On Sheep and Wolves

French translation

I train wolves for a living.
I think I play an essential role for humanity as there aren’t enough of them. There are too many sheep out there … docile … comfortably waiting to be fed by their once affluent shepherds. Overpopulated and rapidly declining in value, that herd needs to be thinned.

There are essentially two types of people: wolves and sheep. Wolves are risk takers, able to spot opportunities and take advantage of them. Critical by nature, they are goal oriented, working together to solve problems. Be they entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists or capitalists, wolves are responsible for the great technological advances of the last 150 years.

Sheep, on the other hand, are risk averse; they fear uncertainty and huddle together expecting to be kept 100% safe. They do not think critically and are prepared to follow their shepherds (government authorities). These authorities do well by controlling the herd (often by creating or allowing fears to spread and then legitimising themselves by serving as the protector, the guardian, the power…).

The Sheep Ecosystem

The shepherds want an easy life so they use a tool called the precautionary principle that provides a semblance of security, reassuring the sheep they will be able to continue grazing, safe and risk-free while, in reality, they are merely taking benefits and freedoms away from the herd and limiting their opportunities. Frightened by the uncertainties, the sheep easily relent, convinced that the wolves are their biggest threat. Recently a virus hit the herd and the shepherds did nothing to prevent it until it was too late. They then locked the herd up assuring them that was the only way they could be kept safe. Many more died but the sheep still believe this approach is in their best interest.

The shepherds unleash their sheepdogs (the police) to keep order among the herd. The sheep don’t appreciate the often aggressive tactics of these dogs, so a certain few sheep (the activists) mobilise and self-proclaim the right to speak and act on behalf of the herd. Most in the herd are too docile to notice. They have recently been bleating about defunding the sheepdogs. Wolves, looking on in the background, salivate at the opportunity of sheep leading themselves.

Sheep are basically stupid and perpetually afraid. Sheep get eaten.

It’s the way things are.

While shepherds are legitimised when a large population of nervous, uncertain creatures need to be protected, led, reassured, the wolves need nothing of the sort. As ends-driven entrepreneurs, wolves see disruption and uncertainty as opportunity. During the recent virus lockdown, the wolves were busy developing new technologies and solving problems for the benefit of all. As always, the wolves took risks, developed innovative tools, saved lives and did very well. The sheep did nothing to protect themselves while their shepherds were lost and ineffective.

Cancel the Wolves

The shepherds do not like how wolves succeed, nor do the activist sheep. They have been busy designing bigger fences to protect the herd from being exploited by the tenacious wolves. They have convinced the herd that the wolves are the biggest threat and they need to continue to huddle together, safer under a new “deal” that will guarantee “greener” fields. Some wolves, seeing the decline in opportunities (particularly in innovative scientific domains), have moved onto other faraway pastures while others have found holes in the barriers. Many are hunted down with pitchforks and wrongly blamed for the problems the herd is facing.

Ursula had a little lamb,
Its name was AstraZeneca

Wolves are sadly misunderstood. Very intelligent, relentless and goal driven, they add enormous value to any society. They work together to solve problems and ensure a better future. During a recent virus that was fleecing the flock, the wolves coordinated, identified, created and tested several vaccines in record time.

For the strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf.

Wolves must not be confused with foxes who only look out for themselves and use deception and trickery to gain a meal (some of whom pretend to be shepherds, others work for the media delivering the unfounded fears that bind the herds).

One particularly successful wolf, who set up relentless.com, was so vilified that he decided recently to retire rather than face the wrath of the shepherds and their little hearings. Another has been so sheepreciated that they believe he tried to plant a chip inside ovine brains. Those exploiting the herd have convinced them that wolves will stop at nothing to harm them.

The activist sheep get really woolly about wolves, spinning stories to augment contempt and fear among the herd which at the same time relies on the technologies and innovations for their well-being. There is no pleasing some sheep. No sooner was the COVID-19 vaccine developed and millions were being mass-produced then Shepherd Ursula unleashed her contempt on the wolves for not doing enough (in a vain attempt to hide the incompetence of her own administration). Any technology, any solution, any improvement in the quality of our lives is met with a “Baaaahhhh! Not enough!”. This “Not enough” soon translates into a “Not worth it”.

The wolves have been cancelled (…until the next crisis).

Instaherd

Today, there are far too many sheep and not enough wolves. Digital technologies and apps have removed most analytical learning opportunities, creating a population of largely unreflecting, docile sheep glued to their phones and happy to passively follow whatever message they receive. I have observed, in my lecture hall, how apps have replaced the capacity to critically analyse, question and solve problems. Movements are leaderless, followship is the norm and disruption is despised. The more manipulative the tribe, the easier it is for these sheep to follow those who frighten and deceive. Sadly, my school seems to be run, more and more, by ruminants.

Social media and search engine algorithms have done an excellent job sorting the sheep into likeminded herds based upon their fears. Here they can find each other, find trust and reinforce their need to control uncertainties. They cancel out or ban any black sheep who questions the values of the herd based on information the algorithms feed them with (what they consider knowledge). Sheep are convinced they have things pretty good in the fields so their biggest fear is to lose everything they believe they have (taken by those awful wolves).

But the apps and social media tools the sheep are using force them to follow; not to think, not to lead and not to identify and solve problems. They are slowly running out of fresh pastures but lack the critical capacity to see the consequences of their lamb-led decisions.

Citizen Sheep

How one of my students depicted me

Every so often, to keep the sheep content, they are allowed to vote on who will take care of them. During this process, the different shepherds tell the various herds what they want to hear, create fears they need to react to and make promises they never keep. Some (activist) sheep consider this as a worthless stunt (since they rarely can influence the herd) and have manipulated the sheep’s poor trust capacity by proposing to set up their own citizen panels. The sheep are beginning to believe they can take care of themselves.

So George Orwell aside, what would a civilisation led by sheep be like (besides being vegetarian)? Since sheep are not analytical and tend to run from anything uncertain or risky, it would be merely precautionary (removing all things the sheep have been made afraid of). There would be no innovative solutions as anything disruptive to the harmony of the herd would be banned. For example, when sheep in France assembled for their Citizens Convention for Climate (I wish I were making this up), they voted to ban 5G. The herd is told to panic like their barn is on fire, and when they do, the activists on the panels lock the doors and banish the wolves who could put the flames out.

Fortunately nobody asked these French sheep what they thought about vaccines.

RM Update 22.03.21 (from the French translation): The French government has just organised a citizen panel on COVID-19 vaccines and the results were as predicted.

Despite their social justice rhetoric, not all sheep are equal and these panels allow the herd to be exploited by foxes and hyenas in sheep’s clothing (activists manipulating the field for their own enrichment and petty power ambitions). These activists want citizen sheep panels to better gain control of the herd. One thing is certain with such panels – the wolves will be forever banished.

A note on cult gurus and hyenas

There are a group who have broken off from the herd, led by another class of creatures – the gurus. They are more like goats than sheep as they readily consume a lot of garbage.

Given the abundance of fear and uncertainty within the herd, some gurus exploit alarmist stories but do not deliver solutions (just more uncertainty). The anti-vaxxers in the herd pretend they are liberating the sheep (from the “sheeple”) but they are just moving them to another, more vulnerable part of the field. In their need to be nannied, sheep are easily exploited and confused and quite often quarrel among themselves over who the real sheep are.

Hyenas promise to protect the sheep … really now.

Often considered like wolves, but a completely different breed with no scruples or codes, are the hyenas (the tort lawyers who feast on sheep gullibility). While they are opportunists and risk-takers, these hyenas do so only for their own enrichment. They are able to exploit sheep while corrupting activist gurus and scientists to better enable their fleecing of the herd.

In the end, the rule in the pasture is “fear” and how it can be used. As the herd grows, becomes more dependent on social media and fear intensifies and diffuses into subsets, there is more opportunity for less scrupulous actors to exploit them. They’ll sell organic food at twice the price, hock supplements to cure non-existent diseases and promote tribes that appeal to the deepest, darkest naturopathic conspiracy theories (vaccines). Sheep will be separated by their political wool and encouraged to fight among themselves.

With the wolves delegitimised and the shepherds and their sheepdogs routinely rejected by actors in the herd, the time is ripe for the foxes and hyenas to come in and help themselves. While the social justice activists in the herd believe they can manage their own affairs (socialism), a cull is coming. When the fences collapse in disrepair and despair, the wolves, if there are any left, may return to solve the problems brought on by such fear, incompetence and neglect. It may take a while to fix this mess.

Tomorrow I’ll get up and return to work training future wolves. I know exactly what they need to learn.

Image source

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark Jarratt says:

    Most impressive sustained modern Animal Farm metaphor, an updated parable and extremely pertinent. Bravo again. 👏

    Liked by 2 people

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