It’s funny how psychology concepts pop up in life; particularly, I’ve been recently struck by my personal experiences with the above.
If you don’t know, obedience is basically when you follow the directions of an authoritative figure (surprise, right), and apparently has been much studied in psychology (for a particularly interesting example, ask Fairley about the Milgram experiments. Or wiki it), and of course, we see it all the time. It’s just the extreme cases that catch our attention.
For example:
in New York, THSSO was waiting on the steps of the Met for our buses, and it just so happened that some street performers pop up to entertain everyone on the steps: 3 black guys, lots of jokes, acrobatics, etc. Well, we’re waiting and watching, and in the interest of maintaining control, one of our chaperones explicitly tells us to stay still; watch if you want, but don’t move (also note that this was a chaperone that ppl actually respected). So we watch, when the performers say something to the effect of “everyone move down; if you block the museum, the cops will bust us”, and with an almost perfect response, we shuffle down a couple steps, much to the irritation of our chaperone, who promptly expressed it. It struck me as particularly unusual (and made me feel a little guilty). With explicit instructions from two figures, one clearly in control of our group, and another just some random guys looking for some cash, we follow the latter. *shrugs* Mind explaining?
And another:
So yesterday, while in Copperfield (explained shortly), my mom and I were at a “Half-Price Books” when we saw a hardback copy of “The Da Vinci Code” for $10, and so I finally got around to reading it today after starting yesterday night (them dam thrillers with short chapters create “one more chapter syndrome”). It reminded me a lot of “Angels & Demons”: entertaining read about secret societies, lots of crazy luck, and a very shallow read. Regardless, we all know the scandal that this book has brought about, as it portrays the Catholic church in a generally no so good light, to say the least, along with all the other inaccuracies and accusations of plagiarism. And Dan Brown made the wonderful assertion in the front of the book, “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate”. Good call.
(possible spoilers) So I read this book, and there’s a lot of really crazy crap in here, about the Opus Dei, Priory of Sion, Da Vinci, etc etc, all of which is presented in an outlandish, but plausible manner. I mean, who would’ve known that Da Vinci was gay? I certainly never heard otherwise, but then again, history books usually don’t have an appendix listing the sexual orientation of every historical figure. Regardless, he presents an array of facts, which, for the purpose of the novel, with many either apparently being made up, or the result of faulty research. What struck me as unusual was how much I just accepted it. Well, lemme clarify.
For every piece of fiction, you just have to accept that some things are true (for the purpose of the story). I have to believe that the “force” exists, that there’s a planet Krypton (want to see that moobie; ‘neone want to go with me?), or that ppl can want to kill each other for 2 hrs, then suddenly have a change of heart just before the lethal blow. Of course, in most situations, it’s easy to create a separate universe for that. I know what’s Star Wars, and what’s reality (well, I guess some can’t distinguish as well, but for the common, well-adjusted part of the population, it’s pretty clear). With this book, however, it’s not so different. The everyday person has heard of the catholic church, jesus, da vinci, and the louvre, so when reading this book, the universe inhabited is so close as to be our own (note, this is generally not a problem; while we all read a lot of books set in contemporary settings, most are pretty well contained, without a ton of extraneous facts that might confuse us) that we experience some sort of “crossing-over” of ideas, of sorts. And because in the front of the book he makes the above statement, we’re struck that some pretty crazy stuff must be true.
And who’s to say it’s not? A lot of the random details are obviously not common knowledge, and often don’t contradict common knowledge (some contradicts common understanding, but he’s pretty good at presenting it in a “strange, but true” manner). A lot of it is conspiracy theory, either about the Priory of Sion or the Catholic Chuch and its “massive cover-up”. And that’s the beauty of conspiracy theory: it can be as outrageous as it wants to be; it’s a freaking conspiracy! Only compounded by the fact that he’s playing on hundreds of years of history. While I’ll admit that my knowledge of religious history of all types is severely limited, I also arrogantly assume that the average citizen doesn’t know much more than me about it. We know bits and details, and he dictates statements as facts (don’t crap at me for calling them facts; read the paragraph above) that just fill in holes. I don’t know enough to contradict what he says, and honestly, a lot of history back then is kind of shady, compounded with the conspiracy aspect, creating a message that is very easily passed as the fact. And I’m pretty sure I (to a degree), and many others, apparently, demonstrated perfect obedience in accepting these facts as reality (our reality, not his universe), creating this wonderful controversy. And it’s a freaking piece of fiction!
Well, as soon as I finished the book, I immediately read the wiki article on it, and the criticisms of. Apparently, there are two sides to everything. In this case, fact and fact out of fiction.

So I got my 2nd playing “gig”, so to speak. Mr. Hoyle once again needed a tuba, this time for a 4th of july performance during a church service this morning. Even though it was a little ways out in Copperfield (see, explained! perhaps not shortly, though), I’m always looking for opportunities to play, and it wasn’t bad. We had about 14 ppl in the orchestra, which had 2 brass players: me, and a euphonium. Uh. Yeah. For a patriotic performance… Thank goodness clarinets sound exactly like trumpets?
Well, it wasn’t bad. Usual fluff-ups that come along with sight-reading, and the usual transposing, but it wasn’t bad. What highlighted the event was that Mr. Reynolds happened to be one of our percussionists. After we finished today, I got a ride home with Reynolds, which involved a trip over to 7 lakes to drop off a bunch of perc equipment out of his trashed-up trailer, going around 40 mph with really bad braking, which might have been the extra weight, or just the trashy car (he said he was going to replace that blue truck *shock*). It took awhile, but I got a chance to talk to him quite a bit, and to scout out the 7 lakes band hall, which, btw, is absolutely incredible. Practice rooms are each twice as big as ours, the perc room can actually hold a med-large ensemble in it, and there’s an additional rehearsal room adjoined that can hold a large ensemble in it. It’s pretty darn crazy; those kids better be good, because they got some nice facilities. Well, at least compared to Taylor’s.

One thought on “Obedience”

  1. “…that there’s a planet Krypton (want to see that moobie; ‘neone want to go with me?)…”

    they’re showing it at the air and space museum on the imax :]

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