The Bridge

When you were a kid and wanted to do something your parents or teachers didn’t like, you may have heard the question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”

The idea is that it’s not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else does it. The logic is think for yourself instead of following the crowd.

It’s not bad advice, even if it’s sometimes used to exert control more than to support independent thinking.

Then, you grow up and suddenly the tables are turned. People start expecting you to behave exactly as they do. If you don’t conform to their expectations, some of them get confused or even irritated.

It’s almost as if they are asking: “Hey, everyone else is jumping off the bridge. Why aren’t you?”

The irony of this is lost on everyone who is busy lining up to take the leap. The logic shifts from independent thinking to groupthink: If everyone else is doing it, it must be right.