I just read a status that my friend, let’s call her Sarah, wrote that was a “sort of a” deep reflection on an aspect of life. The thought in the status was more or less the same thing that another mutual friend I have, let’s call her Linda, had been repeating recently. Now, Sarah and Linda know each other well, and they have engaged with each other more lately. And the thought expressed by Sarah, whom I am familiar with pretty well, didn’t seem like something she would say... So I started thinking:
Whether we realize it or not, many of us are very impressionable. As social creatures, we tend to look for things in our surroundings to guide us in the way we think or act. Yes we often reflect on things on our own, but even that solitary reflection is often spurred by something we saw or someone we heard. Many times, we see ourselves repeating in our heads something other people had said. Whether we are agreeing to it, or denying it, the fact remains that we are driven and affected by it. Maybe it was something we were subjected to today, or maybe it was many little things we were subjected to over a span of years that we don’t even remember anymore, but they are there in our heads, guiding how we think.
Being impressionable is a double-edged sword... It can be used for good or for evil. For example, we want children to be impressionable by good behavior, to deduce their own thoughts of “we should be/do good”. But likewise, they are vulnerable to bad impressions and can end up with "bad" thoughts. Think of it in terms of trends... How trends come to happen is that one or a few people create or think of something, which leaves a very big impression on so many highly-impressionable people, and they follow it and spread it around. (Read more about this here: Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point”). But even those who seem to have “originated” the thought, were mostly inspired (got the impression from) by someone else who got it from someone else, and so on and so forth. So I ask:
1- Do you believe that there is anything as an “original” thought anymore, or are all our thoughts just bits and pieces from others here and there?
2- Which do you think travels faster: a good thought or a bad thought? And how can you motivate a good thought to travel while refraining a bad thought from traveling?