I tripped over a song stanza below, written by Bob Dylan in 1980.
Have you got some unfinished business?
Is there something holding you back?
Are you thinking for yourself
Or are you following the pack?
Many people take great comfort in mimicking what others do, even in joining a surge, a movement. It’s the perceived safety of staying within the herd, and then not appearing to be the weakest one in it. Doubt or earnest inquiry might be interpreted as criticism, unbelief, or betrayal. Behave just so, and speak just so. I think that following the pack is often done to feel good without the bother of having to consider anything carefully. One mantra is replaced by another. One formula is replaced by another. We’re often looking for someone to follow, a perceived leader who seems to say what we want to hear.
We think only of politics in this, but it also works on social and personal levels. Seeking leadership is okay, but too frequently, their appeals are emotional and not thought through, and the goal of their call is simply to use us to get what they themselves want: the perks of leadership. Idealism and banner-waving are fine, but if that idealism is not intertwined with Read more…