Is the Majority Always Right?
Is the Majority Always Right?
  • Reporter Kwon Woo-jung
  • 승인 2013.05.22 04:31
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Reporter Column
There is a proverb by Mark Twain that “Whenever you find yourself on the side of majority, it is time to pause and reflect”, warning those who recklessly follow the majority, believing what most say right is an ultimate answer to our lives. When it comes to significant decision making in their lives, people tend to take the majority’s opinions or customs into consideration, which would help them to make a safe and swift decision. However, is it always desirable to follow the majority? Several examples demonstrate the riskiness of chasing after the major trend.
In POSTECH, most of male unde- rgraduate have thought about how to avoid military service. Among those methods they figured out, the best and the most prevalent one is obviously stepping into graduate school. Advancing to graduate school, they can not only obtain their master’s degree, but also successfully avoid the military services. However, if students get into graduate school just because others do so, problems strike them after they embarked on their graduate school lives. Some have a seriously hard time in the laboratory due to a lack of passion or talent. Others, bound by the duty of getting a degree in Korea, are forced to abandon their once-in-a-lifetime precious opportunity to study abroad.
As another example, when college students register for courses, there are several major factors they consider. The most significant one is the reputation of courses, determined by the grade given to the previous students and the amount of homework. Most senior students advise their younger friends to take those burden-free courses (so-called honey subject: easy like eating honey). However, very few people recommend taking courses in which they can learn what they really want to study. Of course, needless to say, the grade average point is significant but why they chose the classes and what they learn from classes are more meaningful to the students.
Even though two examples above, which are fairly common in our lives as Postechians, are demonstrating against the majority, I am not trying to say that following the majority is always improper. What we have to avoid is following the trend recklessly. This might decisively obstruct us when we are searching for what we truly want to pursue in our lives as lifelong goals. The majority’s opinion is always good to be considered, but shouldn’t merely be copied.

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