“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
This quote from Oscar Wilde has a great deal of meaning. Its implications for each human, if you think about it, are profound. Are we in fact merely composite imitations of other people?
The fact is that, initially, each baby learns by direct imitation then, slowly, through being exposed to the thoughts, opinions, actions and cautions of parents. Then it's off to childcare then kindergarten where the alphabet is introduced, then to many years of schooling based upon learning and regurgitating what teachers say while also absorbing what books and television say. Later a young man or woman may go to university and learn and regurgitate what lecturers and professors say and...so the merry-go-round of imitation turns.
But where is there place in all this for original thought? Where is there the opportunity to find one's own truth? It seems that we mainly learn the 'truth' from others who in turn have learned it from other others. What if the first person to cite the truth got it wrong? For example, once people were told the world was flat!
On a previous post, the University article, one commenter asked for 'citations.' In other words, what I was maintaining could have no credibility unless someone else, someone 'important', had said it first and I used their words to justify my thoughts. How programmed can people be? Answer: completely!
Perhaps that's why truth is so hard to find. As Schopenhauer said: All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Thanks to Phill for bringing it to my attention.
So it seems that the following applies: most people's knowledge, views and beliefs come from imitating other people. Then, should someone, a non-conformist with a questioning mind, present an opposing point of view (shock, horror) most people will ridicule that person. If that fails to silence the dissenter, then they will attack him or her, in a pack if necessary. Then, ironically, if the opposing point of view eventually turns out to be right, these same people, with a straight face, will say, "Well, everyone knew that!"
Sometimes I think it pays to be a conformist! But a man has to do what a man has to do.
P.S. While we're talking about conformity, the author of one blog, an 'academic' no less, assertively tells his flock: I’m getting fed up...with people who flagrantly disregard moderation requests in order to make some idiosyncratic point about their own beliefs or views.
How can a comment not be idiosyncratic? How can a comment not express its writer's view or belief? Perhaps the author should write all the comments!