In his article George Monbiot discusses how humans view themselves and others regarding altruism. Looking at how helpful or selfish we think others act in comparison to how we perceive ourselves in relation to these behaviors.
My opinion is that there are not enough Llamas.
You can read George Monbiot’s article here.
What I originally wrote is in the quote below, I’ve added a brief extra portion below it following a discussion with a friend with whom I shared George Monbiot’s article.
“I’ve said for years that “People are sheep”.
Most people instantly grasp the basics of what I mean when I say this but there is more to it. So I recently added the “Be a llama” part.
Sheep are known to flock, to follow along aimlessly. Often sheep are perceived to be weak and they tend to move away from danger, when faced with predation sheep will flee, leaving weaker members of the flock behind. They are also perceived to be weak willed and simply follow whoever leads off, regardless of where they are going.
People do these things all the time.
For example. On a bus a few years ago, it was rush hour and the bus was full. There had been standing room only downstairs, where I was sat, upstairs was full. People had started to get off and fewer were getting on, so standing room was available downstairs, a few seats.
Suddenly roughly 20 people came downstairs, none got off. Nothing was said, some that had been downstairs in the first place spoke – perhaps there had been a stink bomb set off, like last year. No one that had come down said anything. There were several guesses, nothing replied. Someone even asked directly – no reply.
A few stops later three youths came down, they were clearly under the influence of something – my guess was that it wasn’t alcohol. The people that had come downstairs displayed fear, none got off at the same stop as the youths.
Two stops later a man came down, covered in his own blood. “Thanks everyone!” he said, then he spoke to the driver asking him to keep the footage if the security cameras were working. The man was a self employed gardener, one of the youths had taken his shears from next to him and attacked him.
20 adults did nothing! Now I am not saying I expect have-a-go heroes; that can be dangerous. I understand fear, I understands that no one wanted to also be attacked.
But they didn’t tell the driver, no one used their mobile to call the police. None of them asked someone else to call the police.
They were all sheep.
Years later, same bus route (no this isn’t a typically violent place, honest) and a man is harassing people by throwing a football at them. He was repeatedly throwing it at a young lady, I guess she was 19. It was just past rush hour, 20 adults on the bus. One man got off, I am pretty sure earlier than I had seen him get off the week before. No one said anything – not even after I did.
I told the man to behave. He asked ‘did you say something?’ I said I had and repeated a request that he behave. He proceeded to tell me that he knew the girl and she had missed her stop because she was asleep. Utter nonsense, she was terrified and was shrinking and trying to hide. I got out of my seat, asked if she was ok. She looked very scared but thanked me for intervening.
The driver must have seen & did nothing. Half a bus of passengers did nothing.
Please, don’t be a sheep; be a Llama.”
Wolves like the antagonists I mention above prey on Sheep. Llamas will intercede but in truth we are led by Dogs. Some of those Dogs serve their own ends first.
Sheep, if you can’t be a Llama it is probably a good idea to follow a different Dog. Those Sheep that don’t vote need to step forward and do that, pick yourselves a new Dog.