Fade Into The Crowd
Human behavior is complicated— simple as that. There are copious psychologists that attempt to unlock our unconscious mind. Still, the mind is as enigmatic as ever.
While neurologists and psychologists strive to understand individual behavior, it appears that crowd behavior is in a different league.
Crowds function independently of their component parts. Although a crowd is a collection of individuals, it is an entity unto itself and able to function independently — to control and be controlled.
What happens when a group of likeminded, people at the steps of the Capitol Building, or outside a stadium? A crowd forms.
In January, we witnessed crowds of anti-vax protests at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California and an insurrection attempt in Washington, D.C..
Cause and conviction
But crowds aren’t always extremist, violent or out for blood — although, the recent right-wing protests do bear a resemblance to the loathsome lynch mobs of previous decades.
Crowds need a leader, or some force to guide them. Being a person of conviction can be an inspirational thing. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a leader and champion of the civil rights movement. A firm advocate for non-violence, he is famously remembered for his role in organizing the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
Ultimately, Dr. King’s efforts were successful in gaining support for the Voting Rights Act (1965). Moreover, his legacy of commanding non-violent protesters across the American South remains an invaluable achievement today.
Some social movements — such as the one led by Dr. King — contributed to a positive shift in history. However, other group leaders in the 20th century tended to use their influence for sinister ends.
Gustave Le Bon’s theories on crowd behavior in the 19th century proved a useful instruction manual to the…