There is an article over at the City Social Marketing Blog called “…And People Wonder Why?” that delves into the reactions of people to the recent Phoenix-Radar Shooting. The article is a commentary upon today’s society and the way (some) people think that compounds the problems of today’s world.
In high school I signed up for a class called “Persuasion and Propaganda”. The class mostly dealt with how people, mostly advertising companies and politicians, used such tools as “The Fallacies of Logic” (http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/) and “Imagery” to persuade people into a particular way of thinking in order to gain support for a political agenda or to sell a product or idea. It turned out to be one of the most interesting classes that I have taken and the lessons went far beyond the usual ‘wanting to pass a course to graduate” category that most classes fell. I’ve always gave credit to this course for my not being so willing to follow the herd as many of the people around me seemed to do.
Early in life I have heard the term “Think outside the box”, I am not sure when I first heard the term used – but I know I heard it expressed fairly often by 1974. The “Box” being spoken of is not a physical box, but rather it’s a non-tangible block that impedes a person from thinking differently or seeing things from a new and different perspective.
In 1979 Pink Floyd released the album “The Wall”. The Wall was basically about one man’s struggle with mental isolation and how he built a mental wall around himself to shield him from the world. “The Box” is a form of “Wall” used mainly to shield one’s views and ideas from other ideas that may hurt or help the concepts in one’s mind. The Wall and The Box are very similar in nature.
Over the years I have seen where many people proclaim, usually with great passion, “There is no box!” Usually when someone stresses this idea it means they are so married to their own views and ideas that they reject the very notion that they, in fact, be imprisoned by a ‘box’ of their own construction. They want the very idea that their thinking could possibly be limited by their own biases and beliefs, usually in the attempt to convince others just how great the ideas they present are.
Where does this come into play with the article over at CSM?
The concept of a “Wall” or “Box” comes into play with this discussion where people get so ‘married to their ideas’ that they forego the usual boundaries of common morality or ethics and common sense. They may be so opposed to the idea of these photo-radar units that it blurs their thinking, so they begin to rationalize something they would normally abhor (such as a murder of an innocent man) by the use of pseudo-logic and false reasoning. The result is that a person, who may be perfectly reasonable and logical over other issues, suddenly becomes fanatical and unreasonable over the issue that is near and dear to their heart to the degree that they will go to great lengths to justify the atrocity.
I am intentionally leaving out the “Troll” aspect because trolls live in their own neat, little world and are often guided by things like attention seeking and their need to disrupt.
In some cases “The Box” or “Wall” will actually go beyond the protection of ideas or opinion and enter into the realm of action. These people could be spurred to simple protests or go as far as doing harm or murdering another person for the sake of the idea or belief. In some cases the person could abhor the very idea of war and killing, but when it comes to the belief they hold dear then murder or terrorism becomes justifiable in their minds. In other words it may be ok to them if a few people are killed in the bombing of an abortion clinic or die because of something like a photo-radar unit being destroyed.