This is a (possibly)boring self-argumentative,thinking-out-loud kinda post. Read it at your own peril of futility.
I walked past a room just now where people were clapping and cheering. One or two people clapped a little bit longer than the rest.
The old sense of idle thinking inside of me switched on again and I imagined someone clapping on until the end. If he kept on clapping a couple of claps after everyone else had stopped, his clap would no longer be de-individualised or drowned out, and he would probably feel a bit odd/embarassed. No doubt people would start to look at him.
The idle thnking went further (as it usually does)… What if someone relayed what had happened to someone who had originally missed the clap-worthy event? Would that person start clapping? Very unlikely. Why should a potential clapper refrain from doing so when he would have done so with great ease in a group? I don’ think the answer is as simple as to say “when we clap, we aren’t doing it just because we agree with what was said/done, but also because we want to show our agreement to others”, because the story was being relayed to him by a third party so the recipient of the tale could show his agreement to him.
The person might convey his agreement with what was said by other means, such as via a few words like ‘yeah’ or ‘that’s great’ so why has clapping now become inappropriate? Why should actions always be frames in a (social)situaltional context?
What if, back in the origianal clapping group again, the last clapper kept on clapping. Why shouldn’t he? If his agreement with the slap inducing event was say 5 times more than another clapper, why shouldn’t he clap five time longer?
What if a person only clapped once. That too would be looked upon as weird behavior so if you’re going to clap you are lkely to clap more than once – You’ll probably keep clapping until the overall clap noise starts to noticeably diminish in loudness signalling en masse that the tme to stop clapping has arrived.
During the clap ‘session’ what if you clapped slowly (or very quickly) relative to everyone else or one clap for every four claps your neighbour made.?
A person very strongly in agreement with what had transpired may be the first to clap and clap, and with extra passion, hence more loudly, but if nobody else joined in with his clap initiation, then very quickly he would stop clapping because he wouldn’t want to be seen clapping alone despite him being in very strong agreement, and the fact that: ‘if he did keep on clapping’ it would be just as much a direct show of support as well as public display of support as if he was clapping in a crowd.
Isn’t the answer to all this (which is reflected across many ascpects of human behaviour) that there is security in the norm. I think most of us would agree with that, and people who read ‘Conspiracy Examiner’ type blogs/websites like mine know this all to well and see many in society as seeding themselves into a social order which may be on a path of malevolence and destruction.
But not all societies are bad, in fact many are benovelent, but one should always be look at the group they are in at any moment in time and repeatedly assess it to see whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, indeed I would argue, they have a moral responsibility to do so, and if one decided it is a bad thing one should not allow oneself to trick themselves into thinking that they are trapped within that social grouping. Their own persoanl role as a human being means they should remove themselves from it ASAP, or actively try to steer the alter the course of that group.
This from a clap.