Social Validation Bias

Posted on Vegans In India facebook group by Saurabh K.

Are non veg eaters really cruel or just suffering from ‘Social Validation Bias’?

When we first moved to Singapore in 2016, we were looking for a place to rent close to the kids’ school. One such trip took us to a leafy condo block with nice low rise apartments and plenty of greenery.

The Property Agent, a local Chinese in his early 20’s, was quite helpful and showed us around a few apartments.
When we were done, as we were walking towards the exit, he suddenly held my hand and asked me to stop.
Surprised, I looked at him and he pointed me towards a snail just in front, who would have been crushed had I not been careful.
I thanked him for the gesture and bid him goodbye.

While on the way back, I kept on thinking of the incident. Why would a person, who by now might be enjoying a shark fin soup, or the local delicacy of Crispy Crabs where crabs are cruelly tied by legs for days until a patron selects them for meal, following which they are killed for food, be so sensitive towards a snail?

Such behaviour is widespread among us – we cannot see a puppy get hurt for example, and will happily pay for his treatment using a calf leather wallet.

I believe the reason is that we are all inherently non violent, but suffer from what Psychologists call ‘Social Validation Bias’. This is a basic human trait that makes even the most cruel or outlandish thing normal if sufficient number of others also do it.

When non vegetarians look around and see fellow non vegetarians who are doing just fine, not dropping dead due to the hormone filled meat, and not suffering any obvious effects of bad Karma due to their part in animal cruelty, being non vegetarian starts to look normal.

However, this is exactly how one slave trader would have felt seeing another one centuries ago.
And this is exactly how one sexual predator/Wife beater feels when he sees his colleague doing something similar and doing just fine.

However, we all know that some things are just wrong no matter how many people are doing it, and need to be opposed and stopped.

Let us hope that meat eating will start to be seen exactly as slave trading is seen today, and sexual harassment will be seen (hopefully soon) – something that only mentally sick people do who should be either coached or put behind bars

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