Inquisitive Slaps

I found this image on instagram by this artist named @lost_in_time_designs. I feel this image is very powerful and it relates to the previous image in a big way. I used to be in an abusive relationship back in high school. My partner used to gaslight me by repeating the same thing a hundred (not literally) times to convince me. After the 50th time, I would slowly start thinking differently, doubting my stances, by the hundredth, I may not still agree with it, but the fact or statement or request stung a lot less than the first time and didn’t matter as much so I would end up agreeing with to avoid the irritation of the repetition. Years later, I came to know this is a very common convincing tactic and is used all around us. Advertisements and capitalism follow the same ideology. Repetition of a certain kind of portrayal also becomes desirable and hence becomes the “trend”. Beauty standards are also something that is ingrained in the people’s mind through repetition, so much so that some in some countries people don’t get jobs unless they look like clones of the ideal beauty standards. There is a very popular experiment I would like to talk about in this context:

“An experimenter puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. High up at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, is a bunch of bananas. Underneath the bananas is a ladder.

The monkeys immediately spot the bananas and one begins to climb the ladder. As he does, however, the experimenter sprays him with a stream of cold water. Then, he proceeds to spray each of the other monkeys.

The monkey on the ladder scrambles off. And all 5 sit for a time on the floor, wet, cold, and bewildered. Soon, though, the temptation of the bananas is too great, and another monkey begins to climb the ladder. Again, the experimenter sprays the ambitious monkey with cold water and all the other monkeys as well. When a third monkey tries to climb the ladder, the other monkeys, wanting to avoid the cold spray, pull him off the ladder and beat him.

Now one monkey is removed and a new monkey is introduced to the cage. Spotting the bananas, he naively begins to climb the ladder. The other monkeys pull him off and beat him.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The experimenter removes a second one of the original monkeys from the cage and replaces him with a new monkey. Again, the new monkey begins to climb the ladder and, again, the other monkeys pull him off and beat him - including the monkey who had never been sprayed.”

This is a classic example of how repetition can slowly change the way people think, act and process events as time progresses. Repetition has the capacity to influence mobs at large as well. I am addressing this topic because I don’t want my relationship with consumerism to be based on gaslighting. I don’t want to promote abusive cultures as a designer either. Consumerism is supposed to help our day to day activities, not be another manipulative relationship.