When the Ship Enters Rough Waters
January 10, 2015
Imagine a giant ship full of people, everyone up on the deck, socializing, talking, laughing, sharing meals together, doing business with each other, parties here and there, everyone weaving amongst each other, everyone fitting in, everyone doing what everyone else is doing. This is society.
The ship might turn to the left. The ship might turn to the right. The direction doesn't matter to the people on the deck because they are all together, and that is what matters to them—getting along, fitting in, being part of the crowd, being agreeable, doing what everyone else is doing.
Then the ship enters rough waters. It used to be stable; now it rocks wildly to and fro. And everyone is stumbling around on the deck, bumping into each other, spilling their drinks, getting sick, vomit on the deck, vomit on each other. Yet, despite the heaving of the ship, they're all still socializing on the deck, doing their best to keep their feet underneath them as the ship rolls violently back and forth. They're still talking and laughing and being together because that's all they know how to do—fitting in with everyone else, getting along, going where everyone else is going, being agreeable, not causing a disturbance. They are part of the crowd, and they are doing what the crowd is doing, and if that means they are stumbling about and sicking up on themselves, then at least they are fitting in with everyone else because that is what matters to them, that is what they know how to do, that is what they want to do.
But what about you? What do you do? Do you stand there socializing as the ship rocks wildly? Do you laugh at the jokes? Do you join the conversations? Or do you remind yourself of the calm waters from before and wonder how the ship can be steered back to them? You have a choice to make. Being part of the crowd means ignoring the direction of the ship and the state of the water. The crowd doesn't pay attention to which way the ship is going. The crowd only cares about fitting in up on the deck. But you can't fit in when you're trying to change the direction of the ship because doing that causes a disturbance, doing that isn't being agreeable, doing that isn't being like everyone else.
So what do you do? Do you continue socializing with everyone on the deck? Do you continue fitting in? Do you continue doing what everyone else is doing, going along with the flow, just like everyone else? Or do you try to change the direction of the ship? You can't do both. You have a choice to make. What do you do?