Monday, September 7, 2015

I Am Human Watch Me Roar: The Love It or Leave It Mentality

I have been studying humans intellectually and academically for forty some years now and I have to say that they continue to fascinate me. They fascinate me not because I learn something new about them everyday. They fascinate me because it's just the opposite, I continually see them doing the same things over and over again. I learned this universal lesson over again this weekend.

Over the weekend I learned from several sources, sources, by the way, who have never given me inaccurate information, that the Board of the Honest Weight Food Store was going to appoint someone to an empty Board seat. I learned that they were not going to do it as they had the last time--appoint the individual who had the most votes among those not elected to the Board--but were going to interview those who came in fourth and fifth in a Board election where only three, two of them incumbents, were elected.

During me free time, during my break time, on Sunday I informed members and staff of Honest Weight about this important information while no customers were present. Most of them listened and then intellectually processed the facts and finally, made a considered decision on how to respond to the factual information I provided. One staff member, however, told management that I was "saying bad things about Honest Weight". I wasn't, of course, I was just communicating the facts to others, but it is this notion that I was bad mouthing Honest Weight that I want to talk about in the rest of this blog and reflect briefly on what it says about human behaviour.

Some humans react to information intellectually. Most, however, as was the case with the staff member above, react to things emotionally. Reacting to facts emotionally, of course, has a long history. I think the first time I learned about it and experienced was when, during the Vietnam War, I, an activist against the war, was confronted by the love it or leave it crowd. Their response to my reasoned opposition to the war was usually not a reasoned response. It was usually love it--an emotion--or leave it--it being the object of their emotional attachment, in this case being that inanimate object known as the United States. Some people, you see, fear the truth particularly when the truth conflicts with their emotionally driven ideological presumptions.

The emotional reaction of one Honest Weight member staff, of course, is in every way an emotional reaction of the same kind. Interestingly, this staff member didn't express at the time any unwillingness to talk about the issue (or was it perhaps someone who overheard the conversation?) or didn't come to me with his or her "concerns" about me saying "bad" things about the Honest Weight Food Store. He or she instead went straight to management. Leaving behind the question of why this staff member didn't come to me first but went directly to management, this emotional reaction points up once again several things in general. First, humans often mistake facts for an almost demonic criticism, and, second, humans tend to react to things in emotional ways even when the object of their devotion is an inanimate object (an inanimate object that since it is a corporation would probably be categorised as a person by the US Supreme Court). The more things change the more they stay the same when it comes to human behaviour. Beam me up Scotty!

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