There are times in our lives where we must make choices. We either follow the herd or we move on in our own directions. It is hard to judge these things from the outside because people are often unfamiliar with all of the dynamics involved. What we can say is that the vast majority of people will follow their social networks and they are biologically, socially and psychologically conditioned to not question their environment.
While a certain amount of following is normal there are some things that cannot be followed and doing so creates a moral hazard. The breaking of certain values and principles breaks down the moral fabric of society.
That difference in when to follow and when not to follow may be difficult for the average person to "see". For example, gifted people with higher levels of intelligence, ethical development and inner emotional lives often find dichotomies in life that others can't see.
Stepping outside of social expectations is difficult and takes a deeper core value system and the strength to stand up to what is right. Gifted individuals use their feelings and their brains to make decisions in complex and often difficult to understand ways (Gifted success paths). They draw upon many different resources to make their neurochoices.
If we take a look at gifted individuals we often find that many have rubbed against society in one form or another. In history the most profound are often exiled, punished and/or worse because they don't see eye-to-eye with powerful people who don't question their social structures (Think hemlock and Socrates or Voltaire and exile, etc. ), . Gifted people look beyond the obvious as a psycho-bio rooted behavioral characteristics (See Traits Gifted).
Why is it important to understand?
Herds create stability in society and gifted people push all the buttons to make it a better society. If we were to zoom out to the "birds eye" view of the patterns (another thing gifted people can see better than others) of society development we would find on a macro level that they actually work together. One challenges the norms (its not about just challenging everything) and the other changes and solidifies on new ideas and concepts (creating stability through customs and norms).
Each time there is something radically new it is usually the gifted people who see it first and they take risks for their keen insight and deeper value systems because others are unaware. Most of their concepts are discarded because they are not conventional but we someday find out 5, 10, 15, or 30 years later they not only were correct but also were "in the ball park" in their solutions/understandings way before others even knew there was an issue.
One of the best ways to keep society adapting is to respect differences in people, listen, and find places where changes may occur to keep society moving forward. This is one reason why Escanaba Polo Mallet Company supports gifted children (along with a few other charities) to help fund opportunities to enhance our best and brightest beyond the herd.
As a nation we should be thinking of trying to push our society forward to be competitive but limit ourselves to herd understandings of group confirmed solutions.