The Herd / La Manada

The Herd

La Manada

We, as humans, as social beings, need to belong.
We develop an intrinsic belief that our inclusion as part of a larger group is a necessary part of our survival as individuals.
First, I’ll give a formal definition of what a social group is.
‘A social group consists of two or more people who interact with one another and who recognize themselves as a distinct social unit. The definition is simple enough, but it has significant implications. Frequent interaction leads people to share values and beliefs. This similarity and the interaction cause them to identify with one another. Identification and attachment, in turn, stimulate more frequent and intense interaction. Each group maintains solidarity with all other groups and other types of social systems’. (sociologyguide.com)
That said, the powerful pull of our instincts has always been used by leaders, religion and finance to keep us firmly within the Herd. Individuals feel safe within the limits imposed by the Herd because it is easier to give up parts of your individuality for the support of knowing you’re never alone than to face the wild world alone and rely on your own abilities.
It’s always been about being ‘in’. Whatever is ‘in’ is right.
Whatever is not ‘in’ is looked upon as dubious, distasteful or downright dangerous. That applies to ideas, things or people.
Whatever (whoever) is adopted by the Herd must serve a purpose: to enforce the structure of the Herd, as is. Dissent is perceived as a menace to the foundations, to the very existence of the group.
Nowadays, we like to think of ourselves as modern, progressive, tolerant, inclusive. We accept the existence of different cultures and creeds. Some even advocate for a global culture because, after all, we’re all human, aren’t we?
I’d have to answer that in two ways.
First, obviously, I’d have to say ‘Yes, we are indeed all human. We are all equal in dignity, or we should be.’
After which I’d have to add, ‘However, we shouldn’t have to justify our differences because that’s the way we build useless walls that separate. Things, and people, don’t have to be the same as you are to be valid.’
And now, I will tangle the web.
I am in favour of diverse cultures. Diversity is in the nature of the world and of human societies. I fear,nevertheless, that in our quest for acceptance we may flip over from being tolerant to being against any manifestation of traditional cultures that are not considered endangered. It seems to be that people are so in favour of other cultures and appreciating the exotic and unique that they seem to forgo their own local culture in a well-intentioned but rather myopic attempt to prove their worldliness and their tolerance.
In my town, for example, there is a bagpipe band formed by local people. During the local summer feasts, there is a parade with different acts from several places in our country and occasionally from other parts of the world. Spectators clap and cheer the acts from far away places much more than our traditional bagpipe band, which everyone agrees is excellent and has in fact won several prizes both nationally and internationally.
Their music represents a tradition that many believe to be backwards. It reminds them of their ancestral roots. It is a music that was created by illiterate peasants, farmers and shepherds. It is embedded in the collective memory as something to be wary of and to not acknowledge as useful or dignified. It contains the hopes, laments and struggles of countless generations. In those times, the mores of long ago were a clear reference of how a certain group of people became what they were. They wove together yesterday with today and tomorrow, forming a tapestry to which each generation added or modified their own threads for posterity.
This is something to think about. Why do we readily accept other cultures while hushing our own? What is shameful about having a culture that is strong?
There is an African saying: Never trust a naked man who offers you the shirt off his back. Never trust a culture that has nothing good to say about itself, but supports other cultures heartily.
-/-
Como humanos, como seres sociales, necesitamos pertenecer.
Desarrollamos una creencia intrínseca de que nuestra inclusión como parte de un grupo mayor es necesaria para nuestra supervivencia como individuos.
Primero, daré una definición formal de lo que es un grupo social.
‘Un grupo social consiste en dos o más personas que interactúan unos con otros y que se reconocen como una unidad social distintiva. La definición es simple, pero tiene considerables implicaciones. La interacción frecuente lleva a la gente a compartir valores y creencias. Esta similitud y la interacción les lleva a identificarse unos con otros. Identificación y apego, a su vez, estimulan mayor y más frecuente interacción. Cada grupo mantiene solidaridad con todos los demás grupos y con otros tipos de sistemas sociales.’ (sociologyguide.com)
Dicho esto, el poderoso influjo de nuestros instintos siempre se ha utilizado por líderes, religiones y financieros para mantenernos firmemente dentro de la Manada. Los individuos se sienten a salvo dentro de los límites impuestos por la manada porque es más fácil renunciar a partes de tu individualidad a cambio de apoyo, de saber que nunca estas solo, en vez de enfrentarte al mundo cruel tú solo y fiarte de tus recursos.
Siempre ha sido lo que está ‘aceptado’. Si está ‘aceptado’, está bien.
Todo lo que no esté’aceptado’ es dudoso, de poco gusto o directamente peligroso. Es igual para personas, ideas o cosas.
Lo que (el que) sea adoptado, ‘aceptado’, por la Manada debe cumplir una función: reforzar la estructura de la Manada, tal cual. La disensión se percibe como una amenaza a los cimientos, a la propia existencia del grupo.

Actualmente, nos gusta creer que somos modernos, progresistas, tolerantes, inclusivos. Aceptamos la existencia de distintas culturas y creencias, e incluso hay quienes abogan por una cultura universal, porque, a fin de cuentas, todos somos humanos, ¿no?
Vayamos por partes.
Primero, tendría que decir que sí, que obviamente todos somos humanos e iguales en dignidad, o deberíamos serlo.
Después, diría que no deberíamos tener que disculparnos por nuestras diferencias poruqe ésa es la manera de crear muros inútiles que separan. La gente y las cosas no tienen que ser igual que tú o lo tuyo para ser válidas.
Y ahora voy a liar la madeja.
Estoy a favor de la diversidad de culturas. La diversidad está en la naturaleza del mundo y en las sociedades huma nas. Me temo, no obstante, que en nuestro afán de aceptación nos pasemos de ser tolerantes a estar en contra de cualquier manifestación de cultural tradicionales que no se consideren en peligro. Parece que la gente está tan a favor de otras culturas y de apreciar lo exótico y lo único que se desentienden de sus propias culturas locales en un bienintencionado ,aunque miope, intento de probar su amplitud de miras y su tolerancia.
En mi localidad, por ejemplo, hay una banda de gaitas compuesta por gente del lugar. Durante las fiestas de verano hay un desfile con actuaciones de otras partes del país y a veces , del mundo. Los espectadores aplauden con más entusiasmo a los participantes de lugares lejanos que a nuestra banda de gaitas, que todos reconocen como excelente, y que de hecho ha ganado premios nacionales e internacionales.
Su música representa una tradición que para muchos es un atras. Les recuerda a sus raíces ancestrales. Es una música creada por campesinos analfabetos, ganaderos y pastores.Está grabada en al memoria colectiva como algo de lo que avergonzarse y desconfiar, como algo inútil e indigno. Contiene las esperanzas, los lamentos y las luchas de incontables generaciones. En otros tiempos, las costumbres de antaño servían de referencia para saber como un grupo de personas habían llegado a ser lo que eran. Enlazaban el pasado con el presente y el mañana, formando un tapiz al cual cada generación añadía o modificaba sus propios hilos para la posteridad.

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