Baa, baa, black sheep, guess who’s livin’ it up down the lane

Tracing back the big history of the world, I hit a useless and deep inquisition: Why did the sheep get a bad rap?

I remember liking the idyllic fellas and never thought of the sheep as a symbol of collective stupidity. From what I remember,  the sheep were giving away bags of wool to random little boys. Creepy, but we can all agree: charitable.

There’s something about a herd of sheep that pisses off everyone. Being a part of the herd does not qualify you for greatness. Which is arrogant because it’s the herd that gives *greatness* a meaning in the first place.

The Herd

Herds formed for safety. They were an important source of direction, survival, and hope.  The problem with the herd started as the world turned safer but remained stagnant.

Someone needed to have the courage to stray off and look for new ways to live. And a bunch of people did:  Philosophers, Scientists, Poets, Artists. They did it not to get away from the herd and prove everyone wrong (although, inevitably, that’s how it turned out). They did it because that is what they wanted to do.

The Unherd (get it?)

There’s more to the story: there was a large bunch of people that went to dent universes because they thought the herd is stupid (which is, inevitably, mostly, true) and no one knows what happened of them.

When not following the herd becomes the herd…well, errr – you get the point.

Since no one told us the latter part of the story, we somehow believed greatness lies outside the herd and escaping the herd by itself qualified us for greatness.

I dislike the herd as much as the unique smoking snowflake next door. But this thinking has become herd-like in itself and that is scary. Just like the thought of escaping the herd is scary. Because the herd is all you know.

Still, there’s a quiet desperation building inside you. It makes you want to throw a punch at the sheep and run. What you often forget in the critique of the herd is that you need the herd more than the herd needs you. The point is not to escape the herd, but to use it to understand yourself and what you really want.

Safety plays a big role growing up, and the herd offers us just that. To draw a sense of superiority by sneering at the herd is a pretty shitty thing to do. It’s like blowing up your roof because you want to see the stars.

We despise the herd because of a deep-seated but misplaced desire for attention, transformation, and meaning.

None of that can be found outside the herd. The notion that all greatness happened outside the herd is not just wrong, but also harmful.

It makes us believe everyone that belongs to a herd is an underdeveloped nimrod who can’t think for him/her self and therefore everything they say must be ignored.

What takes real effort is to steer the herd in new directions from within the herd. It’s exposing the herd to a new way of thinking without being cocky and distant.

And before all that, you need to become comfortable with the idea that you are and will always be a part of a herd. The herd gives you a sense of connection and belonging. Stop trying to escape it. Greatness without connection and belonging is a miserable mountain-top to die on.

All along, we’ve been told to prefer the lion over the sheep. So much that it’s become the motivational spiel of the herd.
And here’s what we forget: The lion’s in a cage. The sheep has a kind of freedom the lion never will. It’s not being a sheep you must be afraid of. It’s being in a cage.

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