“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” – Nietzche
It’s because of a thing called “group behavior.”
It’s a fact that school bullies rarely get over the passionate hatred of their targets once they graduate and meet them again in the real world later. My old bullies are no exception. They may not admit it to anyone other than each other, but it’s still there- simmering under the surface. Not that I’m concerned about how they feel because I could care less. As long as they stay away from me, they can feel, think, and say whatever and however, they want. It’s of no concern to me.
What would concern me is that going to the next reunion would put me in physical danger. And let’s face it. People act much differently in large groups than they do on their own. In groups, humans will do things they usually wouldn’t do, and they’ll do it for the sole purpose of conforming.
Understand that a high school reunion will have at least fifty to a hundred people in attendance. And the bigger the group, the more compelled the people in it will be to conform.
For example: If twenty out of a hundred classmates attending this reunion decide to jump me, or even kill me, you can bet that for obvious reasons, none of those who stand by and watch would do a thing to help me. They probably wouldn’t so much as run and call for help.
Out of their loyalty for each other and hatred for me, the attendees would, more than likely, let me die. I wouldn’t put it past them. No way would they risk conflict and the possibility of being ostracized by the rest of the class. To be another, “usurper” like me. No way they would.
They’re didn’t years ago, and they wouldn’t do it today. It doesn’t matter how much older we are. They would value their status within the class more than they would the life of a person they never deemed a human being.
And people like them figure that if no one stops them, it can’t be wrong. Bystanders have a ton of influence. So, when they turn a blind eye to wrongdoing, they’ll likely become participants in it at some point. My classmates like each other and have a lot in common. And the one thing they share is their collective resentment and hate of certain people they decided weren’t worthy of human dignity. Therefore, this would only cement their collusion.
So, why would I even consider going? Going to this reunion would be suicide, and I value myself and my life way too much to put myself in that kind of danger.
The more people present when an emergency strikes, the more likely they’ll only ignore it. Any altruism they have will, more than likely, fly out the window when a person is a part of a large group. Even if cellphones have made it easier to call for help, we’ve seen video after video of vicious beatings and other crimes against fellow humans, where bystanders only stood around, laughed, and filmed the attack rather than use their phones to call for help.
Given the feelings of anger and resentment my classmates still have thirty years later, I wouldn’t put it past them to pull out their phones and begin filming in the event some of them attacked me. It’s precisely the mentality the majority of them still have, and it’s sad.
And most adults aren’t mature adults in this day and age. Adults today aren’t the adults of the ’70s, ’80s, or ’90s. Many of today’s adults, 55 and younger, have no morals nor integrity. The world today is much more evil, and many people have let hatred and immaturity overtake them because, in the current climate, it’s easier to survive in today’s world if you go along.
It’s hard to go high when everyone else goes low. Few people want to be the square peg in a group of round ones because it’s much too risky.
And many of my classmates may not think they’d stand back and watch another human being getting pulverized. After all, we all want to believe we’d do the right thing. But human nature is a fickle thing, and the compulsion to conform to a group is more potent than we realize.
This kind of stuff has happened too many times down through history- others looked the other way while the most brutal of atrocities were being committed.
This is not to say for absolute certain that they would resort to physically harming or killing another person because they may not. But there’s no way I can know for sure. And given all this, especially their past behavior, I’m not willing to take that chance. So, the best thing to do is to ensure my safety by avoiding them altogether.
So, if you were a target of bullying in school and you know for a fact that your classmates never resolved their hatred of you, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go to any reunions, much less bring your spouse and kids to one. Sometimes distance is the safest bet.
With knowledge comes empowerment!