Influence by numbers

The power of the group.

The striking impact of magpies on Hilly Fields is that most birds won't go near it.

The striking impact of magpies on Hilly Fields is that most birds won’t go near the place.

The individual has an enormous impact, for example the fruit seller whose protest set off the so-called Arab Spring that resulted in the fall of dictatorships in three nations: Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The individual is the standard-bearer of change, it is those that take up the cause of the standard-bearer who make the change happen.  The first followers are the pioneers of change, the rest that follow the followers carry forward the momentum of change until you have a full-scale revolution.

I visited a local nature area in Colchester yesterday called Hilly Fields, where I encountered the unusual sight of a mass of magpies in a tree.  This many magpies I rarely see, but it explained a mystery I have about Hilly Fields of the lack of other birds at this location, a few black birds, pigeons and many magpies.  My internet research has revealed that magpies are aggressive territorial creatures, which explains my frustrations I never see other birds such as crows in Hilly Fields.

Magpies have become successful, in the last 30 years they have become a common sight in the UK as other bird species decline.  Some people blame the magpies for the bird decline, though such critics conveniently forget that humanity is the major reason bird species decline.  It is often the case when a species of animal successfully adapts to the destructive habits of humanity and prospers, human beings want to destroy them by calling for culls, though these animal haters hypocritically forget that humanity is a successful pest which might deserve culling.

The magpies of Hilly Fields imparts an important lesson that in numbers the group can significantly shape the world they live in.  As an example, the people of the UK often throw their litter upon the ground, but when I have visited places such as Switzerland it looks clean, suggesting a different attitude to littering by its population. In the UK we are less concerned about how we look and dress than our European and US counterparts.  In the US the media and the group creates a pressure upon their society to spend time and money upon dressing and grooming, the US people look smart. The European students to Colchester look trendy in their dress.  In the media and in everyday day life UK people give less of a damn about how we look and dress.  Like it or not mass has gravity, the group shapes how individuals behave and think, only a minority can resist the group influence, and it is usually from the minority that the standard bearers emerge that creates paradigm shifts as it causes the group to move into a new direction, the momentum of change of mass shaping a new reality in the group as a whole.

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5 responses to “Influence by numbers

  1. There’s alot of magpies living close to me that will even eat our cats’ food if it’s left outside. Opportunists!

  2. We have more Magpies, they adapt to change… Changes we have made that have created as you say the decline of other birds.. We no longer have thrushes, or starlings.. as their habitat has been destroyed.. As new houses are built, so are hedgerows cut back.. The fir trees which house many no longer are here… We forget how our human footprints have a knock on effect to our wildlife affecting the numbers of various species ..

    Thank you Alex for reminding us…
    Sue

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