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The Mindless Cult (Our Generation)

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“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know tomorrow.” -- Agent K (Men in Black)



All throughout history, people have been affected by their surroundings. In some cases in history, a person’s surroundings have been a power-hungry sovereign, a tyrannical dictator, or a progressive society. In the case of the majority of today’s generation -- the adolescents and teens of this era, are greatly affected by our peers. As the ever-wise Agent K says to Edwards of today’s society, once you place a person with even one other, they immediately start feeding off each other and magically lose the ability to think for themselves. As our world has evolved, my generation has come to be a mindless one, unable to make decisions without consulting another as to how it may affect their social status.

“My gosh…Junior and Senior High kids are like a cult! Ugh. I’m so glad I’m not one of them anymore.” My sister uttered these words once while sitting at Sonic. I had always thought she was crazy when she said things like this. But eventually, I saw for myself what she meant. While sitting at Sonic, I realized one of my old friends was there as well, hanging out with a few of his new friends. I watched in amazement as my friend (who I once knew to be very intelligent and sensible individual) become a complete moron while with these new friends of his. While it may not be to the extent of a cult as my sister said, it is true, we all (my generation especially) endlessly feed off of each other’s actions. In our natural, human desire to please those around us and to be the best at whatever is being done at the moment; our greatest flaws are brought out. In today’s society, it has become popular to do what would have previously been construed as scandalous or just plain dumb. This goes back to an age old conflict -- man vs. his society. Does the man stand up for what he believes to be right? Or does he give into the new standards to fit in and be cool to his friends? While there is the rare exception, the vast majority of teenagers fall into the latter category -- where society is victorious.

It is not only our basic actions, even our speech is affected by the people we hang out with. In a recent work group I worked in during English class, we discovered that we had all picked up some random phrases from our separate groups. Upon examining it further, I’ve come to the conclusion that it runs far deeper than just a few random phrases. Accents come to be because of the other languages spoken near to them and also just as the voice of one “cool” person originally said. Honestly, is it just this inherent inclination for people from Australia to say “down unda” or for people from the mid-West to say “neasty”? I say no. I suggest rather, that accents came to be due to the other languages around them. Russian accents, even when speaking English, sound far different than American English…were they affected by Asian languages? Clearly, the enormity of people affecting other people is far more massive than I originally suspected.

Not all the affects people have on other people can be negative though, right? One would think. When I first asked myself this question, I said, “Right, we also make each other strive to be better people, to compete!” I then realized that I had uncovered another truth about sticking people together and allowing them to communicate. They bring out the competitive nature in each other. If we were to simply give exams to students, and somehow enforce the rule of not comparing how each person did, we wouldn’t come across the people practically killing themselves just to get one point better than their arch nemesis. By doing so, we would alleviate the desire to cheat (all incentive to cheat has been taken away after all), as would many fights be put to rest.

While the idea of a bubble seems to allay many of the problems human nature presents, still more problems arise from this drastic solution. I was recently watching a portion of the show “Dog Town”. There was a pack of dogs that had been rescued from a puppy mill -- all were very unhealthy and very untamed. One trainer said, “Without the normal human contact all throughout their life, they now have no idea how to appropriately interact.” While we are not dogs, we do have the same animal instincts. We need contact with others to learn social skills. One cannot just be thrown into an environment after no contact and expect to be normal.

In this manner, it seems as if human contact is both harmful whether or not it is allowed to happen. It is therefore, the duty of my generation to find a happy medium. We all need to find a way to keep our social skills, however not letting our competitive/”must impress the others” side take hold. If we do not get a hold on this basic human instinct, the world could be in peril -- awaiting that one person who will eventually rise up and begin thinking for the rest of the mindless.





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