What is it about social conditioning? Should we call it "brainwashing?"
Last night, I went to be a dresser and all-around costume help for a local production of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum..." and sitting for most of the night at a sewing machine trying to help complete the costumes.
Now, a little backstory. In the Theatre - at whatever level - there is a specific call-and-response between stage managers and their actors. The stage manager keeps the official "show clock" - which means periodically they'll sweep through a backstage area and call out how long until places, so the actors know how much time they've still got. And they'll do it in countdown form, so no one gets confused. A typical call would be "One hour until places" or "ten minutes until places."
A conditioned or experienced cast will respond to the call by saying "Thank you one hour" or "Thank you ten minutes" or whatever call the stage manager said. This is so the stage manager has confirmation that whoever needed to know actually hear her (or him), parsed the information, and would be ready in time.
It gets interesting if for whatever reason the stage manager has to hold the house. The calls can get creative "Two minutes and holding for the nursing home bus - they're here, but safer to let them sit in the house lights than not!"
Last night the stage manager came through with the fifteen minute call, and I am conditioned to respond, even though what she said had absolutely no bearing on me or what I was doing. I wasn't going to STOP what I was doing, I didn't actually have to go anywhere. But I responded, because I am conditioned to. It isn't evil conditioning, but I don't think I can let a time call go without responding - it would make me feel weird to NOT respond... even when the call is not for me.
Which makes me think of other responses that are conditioned in. I suppose driving is the ultimate in conditioning. Stop at a stop sign, drive on the right, green means go, red means stop, keep your eyes open, don't mow down the pedestrians (no matter how tempting that fifty points is).
Any other conditioning, brainwashing, automatic action anyone out there takes, and how you came to be that way? Anyone ever owned by a cat, I know what you've been conditioned to do. Dogs try, but they aren't very good at conditioning the humans they own. Other circumstances?