A common social phenomenon explained

Why do we see so many people falling into the trap of swallowing whole an entire pre-digested system of what to think, do, say, and follow, and to obediently proclaim as “the one and only true way, the narrow path that must be strictly adhered to, in order to successfully rise above it all spiritually”?

In 1963, on a 3rd grade class trip to Thomas Edison’s lab, in West Orange, New Jersey, I read a saying that Edison had posted there many years ago, was still there in 1990 when I brought my children to see it, and presumably will remain. It struck a deep chord in me, and enlightened me on a very deep and basic level:

“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”

― Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA FRS FRSA (16 July 1723 – 23 February 1792) was an influential eighteenth-century English painter, specialising in portraits and promoting the “Grand Style” in painting which depended on idealization of the imperfect. He was one of the founders and first president of the Royal Academy, and was knighted by George III in 1769.