“The more closely you identify with a team, the more likely you’ll blame its loss on the referee.”
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Since ancient times, humans have banded together as teams, clans, tribes, groups – call them what you wish. These days we have all sorts of mutual-interest organizations, large and small. It is surely a good idea to work together to affirm, support and protect our common values and interests. But it can also go too far, as “us” versus “them” can blind the mind’s eye to unwarranted hostility toward others just because they are “others.” That’s where we start to see “guilt by association,” which has, over the centuries, led to horrific, inhumane conduct and great pain and suffering. As is well known, people can be led into doing very bad things as part of a group, things they would never even consider doing by themselves, even things that violate their own core values and beliefs. At work and elsewhere, be involved with others, join together in common interest, but keep your mind’s eye open for being led astray, “over the line,” into unconscionable acts. “Kill the ref” is easy to yell when excited, but can be a very dangerous thing to whisper, even to yourself.
We received this quote from Emile T., who lives in Jackson, Michigan, “just outside of Detroit.” Our thanks to you, Emile, for its sobering message.
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