In Limigne, New Hampshire, a large number of town residents are recovering from a harrowing event early Tuesday morning. At 9 a.m., the current Mayor of Limigne, venerable gentleman Pye D. Pieper, was leading a town meeting to discuss a recent study which had shown alarming decline of the fish population in a local lake, Lake Bandwagon. Most of the town was in attendance at this meeting.
One of the residents present at the meeting remarked sheepishly that “the trouble started when Mayor Pieper tried to appeal to our sense of empathy. The mayor asked us to ‘pretend what it would be like if we were one of the fish’ in the lake. At that point, I guess most people just took him seriously.”
A little too seriously, as it turned out, for following the mayor’s words, large numbers of the Limignes began walking to the lake, each following the words of the mayor to “pretend to be a fish.”
Once the residents arrived at Lake Bandwagon, they continued into the water. The markedly cold temperature of the water was enough to deter the citizens from staying in very long, but a few individuals began displaying signs of hypothermia, and dozens came down with severe colds. No fatalities have been reported at the time of this writing.
Seeking to better understand this curious behavior, the following question was raised to the local scientific community: “why do some people unreservedly follow the lead of others?”
Town Researcher Ben Lind, who goes by B. Lind and leads the B. Lind Institute, answered that “one of the major causes of this type of behavior can be traced to our current political climate. We live in a world so divided by party lines and so crippled by factions that we have come to readily accept nearly anything which we are presented with. This is a serious psychological condition known as ‘moral narcissism.’”
Lind went on to explain this rare form of narcissism by presenting an example. “Let me put it this way, if information comes from a source with which we align ourselves, a faction, political party, Twitter hashtag, etc., then any information presented to us from this source is readily accepted as ‘true’ and subscribers to this truth are considered ‘good.’ Anyone who does not agree with the information is considered ‘bad,’ and we are to instantly ignore anything they have to say. In the case of Limigne, the idea of pretending to be a fish was considered ‘good’ because it came from an authority, and the residents accepted this idea without questioning it at all.”
Though the example of Limigne may seem an isolated occurrence, Lind warns that it could happen anywhere. “We’ve come to find ourselves in a culture so saturated by divisiveness and factionalism, that the reality we now face is somewhat frightening. As long as people are content to categorize themselves or others as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ based purely on the ideas we hold…that’s dangerous.”
Associates from the Institute of Rational Thought and Common Sense were sent to Limigne, and will host several seminars on the importance of critical thinking and proper research before following instructions. Hopefully, in the future, such near-catastrophes will be easily avoidable for the citizens of Limigne, and for all