Why bother?

It almost doesn’t matter if you convince one person to the right of wrong. To convince, doesn’t mean to influence. I’ve rarely seen people doing anything under influence other than crashing their cars or leaping to bed with a wrong person.

Remember, Nazi Germany could easily get swayed to starting war, or refraining from doing so. When Hitler was screaming, people were nodding their heads and when opposition contested… people nodded their heads. Cutting long story short of opposition going silent at certain point, people were left with one option. As this might seem a little bit too strong example to begin with, I think it’s somewhat arrogant to assume that Nazi’s Germany was indeed any different: less inteligent, or more easily influenced. I think that only economical reasons might be distinct, while the social framework had been and still is applicable to all man of all times. This one option is crucial to the understanding of people’s behaviours and indeed their very motivations. When I was young, I pitched this story to one of my collegues, who regarding himself highly, would disregard the argument on the basis that only he controls himself and he’s opinions are not to be changed (or crushed under right pressure as I’d argue). We picked one example to prove either of us right. I thought that he could indeed do something silly if he disagreed at the same time wanted to maintain his self respect or image and the very integrity he was selling to us. My point was that if he was persuaded to do something silly, he wouldn’t even noticed. Each of us has a fuse in their brain that let’s you go on even if you promise to yourself never eat chockolate when you’re caught with both hands in the jar next day. That fuse allows people to rationalise and justify their choices. Same applied to my collegue of course, so it didn’t take long before photos of him wearing clown’s clothes emerged in public. Silly indeed you’d say and bit embarrassing, this might appear to an untrained eye as because of the very fuse described above my collegue could provide perfectly clear justification of why he did this. Put mildly, “it was entirely different situation”, even though it never happened before and he never did this ever since. In fact it was a horrible corporate party idea, no one enjoyed him doing so, least himself. To conclude: why bother?

Interestingly, this has happened to me countless number of times and still I find it very difficult not to convince people to doing the right thing instead of changing their landscape so that the right thing remains their only option. This is my point here. To convince someone to behave particular way, you need to rearrange the whole financial, social and sometimes even personal surroundings. Pushing someone into doing something is not happening through rational babble, any physical act actually involving “pushing”. It’s creating psychological, financial and yes – sometimes even personal sets of circumstances that would lead him/her to the desired conclusion. I guess telling people to do something or not to appears like easy and perfectly sensible solution while in fact it’s just laziness and it doesn’t work even half as effective as carefully crafted play of chess.