Friday, April 19, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 134



Individual thought makes progress

John Moon

I remember when I was younger and my parents would ask the clichéd question, "If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?" The
answer to this question is that if enough people were jumping off bridges, then yes, I would. Common sense goes right out the window with
majority rule.

There's a term for this, "social reality." It basically means that when something becomes socially acceptable it becomes right, whether it is
legitimately right or not. I'm sure you want some examples before you just swallow something whole some evidence to back up my argument.
One huge example is slavery. There was absolutely no moral justification for that practice. It became right because the majority believed it was

How about a more up-to-date example why not take fashion as an exercise in stupidity? Does it make any sense for a woman to color her
face with various shades that it was never meant to be? No, but women all over America are putting on make-up. I think we should just ask the
question, "Ladies, what are you making yourselves up for?" There's absolutely no real reason for this, but enough people participate in it to
make it acceptable.

A reverse example would be a nudist colony. Think of it kind of as a small sub-group of society. In a nudist colony, you would be considered a
freak if you wore clothes. Does that mean that wearing clothes becomes bad at that point? It just means that it is that group's social reality.

I think I've given enough examples to prove my point, and I'm sure some of you are wondering if I'm advocating we all go to class naked. For the
love of God, no. Imagine your oldest professor standing in front of the class with nothing but a smile on his face and some chalk in his hand.

What I'm trying to advocate is individual thought. When's the last time you broke the mold society or your parents or your friends set out for you?
When's the last time someone told you something was impossible, and you proved him or her wrong?

Individual thought is a necessity for this country. Otherwise, our culture will not progress. We need invention and progress, not stagnant debate
where no opinions are changed. At that point, the argument is for argument's sake, and then who cares? So go out and break down some of the
walls of social reality. Think for yourself, innovate and have a good day.

Moon, a sophomore communication major, 
can be reached at

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