People do funny things. Recent experiences have made me ask…
What does it take for someone to do something clearly against the wishes of the far greater many?
What does it take for someone to do something quite selfish and be appreciated by the far greater many?
What does it take for someone to do something quite individualistic against apparent conventions?
Most of us may read the above and think of heroes and mavericks. Some of us may think of fools or corporate villains.
What prompted these questions for me were 2 specific instances whilst here at the weekend. Notably for Ireland, but not all international teams, there is a convention amongst fans that when there is a penalty kick the crowd hushes to a silence. Not just a quieter level of noise but a very real silence. It’s something to behold and experience sitting with over 53,000 people, hearing the respectful quiet descend.
Then there are the very tiny few who choose to shout or whistle. Not together or in unison but very much alone. The 1 in 53,000. The response is a literally thousands of people shushing the individual(s) to be quiet, accompanied by various quiet remarks regarding their parentage or similar…
So what does it take for a person to do something clearly against the wishes of the far greater many?
Then there is the fan dressed up as the most fantastic leprechaun standing in the front row. The ball is kicked out of touch and bounces right into his eagerly awaiting hands. He promptly turns around to face the crowd, stuffs the ball inside his costume, then turns back to the pitch and the awaiting official, clearly denying any knowledge of where the ball might possibly be. A form of theft if you like. The crowd roars and cheers for the audacity, for the opportunity and for the resigned look on the officials’ face as they walk away empty handed. Said mischievous leprechaun was happily interviewed by a TV crew after the match.
So what does it take for a person to act selfishly and be appreciated by the far greater many?
I’m not sure there is an answer as such but I think I see such acts and how we perceive them as two sides of the same coin. That “coin” being the decision to do something quite individualistic against apparent conventions. The potential outcomes indicating that to have mavericks and heroes requires the chance if not probability that we must also have fools and villains. An inevitability of individualism.
What I find particularly curious is whether in being individualistic we can possibly ever know if the outcome will be viewed positively or poorly by the greater good. Rather than flipping a coin are the odds against us in fact much, much larger? I sense they may be.
Is there something in acting individualistically which means we must have considered the consequence of the action before we do it? Or if not considered, then we’ve at least had a hunch if the consequence will be something of value or something harmful.
Which also gets me thinking on the intent of the person doing the action.
For the 1 in 53,000 I suspect there is more about energy (impulse or even intuition perhaps?) than there is about forethought of consequences & perceptions. The intent at such moments is possibly unknowable without “analysis” which would disrupt that energy… even a hunch I suspect stops us…
I’m also minded that the 1 in 53,000 could be any one of us at any given time & circumstance.