April 4

“As a goose is not frightened by cackling nor a sheep by bleating, let not the clamor of a senseless multitude alarm you.” – Epictetus

Humans. We are a fun but complicated species. Individually we can have debates, we can be exposed to ideas that are so foreign to us that we would consider them repugnant. But we can enter into these arenas of thought with civility and leave them with our dignity intact.

But put a few dozen of us together and show us an editorial cartoon that we do not like and suddenly we are willing to destroy property that does not belong to us and even harm (or kill) people who do not agree with us. About the cartoon.

What is worse, we can see from the sidelines how it happens but we somehow lack the sensibility to recognize that people in these large groups are not acting or behaving in the same manner that they would if they could be separated out and reasoned with. Instead, we assign all manners of beliefs and character qualities to people who are acting in exactly the same manner we would if we were in any one of the groups that form around ideas as simple and easy to draw inference about as the opinion in an editorial cartoon. We allow the voices that scream at each other for four minute segments on shows that purport to be news to inflame our senses and stroke the little voices our egos have been developing in the backgrounds of our consciousness.

Instead, we should be silencing those voices and focusing on the one thing we should have control over. Our minds. We should be seeing the groupthink of society for what it is, ignoring it, and continuing to set an example of self control and emotional discipline.

virtus fortis vocat

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