What we consider acceptable today was different five years ago, very different twenty years ago and unrecognisable a hundred years ago.
How does it happen?
Look at the way our attitudes are changing to corporate tax dodging; who’d have thought a few brave protesters could shift the mood of society so successfully. Drinking and driving is another example where an advert labelling a drunk driver a wanker changed attitudes more than the law ever did.
How did we change from endorsing to despising the drink driver and the corporate tax dodger?
What happens to change the Zeitgeist?
Are we linked to each other on some level? Or do we just follow where the media leads us, subtly gauging their trends to make sure we’re part of the crowd? Or maybe we trust each other’s judgements more than we realise and the media latches on to our trends and then amplifies them?
The Wisdom of Crowds theory says that using the ‘norm’ from a large group of independent individuals is a better way to make decisions than using single experts.
So, if following the crowd is the safest way to get things right, how does the crowd start to shift in the first place?