Crowd, the Omnipresent, the Omnipotent and the Omniscient (Essay)

Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

For so many of us, the crowd is the god. We don’t know much about the final judgement day that awaits us for the sins we do on earth but feel the “judgement” of the crowd and its beating on our backs to correct any “deviant” act and morality every day.

After a while, the thought policing of the crowd makes us a unidimensional, unidirectional, and unidentified man. We become the loyal dogs of our tribe. Centuries of conditioning combined with religious sanctions and social ostracism imprinted the need for social approval and acceptance deep in our neurons. The validations we crave in the name of likes, retweets, comments, and hashtags on social media are testimonials of this fact.

The initial premature tribalism later evolved into glorified nationalism and totalitarian rules in Europe and other parts of the world. The popping up of “Yes-Masters” in the crowd killed millions of Jews. This is mainly because the crowd acquires unthinking and participates in the acts of evil, without not being necessarily evil. ( Hannah Arendt covers this in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A report on the Banality of Evil. Can one do evil without being evil?)

If the crowd accepts something as pious then it is the iron law. Few souls opposed it and got the punishment. Socrates was accused of impiety (desecration and mockery of divine objects) and was killed for his Parrhesia (Frank Speech), just to give a well-known example.

Forget about challenging groupthink, the normal choices about food, clothing, movies, books, and music are judged left and right. Conformity is rewarded and nonconformists are branded as “different”. The news reporting agencies too know this. Hence, the fourth estate also never crosses the line.

Immigrants face this problem a lot. They are supposed to “Fit in” and any misfits preaching multiculturalism are a nuisance in society. And the whole concept of a “Melting pot” is a metaphor for majoritarianism. James Baldwin says this— Who wants to be melted down? And melted down to what? It’s a problematic metaphor. You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble.”

It’s unfortunate that the crowd took the place of god. However, education can be a good tool to change this ( Here, it means, Paideia. The deep education rather than cheap schooling). Leo Buscaglia puts it in the way I want it to be—

“Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his own uniqueness, to teach him how to develop that uniqueness, and then to show him how to share it because that’s the only reason for having anything.” Such kind of educational transformation can be starting place. It also raises the truth tolerance levels of society and taps into the “wisdom of the minority”(Frederick Douglass).

A perfect end here comes from Emerson—

“ Masses are rude, lame, unmade, pernicious in their demands and influence and one must not concede anything to them, but to tame, drill, divide, and break them up, and draw individuals out of them.”

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