Herd Control

>>  Monday, September 27, 2010

Heather from Notes in Lapland  recently blogged about blogger behaviour that often upsets groups of people by directly berating posts of others but often without naming names and sometimes by the finger pointer displaying themselves as victims, looking for sympathy and looking to sway the tide of opinion against the other blogger.

This is a very difficult situation where the balance between open healthy debate and causing deep hurt is sometimes undone. I haven't been at the centre of any of this but the debates about the ethically correct way to deal with it has left me thinking a lot.

I am a believer in 'herd control'. If someone is doing something that a group considers unacceptable then the group simply says "that isn't how we behave around here". I think if an entire group ignores behaviour that is unwanted but openly rewards what is, then people (innately seeking acknowledgement and inclusion) will do what leads to the rewards. If we react to the unacceptable, attention seekers may continue to behave in that manner because they want any attention whether good or bad.

This approach has always been used in toddler taming in my family. We step over a tantrum, simply saying we don't do that here, I am ready for you when you are ready to be nice and walk away (yes even in a supermarket with on lookers!). It often works in my adult relationships saying "I don't want to have a shouting match about this, if we can't reason it out now then can we come back to it later". I believe this says "I don't find shouting acceptable but I am prepared to discuss the issue later" and my husband will do the same with me. Rising above the initial charge of reactive emotion and working out how to maintain a positive approach is a hard thing to do and something I regularly fail to do, but is always my aim or wished for behaviour.

But there are a number of issues with this approach. You can't always ignore bad behaviour. It would be wrong to turn a blind eye to someone being attacked, bullied or hurt. Sometimes the "hey, we don't do it that way around here" has to be said out loud.

So exhibiting correct behaviour isn't ignoring nor is it ostracism. Ostracism could be used a a passive form of bullying and manipulation. Exhibiting the correct behaviour is some where in between.

I feel all this is leading me back to Desiderata, if I could live to this most of the time I would be very proud of myself and it is who I strive to be.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be Happy

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