WHY WE FEAR PUBLIC OPINION.
When other people’s voices are added to the accusing voice of guilt, then it can totally annihilate the individual. The destruction could be great indeed. It could both be emotional, mental or even physical. That is why in a lot of ancient cultures, guilt was used as an instrument of crime prevention, along side shame. Normally people who commit crimes are only needed to be taken back to their communities, towns and villages to be publicly exposed. That in turn is used to scare and frighten other citizens to discourage them from similar offenses in the future. That is the power of public opinion being used as an instrument of justice.
“There are certain times when public opinion is the worst of all opinions.” – Nicolas Chamfort
Some offenders in some other cultures are publicly executed or punished as in some Islamic nations today. So this is maximizing the fear of public opinion to prevent crimes and uncalled for behaviors. Apart from the extremely destructive effect these actions have on the guilty party, families and relatives of such people suffer the consequences for generations to come.
Yet another reason why people are panicky before the power of public opinion, is the fear of being ostracized. No one wants to be an outcast in his very community. Nobody desires to be ostracized from his neighborhood. Nobody wants to be ostracized from his city, country or from his society. Recognition and acceptance are some of the fundamental human needs.
We need to be accepted. We possess the need of being accepted. It is legitimate to want to be recognized. It is an inherent feeling inbuilt in us that we should be recognized. Both those basic human needs are completely destroyed when you are ostracized from our very family or community. Shame, guilt, being an outcast, fuel the fear of public opinion.
As we can see, our fear of public opinion is so powerful, because it is inherently connected to the fundamental human needs of man. The need to be accepted, the need to be celebrated, the need to be recognized, the need to be honored, the need to feel important, the need for worth, the need to be understood and the need to feel needed.
Because these needs are so basic to man, psychologically we don’t want to live without them. It is difficult. Especially when you need to go against a large population of people who are all opposing you. In such cases you need a lot of will power and inner strength to simply survive it. No wonder public opinion has become a powerful control factor in our world today.
The problem is once you fall under that influence of fear of public opinion, you become even more susceptible to control, bondage and psychological slavery. The fear of public opinion ends up captivating you, binds you hand and foot, so much that you still lose those same fundamental human needs of acceptance, celebration, recognition, honor, importance, worth, understanding and the feeling of being needed.
“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.” ― Paulo Coelho
To be continued tomorrow with the following points:
- The disease stage of public opinion
- My south Korea experience
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.