Jumping Off Bridges

December 27, 2007

In a recent argument about the use of “singular they” in the English language, in which I argued that correctness in English is determined by common usage, I was presented with the old question: “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it as well?”

I had no reply at the time, except to say that such a comparison is entirely invalid. Upon further reflection, however, it seems to me that the proper answer, in all seriousness, is “Yes, I would also jump off a bridge if everyone else did it.”

Presumably, everyone else cares about living as much as I do, so if they have all made the decision to jump off a bridge, they must have a very good reason. In most scenarios I can imagine where everyone is deciding to jump off the bridge, not jumping is worse than jumping. So, while I can’t be certain that I would jump, there is a high probability that I would.

Overcoming Bias also has a post on group conformity. The post provides further evidence that you should never, ever trust a psychologist.


One Response to “Jumping Off Bridges”

  1. tripinchina Says:

    A friend of mine told me about the time that she, “drank too much pomegranate schnapps. They were amazing!” I wished for a moment that you were there because making fun of people is not as much fun without you.

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