Producers and the Second-handers: Why people prefer electric shock over thinking

(Reuters) – So you say all you want to do is to take a few minutes to sit down and think without anyone or anything bugging you? Maybe that is true. But you might be in the minority.

A U.S. study published on Thursday showed that most volunteers who were asked to spend no more than 15 minutes alone in a room doing nothing but sitting and thinking found the task onerous.

“Many people find it difficult to use their own minds to entertain themselves, at least when asked to do it on the spot,” said University of Virginia psychology professor Timothy Wilson, who led the study appearing in the journal Science. “In this modern age, with all the gadgets we have, people seem to fill up every moment with some external activity.”

In some experiments, college volunteers were asked to sit alone in a bare laboratory room and spend six to 15 minutes doing nothing but thinking or daydreaming. They were not allowed to have a cellphone, music player, reading material or writing implements and were asked to remain in their seats and stay awake. Most reported they did not enjoy the task and found it hard to concentrate.

That information may seem extraordinary, but it’s really not—rather it is consistent with general human behavior and is caused by two basic roles that individuals evolve into as they mature into adulthood. People will become either a producer type personality—who makes things from self-initiative and are quite rare in the world or they will become a second-hander, a person who essentially lives through others. An example of second-hander behavior would be the type of person who dates a beautiful woman because of the prestige of being seen with her might provide. An example of a producer would be a person who dates a beautiful woman because they personally enjoy her. The same could of course be applied from women to men, cars, clothing, homes, food—just about every category of human endeavor. The typical “gold digger” personality from women who marry for money would fall into this category versus the woman who marries for “love.”

These behavioral conditions can actually be seen on any playground in the world where children play. Future producers are the kids who are the first to climb to the top of the monkey bars, or help a kid stuck on the slide whose nerve has left them as they descend. Most of the kids will reside in the safety of numerical superiority watching the producers be the first to climb to the top of a slide, or crawl under a strange obstacle, or swing across a crevice.   Once they see the safety of the task, they will then follow—gaining assurance from the leader—the producer.

The differences in creating these personalities come directly from the parents. If a parent lets children gain self-sufficiency by doing things on their own at the earliest possible moment—then there are favorable odds that a child will develop into a producer. But most parents coddle children and enjoy caring for them as dependents—as the behavior provides meaning to lives of parents who are otherwise insecure about their roles in existence. So too long parents carry children on their hips, feed them too long, and help them up when a child should learn to climb on their own stunting the growth of the young minds into the role of a second-hander. They learn as children to live through their parents. As older children they live through their peers. As adults they live through the rest of society.

This is why as adults they don’t know what to do with their own thoughts and would rather be electrically shocked than to think on their own for 15 minutes—a second-hander must get their next thinking actions from a producer otherwise they can’t function. It would be the producers who would happily sit for 15 minutes or more thinking quietly. The second-hander needs music made by someone else, television made by someone else, reading material made by someone else, video games made by someone else, etc—in order to have thoughts put into their head. With those things removed—they are terrified at the lack of thought in their minds and would gladly endure great amounts of abuse to have that sense of terror removed from them.

As has been declared on many occasions at this site—except without the direct correlation—public education systems are in the business of making second-hander children who will grow up to become second-hander adults. The entire ordeal of public education is primarily focused on building these types of minds which works well for consumerism—but not so great for capitalism as industry and invention are created by producer type personalities. Producer type children tend to not do so well in public school as the system is not geared to develop their skill sets—so they become frustrated. This is also why homeschooled children do better generally than publicly taught children, because homeschooled children are taught to be producers as opposed to second-handers.

As a test dear reader if you consider how something might make you look, or how others might think before you do something—you are functioning as a second-hander. If you do a task because of the curiosity of doing it when no eyes are upon you and enjoy thinking alone with no input from the outside world—then you are thinking as a producer. But it is very clear on the playground of children who will be who. The future lives of all those young people can be predicted just watching children play. You can see who will have marriage difficulties, who will have nervous breakdowns when their cars won’t start, who will bounce aimlessly from job to job—just by watching children play. You can also see who will be the future inventors, leaders, and wealthy elite—not because they are greedy, or vicious—but because they are often the first to climb to the top of the monkey bars, and will not hesitate to push bigger kids out-of-the-way to be the first to go down a slide.

What the test reported by Reuters above says—which is supposed to be shocking—is that public education systems and parents in general have successfully built a human race of second-handers who are all waiting for someone to tell them what to do next. It therefore should not be a surprise when there is so much apathy in the world. It’s not because people are bad—or stupid—it’s because they have been taught to be second-handers who cannot act until told what to do. It is for society to determine if this is acceptable.

Speaking personally, it isn’t for me. But then I’m the kind of person who could spend weeks alone in a room with everything turned off alone with my thoughts—and be perfectly happy.

Rich Hoffman