June 5th 1945, Major Leopold Alexander landed in the Institute for Aviation Medicine to investigate the truth behind the rumours of brutal Nazi scientific experiments.
His investigation led him to a highly ranked scientist named Georg August Weltz. He reported to his superior who then reported to Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring (the man who ordered the “final solution” to the “Jewish question”).
During one of his interviews with Dr Alexander, Weltz eluded that he was responsible for finding a way to unfreeze Luftwaffe pilots that crash landed in the English Channel where most died from hypothermia and not the initial crash. The Luftwaffe wanted to find out if it was possible to “unfreeze a pilot” and bring him back to life.
Weltz then continued to share that he and his team of scientists had indeed achieved a ground-breaking discovery. Weltz and his team had found the answer to the question: “Can a man frozen to death be brought back to life?”
Weltz had pioneered a radical rewarming technique to achieve exactly that and the experiments were done on large animals and “adult pigs”. When pressed further, Weltz specifically said that no human experiments were done by him nor did he have any knowledge about the possibility of any such work.
Curious to see what Weltz had discovered, Dr Alexander followed him to a barn in a rural place that concealed a state-of-the-art laboratory. Weltz then led Dr Alexander to the back of the barn where the large animal experiments were conducted.
There, Weltz pointed a two dirty wooden tubs, cracked. That was when Dr Alexander shockingly realised that the tubs simply could not fit a cow, horse or even “adult pigs”. These tubs were meant to fit one thing: humans.
That is what the Nazis categorised the Jews as. Because Jews were not considered human, scientific testing on Jews were made legal.
Evil scientists had used this evil policy to conduct experiments on human beings. They had allowed themselves to succumb to the allure of popular thinking so that they could achieve ground-breaking scientific discoveries.
What is Popular Thinking?
Popular thinking to put it bluntly, is not thinking at all. Good thinking requires hard work and everyone would be able to do it if it was that easy. But that’s how everyone lives life, no one wants to put in the effort to think clearly and properly. No one wants to foot the bill of success. Wouldn’t it be easier to just follow what other people to do and hope that they thought through it properly?
What ends up happening is people blindly following orders. Just like Weltz and his team had done so. It’s easy to condemn these malevolent scientists for conducting illegal scientific experiments, but think about how often do we succumb to the same kind of herd mentality?
Have we bought a stock just because it’s all the rage and everyone’s been talking about it? Do you join the long queue at a food stall even though you haven’t the faintest idea of what they are really selling?
The truth is that we find safety and security in the popular thinking, in numbers. If everyone is here, then I must be in the right location. If everyone is here, they must be here because of something logical … right?
The Rise Of Cancel Culture
One of the most prominent way popular thinking has been displayed is through the whole cancel culture wave. During a cancel campaign, allegations get thrown around social media pertaining a certain individual, usually famous about some transgression that he/she has done (usually sexual in nature).
Here’s the kicker, when one person throws out the allegation, everyone else begins to pile on the allegation. So, instead of investigating the initial allegation, the appearance of the second allegation validates the first allegation and people automatically assume that everything is kosher and there is not a scent of misinformation in this whole situation.
It’s absurd. People with real lives and real jobs are majorly discredited by liars and fabricators, and for what? Pageviews on a blog? Personal vendettas?
These fabricators know that if I accuse someone for doing something 10 years ago, 20 years ago, it’s going to be hard for anyone to trace or prove anything at all. I just need to make the accusation as audacious and incendiary as possible to get the public stirred to action. And we all know how easy that is.
American comedian Bryan Callen went through all of that. He had been wrongly accused last year in 2020 for multiple sexual related allegations. Not only was the accusations unfounded, when Callen invited them to sit down and discuss the allegations face to face, they were silent and refused to meet.
But because the internet was judge, jury and executioner, nothing he said would make a difference. He was already locked up in cancel prison and with that lost key sponsorship deals. He even had to step away from his podcast “The Fighter And The Kid” that he owns and hosts to protect the people involved in the podcast. These are very real consequences for a man (and his family) that wasn’t allowed a chance to prove himself innocent
I’m not saying that every allegation that comes out in the media is false, but we all know that journalists certainly love delegating trust away from themselves. As long as the story sells, they’re running it!
There’s no way of knowing if the allegations are true or not, if there isn’t any real evidence to prove it. Instead, this process is left up to popular thinking to decide whether a person lives or dies on the internet.
Avoiding Popular Thinking
During one of our meetings, mentor Edward commented about the Gamestop stock situation. He said that while the people have the “power of numbers”, institutions have the “power of thinking” and the latter is way more powerful than the former.
So what can we do to avoid the pitfalls of popular thinking?
- Think before following
Sometimes we follow others like sheep because it’s simply more convenient to do so, we face no resistance on this path or we fear rejection. Whatever is it, understanding when it’s wise to follow and when you should not is the key to ensuring that you are not consumed by popular thinking.
Consider what’s the best thing to do, rather than what’s popular. If that means going with the flow, then by all means do so! But stop, think through clearly before making a decision. In this day and age where everything moves with lightning speed, it’s hard to stop and think.
2. Embrace thinking different from yours
It’s important to continually innovate the way you think and understand different perspectives because you may have pre-loaded many biases onto a certain topic and it’s always beneficial to glean from the thought processes of people that are more established compared to you.
Through this, not only will you grow in your knowledge, but your empathy grows too.
3. Question your own thinking
Finally, if you want to avoid popular thinking, constantly question your own thinking. Is there another way to solve this problem?
Am I being stubborn in my way? These are the questions everyone should ask themselves everyday. In an age where everyone expects everything to be given on demand, being reflective and stepping back to question yourself objectively actually slows you down and mitigates rash thinking.
Personally for me, once I write down my thoughts and ideas, I realise how flawed my thoughts are after reflecting on what I had written.
I hope that this has been helpful for you guys, leave me a comment if you have something to say, always happy to invite conversation :)
Till next week! Have a blessed day ahead.