Why Do We Follow Systems Even When it Doesn’t Make Sense?

June 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Why do we always follow systems even when it doesn’t make sense?

We don’t even realize we are trained, like dogs – to respond, to act. To exist.

I just went through airport security.

I spent the night at the airport.

But after having gone through security earlier in the day I was asked to go through again. I wanted coffee. But I’d have to wait until after security because that’s liquid and we all know since 9-11 no more liquids gels aerosols etc. And my coffee won’t go into a ziplock bag without spilling.

The system says -
I can’t track her individually (yet, until we are ‘voluntarily’ chipped), so it’s the same policy as though I just arrived here and in case I’m a terrorist. Fair enough.

I went through the scan and the woman shouted ‘WOMAN RANDOM’ and asked me to step aside. I thought maybe she thought I looked at her funny until the guy said “Might as well buy a lotto ticket today, the computer picked you.”


It reminded me of the movie Idiocracy where the individual has dumbed down, losing the ability to think for hisself / herself, and letting the machine take over.

Why is it that we trust the machine over intellect?  Why do we not question the processes put in place?

Should I really have been pegged for a terrorist when I slept here all night?  I was waiting all morning just to get combustible coffee that I could sneak through and blow up the plane.  Dangit!  Random computer scan and I’m busted.

Flying through Wisconsin I bought butter and cheese, of course, because it’s Wisconsin. Did you know that my cheese was confiscated because it might have been very dangerous cheese?!  That, or it was all part of the system.

Once a system is put in place and we blindly follow, then place rules on top with a punishment attached – i.e. don’t cross the road (even if no traffic for miles!) until the little red guy turns to white on the traffic light or you’ll get fined – we are purposely giving up our ability to think rationally.   Running Man Mr Roboto

I am not arguing systems aren’t good. They can be eerily effective.  I just think it’s good to be aware that as we use more and more technology (as I write this from my smartphone-turned-dumbphone as “user friendly” means don’t make me have to think too hard) we should be using our brains more, not less.