Ding! The bell rings. Without any outside stimulus the dog hearing the sound begins to salivate. Pavlov, a Russian scientist, figured out in the early 1900’s the theory of classic conditioning. What is that you ask? Well, classic conditioning is a theory that you can teach a behavior/reaction to a certain stimulus with repetition of the action even if those two things aren’t related. I.E., the bell, the food, and the drooling. In his famous experiment, he was able to make a dog salivate only using the sound of the bell as a stimulus. How? Well, he conditioned the dog by ringing a bell then letting the dog smell the scent of meat which triggered the salivary glands thus making the dog drool. After many repetitions of this same sequence of actions, the dog’s brain connected the actions so that whenever he would hear the bell he had the expectation that the nose would smell the food and mouth would drool. Pavlov then removed the middle step of the smell of food and when the bell was rung, the dog drool would begin without the stimulus of the scent. Thus the dog was trained to drool whenever a bell was rung.
Yay, you learned something! This is not about dog training. Which, by the way if anyone knows of a surefire way to cure my yorkie of his severe separation anxiety, I would highly appreciate it. Anyways, think of other things you have been “trained” to do over the years. What you do when you’re in school and the bell has rung? Either you sit in your chair or you get ready to leave it. You hear a police siren and if you’re not the one they are pulling over, you move to the side. The sound or lights alone trigger a response in you that alerts you to get out of their way or to run (if you’re a criminal). You see a cheerful looking kid eating a happy meal and you get a happy meal too because in your brain the commercial has convinced you that you aren’t a happy kid without a happy meal. The kid is sad, he eats the food and that creates an emotional response of happiness. Happy meals makes you happy. (So they train us to think.) You are not cool if you didn’t spend all your rent money on them new OVO Jordans. Jordans make you popular. You sir/ma’am aren’t worth a damn if your car doesn’t still have that new car smell. New car makes you cool. WE, society of voters, can’t vote for the Big Bad Wolf if we expect a peaceful existence so we must choose the other guy . . . or in this case woman . . . Ummm . . . I’m not even gonna touch that hot mess. In the end though, they are training a bunch of sheep. All sheep. By “they” I mean whoever it is that is in control of different actions, feelings, and ideas we have accepted as truth. “They” are the many corporations, capitalist, moguls, leaders, and powerful people/groups that influence us on micro and macro levels. Micro being our parents and peers and macro being the politicians of government or large corporations. We don’t think anymore, we just do. SQUIRREL!
I like to think of the movie Up. I don’t know if anyone else was able to pick up on this message but we, as in the masses, have become like the dogs in the movie. We are a collective moving in a mindless blur to where ever they tell us to go. We don’t question why the bell rings and we just drool. We don’t question the lack of the smell of the food. We just do what we have been conditioned to do. We don’t question that our television shows are now more commercial than show. We don’t question how we have been conditioned to have the attention span of a flea. I remember days when I could spend two days straight devouring the thousands of pages of a novel without any breaks. Now I can barely get through this blog without checking my phone notifi—SQUIRREL! Now if you haven’t seen the movie I’m referring to the different dogs in the movie that have short attention spans. They are unable to keep their focus on whatever they are doing because when they see the squirrel go by they immediately drop whatever they are doing to go chase it. Dogs chased squirrels, sheep move in packs but you don’t have too! Herd yourself! Don’t be afraid to think for yourself or break free from the pack. At the end of the day we are all just regular people.