Why do humans act the way they do? Is it something they think of rationally and consciously? Is it something that’s wired into their brains –meaning, well, that they’re not aware of it? We face these interactions every day and most of us really don’t think about them much. That is to say, we all try to understand something because we want to be conscious of them. But what about those reactions, those tics, those quick actions or thoughts that arise all of a sudden?

There is a channel on YouTube called Losing All Hope Was Freedom and they have been posting clips every Monday that show our human condition tested in various situations so that people have to react quickly. Maybe not think long about something, but surely something about a reaction is absolutely fascinating.

It’s also a similar premise employed by a smashing new show on Discovery, “Head Games”. Here the pseudo-scientific conceit is that our brains sometimes trick us because we really do things a lot without really thinking about them. One episode recently uncovered the phenomenon of standing in line, and the various ways in which we subconsciously conform to an activity –i.e. queuing up. But the moment someone (or something) upsets this process, we go ballistic. The show had people standing in line and then paid some actors to rattle the others by cutting in line. Our minds tell us to act in a certain way and this kind of conformity puts us in a particular mindset. Watch this thought-provoking show and you just might realize why it is that you do what you —and why you don’t do other things, and they’re all because of that most adaptable of all your organs, your brain.

The folks at Losing All Hope With Freedom (from now on, LAHWF) have latched on to a similar idea, I think. They will re-enact a typical human situation and upset it: something external arrives to upset the status-quo, so to speak. How would we expect to react? How would we act in that situation? Would we be able to predict how we (or others) would handle these situations?

Like a Candid Camera, we are “in” on what’s happening. We can laugh in the way that Allen Funt wanted us to, or even, to be a little more simplistic, we can even reference all those “America’s Funniest Videos” segments over the years. (My very favorite is probably the one where the little baby is learning to walk on the grassy hill and a white cat runs up to him, knocks him down with a pounce. He falls down crying and the cat flees, well, the way cats typically scram.) We could even mention the more pandering –and sometimes cloyingly serious “What Would You Do?” show on ABC, although here the situations tend to require a little more reflection. Why is that old dude hitting on that girl when he obviously came in with another girl, who has gone for a bathroom break? Indeed, why?

Personal Space

In this video, the guys at LAHWF simply have a guy who walks alongside people in public settings and —tries to hold their hands. That’s’ it –simple. Isn’t this like the guy who was standing outside the Apple store in SF last year, with a sign that said “Free Hugs!”  Perhaps this is a tad more invasive.

Watch as this guy just moseys up and slides his hand inside another’s hand —and does so with both sexes, by the way. Some flinch, some are surprised, and maybe one or two don’t seem to mind too much.
How would you react if your personal space was encroached upon? If a person came up and hugged you against your will, perhaps that would be much. A complete stranger, mind you. What about a kiss? Is hand-holding something that’s not so offensive? Do you really think you know how you’d react to this? And hey, what’s wrong with something that borders on the touchy-feely (pun intended)? Aren’t we all supposed to get along?

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