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Exposed • Posted: Sep 30, 2008 18:34:28Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Ever heard the expression "caught with your pants down"? It's the way many are feeling these days. And a feeling many many more are trying to avoid. While there may be some wisdom to the old adage "there is safety in numbers", in that vigilance is multiplied, the destructive force of group panic likely far outweighs any compensation gained over lack of foresight.

We are really talking about character here. So many of us huddle in groups hoping to mitigate the consequences of actions we either have taken or are considering. Very few of us step boldly forth willing to suffer the consequences of our decisions. The situation is not different with other species, for instance birds, schools of fish, herds of antelope. Only a very few venture outward on their own, those with a substantially different brand of character.

It is interesting to note that those few who do venture out ahead of the rest of us perform a service for the group that is seldom appreciated. More often such deviants are loudly derided and ridiculed adding observable weight to the argument that it is "better" to hang with the group. But those who explore beyond the normal boundaries literally test the waters for the rest of us. Loss to the group is minimal, gains are multiplied and shared widely. At the same time, the exploring individual often risks everything for but modest gains.

What would happen, I wonder, if as a group we decided to encourage the development and appreciation of that brand of character willing to step out boldly and take full responsibility for the consequences, consequences we may all learn from? My guess is there'd be a whole lot less occasion for the rest of us to suffer the whiplash of group panic as we edge toward exposure in uncharted waters.

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
Glen Ullin