Gazelles are a species of prey. Let’s say for the purpose of this metaphor, that lions are their predator. The gazelles live in communities. They have roles that are probably hidden to our view, social roles. Things like being a leader, being a prophet, being a worker.
Dave the Gazelle is a special one. When a lion begins to approach, Dave is first to hear the sound of rustling in the bushes. Dave has more consciousness than the other gazelles. When Dave hears the rustling he makes a list of hypothetical possibilities for the source of this sound:
- The wind is making the sound
- A squirrel is running around in the grass
- A lion is stalking the whole gazelle community to make an ambush.
After doing this, Dave realizes that the most critical possibility is that it is a lion. All other options can be ignored without consequence. But since this all exists hypothetically, there is no certain answer to what is in the bush. So when Dave makes a decision, it will likely align with the most efficient, safest, best solution. That means, treat it like it is a lion if you wish to live, and definitely don’t go checking in the bushes to see. That kind of curiosity will get you eaten.
As the rest of the gazelles are grazing on grass, Dave lifts his head in response to the sound. All of this process happens rapidly. Enough so that the other gazelles realize that Dave’s motion happened in association to the sound of the grass. Suddenly the rest of the gazelles become attentive and they all lift their heads to increase their sensory awareness.
Some of them may panic immediately and bolt off. If this happens the whole crowd will bolt off in mass hysteria. It is only common sense to empathize with others who seem to be panicking and bolting, and assume that bolting off with them may be appropriate to the situation. If you are too skeptical, you may find yourself dead. This is the basis for a lot of modern Christian mentality.
Moving back to Dave though. He is the beginning of a long genetic line of prophets. Dave’s role as a prophet in gazelle society is to warn of dangers, like this lion.
Another gazelle, Jack, has a different perspective. Jack decides that he need not be aware of the sounds around him, but only of Dave. Because Dave always responds first. So Jack becomes a follower. Because Jack did not pay attention to the sound of the leaves moving, but he noticed the other gazelles started panicking and running. Jack figures he better follow them because he has no idea what is going on. Jack was not conscious during the moment.
The Daves of our modern human society are the conspiracy theorists, warning us of the corporate lions that run the world. They are the prophets of our society, the schizophrenics, the pastors, popes, the artists, the revolutionaries, the ones who see all possibilities.
A very good summation of this idea and it’s importance to society. Inspiring as well.
People like Isaac Newton, Einstein, Socrates, Plato, and many other major figures had this kind of prophetic nature to them.
The Jacks of our time are the church goers. They forgo their own thoughts and trust in sociological information. The information of leaders, and of others. They are much more humble, they realize they do not know enough to be informed so they trust that people like Dave who outwardly and individualistically express their most important ideologies and seem to be confident enough to not be a follower.
The truth of it all though, is that Dave is very unsure constantly. He functions under the mentality that ‘safer is better than sorry’.
Jack may not realize this, because he too, is merely following Dave because it is ‘safer than sorry’. Jack may often make the mistake that Dave expresses truth, rather than just the best possible decisions.
And if Dave is not heard by his community, he may have to express a level of certainty that he himself does not even have with his own ideas. He will essentially manipulate the crowd to save them.
None of us can be sure of anything beyond our senses. And our senses are incredibly frail, and borderline meaningless.