I‘ve been thinking a lot recently about our nature. Human nature. Is it human nature to back a winner? If it is, how about hitting someone when they’re down? Sorta the same isn’t it? Think about it like this….
Why are there all of a sudden so many Colts fans when they are winning? Seems like everybody I know was all of a sudden a Colts fan a couple years back, when we saw no indication whatsoever that most of these folks were interested in the slightest while the Colts were losing. And when they went back to losing, for only one year, just as rapidly as the support showed up, a lot of people started badmouthing them, stopped supporting them. The same can be said for political candidates, TV and Movie stars, and musicians, can’t it? Everybody LOOOOOVED Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston after they croaked, but they were really sort of paraiahs the last few years of their lives. Why? Because some people, maybe even MOST people, whether they realize it or not, have a need to back a winner, and hasten the fall of a loser. It makes them feel better that they are on the winning side.
A lot of folks don’t even realize they are doing it…but we all do it to one extent or another, don’t we? But, is that simply something we can’t avoid? Is it in our very nature, some remnant of long ago pack behavior? Jump the weak animal when it’s down so you can share in the bounty, even though you didn’t hunt it yourself? Is it in your nature? How about in your everyday life? Same concepts apply, don’t they?
Here’s an example…. Let’s say you have a friend. A close friend. You don’t always see eye to eye, but you have been close for several years. Throughout those years, a family member of yours, has consistently badmouthed your friend, but your relationship was strong with your friend, and you had several friends in common, so you continued being friends, right? Things are good, and in your social circles, your friend remained popular, so you remained friends. Then one day, someone left the social circle, and started a lot of trouble for your friend. A LOT of trouble. But, all the trouble was clearly coming from the one source, and there was still a good social circle in place, so you remained friends. Now, your family member, who never liked your friend anyway, is increasing the pressure on you, bad mouthing your friend. They are helping the troublemaker that was formerly in your social circle because they have ulterior motives. It becomes very apparent that your friend’s trouble will not go away now. Now what do you do? What’s in YOUR nature?
OK, you say you will stay faithful to your friend…. SO, let’s add another wrinkle. Now you may gain something by your friend’s downfall, if you switch sides and actively pursue your friend’s downfall. What is in your nature now? Ruin your friend’s life to make your own slightly better?
Not with me anymore? Maybe you are a Colts fan, but now they are losing. You still say you are a Colts fan. But the Colts are getting rid of all their players, and rebuilding, and in your mind they aren’t going to be winners any time soon…so now you start badmouthing the Colts and root for Denver. Human nature?
How about this? You are friends first with a schoolmate, then eventually with the schoolmate and their spouse as a couple. Their marriage becomes strained, but you remain friends with both. Then, it becomes apparent that their marriage is over, and if you choose sides and help the spouse against your friend (the soon to be ex), you might have an opportunity to be with the spouse, so to speak. You have something to gain by adding to your friend’s troubles. Do you jump sides now, to be on the winning side, because you might gain something?
In the business world, you see your competitor’s business failing due to some unfair and untrue allegations that you know for a fact are false. If your competitor fails, your business will certainly do better. Do you do nothing, and see if they fail, even though you could tell the truth? Do you actually assist in their downfall when they are failing, maybe because you fear their detractors will come after you next, or maybe so your business will do better?
My dad used to call this phenomenon “jumping on the pile after they’re down”. Do you do this? A lot of people do. Is it OK? If so, is it simply in our nature? Can we, should we, behave like this? Yer Ol’ Buddy Scotty thinks it is human nature, and we need to be taught from an early age that it is not OK. In my book, balancing Morals, Friendship , and family loyalty is tough, but if we understand that we are struggling with it, the decisions will be easier to make. If we just act without thinking about whether what we are doing is ultimately the right thing to do, we are no better than the cavemen, or the wild animals, are we? Chew on that for a while…….