I’m sure some of us can remember where we were when the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. I was in my room at UMASS and I was scrolling through Twitter when I saw someone tweet about it. Someone had just set off two bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I didn’t want to believe it at first but then more and more people kept posting about it. Soon it was everywhere. It was all over the place, you could not turn on your TV or go on social media without seeing it.
Then the Boston Strong slogan came out and it was as if the entire city came together. People had hats, shirts, bracelets, mugs, anything you could put a slogan on that all read “Boston Strong”. There was this pride and strength and sense of community that came from this slogan.This reminded me of how Haidt spoke about how he reacted to 9/11 in chapter . He recalls:
The 9/11 attacks activated several of these group-related adaptations in my mind. The attacks turned me into a team player, with a powerful and unexpected urge to display my team’s flag and then do things to support the team, such as giving blood donating money, and yes, supporting the leader (230).
I remember people who weren’t even from Boston were buying Christmas ornaments that said Boston Strong and buying t-shirts and it confused me. I grew up in Boston and lived there for most of my life before moving and I didn’t understand why people who didn’t even care about Boston all of a sudden cared now. I felt like they just wanted to be apart of the hype. Just like Haidt asks, “Were these people acting on selfish motives, or groupish motives?” (230) Do you think people do these things like buying t-shirts and being patriotic as a way to contribute to the group or is it more about them? Can you guys think of any other situations where this happens? (It doesn’t have to be serious events like 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombings).
Another thing that I think relates to this is the Mike Brown case that has been talked about recently. Michael Brown was an 18 year old boy from St. Louis who was shot and killed by a police officer. He was unarmed and there has been a lot of riots and looting. People have been standing up to the police and the reactions have caused a lot of buzz in the media. I thought about the Hive Switch in Chapter 11 where Haidt says that human beings have the ability (under special conditions) to transcend self-interest and lose themselves in something larger than themselves (258). Although the reaction like looting and rioting are negative why do you think this happens? What triggers that part in us to join others in their actions (positive or negative) when something like this happens?