Friday, December 5, 2014

Dare To Dissent

All it takes is one person casting their vote in the opposite direction to upset the apple cart. That is what happens when someone dares to take a stand against the group think mentality that seems to encompass community after community. Is it culture that creates group think or is it simply what happens when large numbers of supposedly like minded people come together? But what happens when someone disagrees with everyone else? All too often it seems as though they become outcasts simply for daring to voice their opinion; the same option that others have done but with a different voice. And why is this so wrong?

Group think is a strange phenomenon but I've seen it happen again and again regardless of what community I find myself in. Whether it be an opinion on the local schools, hospitals or the best place to buy vegetables, if anyone dares to express an opinion that goes against the status quo a backlash ensues. This happens quite frequently on social media. First someone (innocently) poses a question. Responses are quick to flow in with one person after another singing the accolades or decrying the quality of the place or item in question. And interestingly enough the replies tend to follow a similar flow...until they don't. Someone expresses an opinion that is counter to those of everyone else. Perhaps they had a negative experience or simply didn't like something but why should their opinion be any less valued than everyone else's? It shouldn't be yet it seems to be. Conversation treads can suddenly take a turn away from the original question at hand and focus on the person who rocked the boat.

Sometimes I feel like I could be the person to rock that boat here. The doctor that everyone gushes about being the best and having a great bedside manner? Well, I was less than impressed. The same goes for the "helpful" customer service that people receive at the grocery store. While not bad per se, I think the people working there are simply doing their job rather than going above and beyond. The best communities and neighborhoods to live in? Well the one that everyone says is horrible and has the most crime is the one I live in and we both love it and feel completely safe. The right option when it comes to schools? Many would disagree, but I'm completely satisfied with the choice we made. After all, each and every one of these opinions are personal and should be respected. None are right and none are wrong; they simply are individual opinions which should remain just that. Yet group think always manages to creep into the mix. Why is that?

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