing to be lost.

Patricia M said...

It's not easy to refuse to go with the flow and be ostracized. But, then, who wants to jump off a cliff just because everyone else is doing it.

Hope you run for the Board, Skip. We need independent thinkers like you.