"Sheeple People: What will it take to motivate them into emergency preparedness?" was originally written for Prepper and Shooter Magazine. I hope you enjoy it!
Many of us have heard the term “sheeple” in some form or another; whether it was in a discussion on politics, preparedness, religion, etc., all referring to a person or persons who have a herd-like mentality. Those who would much rather go along with what others are doing or saying; accepting everything at face value, than to actually put any time, effort or energy into thinking for themselves or doing the necessary research to make an informative opinion.
The term “sheeple” is derived from the combination of two things; a sheep (a herding animal) and people (or a non-thinking-for-themselves person). To a sheeple, as long as whatever is being said or done does not directly affect them personally and their lives it’s all good. I was that type of person in the past. Yes, I was a sheeple. I was the kind that didn’t watch the news on the television or the radio and or read the newspaper. Why would I? After all, who wants to read a bunch of depressing news about people, politics, the economy, weather, our government or world affairs? What news I did obtain was usually in the form chatter at social gatherings, during lunch conversations with co-workers or from friends. And as for current events, this usually came from news breaks in between nightly sitcoms or reality shows on television. That is, if I wasn’t up getting a snack, or chatting with others on social media networks. But, I knew just enough to get by.
I voted. Everyone I knew did. However, my motivation to do so was not necessarily what everyone else’s motivation was. Mine, personally was to get that little “I VOTED” sticker to visually say “Hey! Look at me! I voted!” Sadly, it was not because it was my civic duty nor my right. And, when I did vote, most times I didn’t have a clue about the candidates, what they were running for or what they stood for. In fact, my usual practice was to ask someone in line or just before heading out to the voting precinct who I should vote for. I know pathetic but true all the same.
My focus in life was on me – all me. I surrounded myself with people and things that made me happy. I couldn’t get enough of either of them. But, I am only one type of sheeple. They are actually sheeples in all shapes and sizes, nationalities, races, genders, and education backgrounds. But the common denominator of most is they seem to believe what they are being told or have read. This apparently, somehow makes sheeple feel like they are a part of something big; something they can belong to.
The good news is, like me as an example, sheeple can change. But to do this there has to be that “ah-ha” moment/moments for them. Mine just so happened to be an attempted car-jacking at gun point. “That” was an eye-opener! That was the day I realized the world I lived in for so long, was not the rose-colored-glasses happy-place I thought I lived in. It was bigger and darker. Sure, there had been other events leading up to this incident, but my head was so buried in the sand that I didn’t really notice it. Like the devastating back-to-back hurricanes that tore the city I lived in apart, or the burst of the housing market bubble, or the stock market crash. These should have gotten my attention. But they didn’t. They were just little hiccups in my life. And, there was time in between each of these incidents allowing me to fall back into my normal routine.
What most of us non-sheeple and former sheeple people want to know if they have friends or family members who are currently sheeple is, how do you pull them up for a breath of fresh air and show them what is actually going on in the real world around them? The short and sweet anwer? With a lot of patience. And I mean a lot of it.
Sheeplism is the art of believing what you are being told; accepting something at face value or to feel important, or saying something to make yourself look knowledgeable, and it’s a hard habit to break – like most habits are. No matter what the reason, being a sheeple is a way of life – and it’s comfortable.
Have you ever screamed out at the television set after hearing someone being interviewed who didn’t know about a current event or public figure? “I can’t believe they don’t know that!” you yell. Or, “What? Are they living under a rock?!” And the answer is yes. Figuratively speaking that is. Remember, sheeple are all about themselves and what makes them happy. They are hedonistic. You know, if it feels good do it. Unpleasantness or things that don’t affect them personally don’t exist in their world.
The best way to un-sheeplize a person initially would be, not to judge them. If a person does not know something or understand something, instead of responding to their question(s) with a “you don’t know that?” response, or a negative response, try explaining what it is they don’t know to them. An outburst response could actually send a sheeple running back to their happy place (the sand pit or worst yet, the preverbal rock they once lived under) … forever. Again, this is where the patience part comes in. Most sheeples have a lot of ground to make up due to their misguided focus.
Using me as an example again, I spent the better part of my grade-school and high-school years talking with other students in the back of the class. After all, who wants to learn about things that happened a long time ago or memorize all those useless dates? I was smart enough; I just didn’t see how learning any of these things could benefit me in the least. Like for instance, historical dates, events and such. Useless. Or so I thought then. Unfortunately, due to my lack of attentiveness in school, I missed out on some very valuable historical events - events that are now being repeated today. I now find myself desperately trying to recapture all this lost knowledge - playing catch up to fully understand what is going on in our current world.
So how does emergency disaster preparedness play a role in a sheeple’s world? Well, like a lot of people. They may hear about some impending natural disaster and yet because others are not reacting, they don’t feel like they need to either. Or, that it will not directly affect them. It’s not that sheeple are clueless about an event, it is that they just don’t want to be bothered with something that they feel has little to nothing do with them. After all, disasters don’t happen to them. And, if it did, someone will come and take care of them so why put in the effort.
Let me tell you, there are a lot more of the former me types out there. It could be a wife, sister, grandmother, aunt, neighbor … again you can’t pigeon hole a sheeple. They are people who pick up enough catch words or phrases to “fit in”, but truly have no clue as to what is going on around them. The good news is, we all have an inner “secret lock” that will open our eyes to what is going on around us. Like I said, mine was a personal experience of being face-to-face with two armed men. For some, a threat or disaster is what it may take (hopefully with no injuries to anyone) to open their eyes. For others, they may see the light by following someone’s lead – yes a good sheeple habit is hard to shake.
Since my personal awakening, I now live in a completely different world. I actually want to see, hear and read as much as possible on our world events. And I listen. Not to fit in but to be informed.
I’m sure I am the exception to the rule, as most sheeple aren’t in the habit of thinking for them self and want others to do it for them. But I’ve realized that it might be up to me to do the thinking in the future.
If you have a sheeple in your home, preparedness group or extended family, it’s important that you not enable them. Doing so will only hurt you and perhaps others in the long run. In order to be a constructive part of your preparedness plan, sheeple must truly understand the importance of why you prepare, and that bad things do indeed happen to people like them. And, there could come a time when they would need to make decisions for themselves because there might not be a leader around to do the thinking for them.
I’ve personally found that by using entertainment in the form of books and movies can actually be used as a springboard on which to open up a conversation about disaster preparedness to sheeple. I mention entertainment, because most sheeple as we’ve discussed previously don’t watch or listen to the news or read a newspaper so current events may elude them. But, entertainment on the other hand evokes a sort of pleasure – again, which is what sheeples are all about.
Like all habits though, to save a sheeple from himself/herself will take time to undo the wrong – thinking. As I said before, and a lot of patience and frustration. Know going in that it will be frustrating because you are asking a person to step out of their comfort-zone and to start thinking and forming opinions for themselves. Hopefully it won’t take some bad event to make this happen and get their attention, like it did me.
In the end, remember this, awakening is a personal choice and can only be done if the person wants it. And, for you? Just continue to “lead” by example. Just sayin'.
- Survivor Jane
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