I see a lot of references to “herd immunity” in social media and in some news coverage. It reminds me just how powerful language is, and what it can do to shift a person’s perception.
If you can view people as part of a herd, it distances their humanity just enough that when you hear things like “thinning the herd for its health” – it can sound logical and reasonable. You could even begin to think it is okay for the weak and old to be “culled” via sickness.
It removes you from thinking of people as individuals with loves and experiences that might be of value, if not to you personally, then to the society at large. It adds to the division and separation, by allowing the reader to feel “above” the herd, as “superior” to the herd. It creates a very easy barrier to empathy for the individuals perceived to be in that “herd”.
Even if I could think of people as sheeple in the herd, I would still identify myself as an apex predator – a “wolf in sheeple’s clothing” – as it were. And I am not silly enough to think I am alone in that thought process.
But we are not herd animals. We are social animals. We have climbed down out of the trees, or up from the mud, or out of the fields to value life. Our drive to live longer and to help others live longer is what gave birth to societies, religions, cultures, and sciences.
Please say “no thank you” to the concept of the herd. Take up the banner of civilization and seek to save lives. Yes, all lives.
But start with your own, then those you love and care about; and then outward to those in your community. The ripples will go out and join the other ripples of care, and we might just survive with our civilization intact, and perhaps even improved.