You may be familiar with the “invisible fence” concept. A dog is habituated to stay in his yard by the instilled fear of receiving an electrical shock from a buried electrical “fence.” One can turn off the electricity – and the dog will remain within his yard, out of learned fear of the electrical shock, even if it is no longer actually there to shock him.
I saw a lot of such dogs at Wal-Mart yesterday. They have been taught to obey signs out of fear of repercussions which aren’t there. No one says anything to a person who walks into the store without a “mask” on. You can just walk in – right past the sign, which has no power to stop you. It’s the same at most supermarkets, too.
But fear – and social pressure – very effectively stop almost everyone from daring to show their face.
Reflexive obedience to signage – and the social pressure to look like everyone else – has achieved what force no longer requires. People, in the main do as they are told without it being necessary to even tell them anymore.
Pavlov knew all about such conditioning.
Still, it is depressing to not see people’s faces when they are free to show them.
Which brings up another animal analogy:
Sheep – and wolves.
The analogy isn’t so much about who’s for dinner as it is about who’s not a herd creature. It only takes one shepherd to herd a whole herd of sheep. It is why they are for dinner.
It is also why they “mask” even when they aren’t forced to.
Wolves are harder to herd. There’s an alertness in their eyes. You can almost see the gears turning in their minds as they evaluate a situation and come to a decision on their own. Wolves are pack animals but that is very different from being a herd animal. Wolves jockey for position within the pack hierarchy. They are rarely passive. They are also exceptionally acute at identifying weakness – as well as strength. A wolf will back down if forced to by a stronger wolf but will never defer to a weaker one.
Much less a nonexistent one.
Or a sign that says:
No wolves allowed.
Wolves have more self-respect.
It’s pathetic how sheeplike so many Americans are. How easily they are herded – by signage. Even when they can see by the example of wolves that showing their faces would not result in any repercussions save perhaps the uneasiness of their fellow sheep. Better to baaaaaaa! together than stand out from the herd, apparently.
But there are still some wolves – and these few may serve to shepherd the herd in a better direction. Such as the store manager of a supermarket in Naples, Florida who placed a sign by the door to his store letting the sheep know it was safe to show their faces, if they wished to do so.
And they did – almost all of them.
All it took was a sign.
Much to the feigned outrage of other wolves, not so benevolent. These are the wolves who want to herd the sheep, because they’re what’s for dinner – so to speak. These wolves have been using dominance rituals (and long before the excuse given about “stopping the spread”) to keep the sheep in line, snarling at them when necessary.
NBC News – which bears the same relation to news that the Department of Defense bears to peace – called the sight of healthy people showing their faces “shocking.” Which it is – to wolves who count on the sheep keeping their faces down.
Everything hangs in the balance, to be tipped one way or the other not by the sheep but by the wolves, who are always the ones who determine the course of the sheep.
This fight comes down to two wolf factions. The one faction fights not so much for the sheep but for itself, knowing that the other faction will use the sheep to establish its dominance. The first faction isn’t interested in the sheep, per se but is very much interested in remaining wolves.
The first faction is also in its own way benevolently inclined toward the sheep in that it has no interest in them as dinner. These wolves only want the freedom of action to be wolves and if some sheep decide to make the transition, all the better. From the point of view of these wolves, the more wolves the better because it makes it harder to herd.
This is why it is so important to be a wolf, if you can summon the gumption to ignore a sign.
Stop baaaaaaa’ing! – and wearing a “mask” just because you see herds of sheep wearing them. Let them baaaaaaaa! – while you show your face.
If you do, you’ll feel a lot less like a sheep.
. . .
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