Ever thought of what might happen to you if you cross by a bunch of fans of Barcelona, while wearing a Real Madrid outfit?
Our behaviour is almost constantly DEFINED by what the “others” do. This is how masses work. And if you are a clever individual who does not want to go with the current, then the BEST thing you can do is… stay low.
A lunimous example of bravery or simply “I don’t give a fuck” attitude can enlighten us in the way to social responsibility.
His name was August Landmesser.
He was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, during the “We all love the Nazis” era in Germany. At the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June 1936, a ceremony was held. A ceremony which was attended by Hitler himself.
During that ceremony everybody did their best to salute in the Nazi way, maybe out ot fear, maybe out of enthusiasm… (or maybe because they just really thought they were in the Roman arena with the gladiators) As you can see in the picture below, the crowd unanimously salutes the great Führer.
Look closer. At the man in the circle…
Yes. At a time when just looking the wrong way could result in your death, one person in this great crowd of Nazi fans is NOT saluting…
He is not only standing there not saluting. He is actually ACTIVELY saying to everyone else: I don’t give a fuck!
Landmesser later on created problems to the regime by wanting to marry a Jewish woman. He did not survive the war. Nor did his wife.
It is behaviour like this which we need in society. In an era of mass culture, individual responsibility is what we lack the most. I would admit that I am indeed affected by others, although I try to limit that to the minimum.
Do you know if you would salute under the same circumstances?
One thing is for sure.
We need more Landmessers…
PS. The article was inspired by the post found here.