The Herd Instinct

Herd behavior describes how individuals in a group can act collectively without centralized direction.

A few days ago, I read an essay by a Harvard Professor, Elizabeth Lunbeck, about how cultivated individuals can become barbarians in a crowd. I often observe situations in which what looks different to the crowd and the masses are not being accepted and welcomed by the society. It is a heart-breaking fact that most people are not ready to embrace new approaches and knowledge different to those they have already been taught. It is as if humanity enjoys programming itself and forcing one’s brain to stay close-minded no willing to understand that knowledge is the strongest armor.

“In Group Psychology, Freud asks why crowds make a ‘barbarian’ of the ‘cultivated individual’. Why are the inhibitions enforced by social life so readily overwhelmed by all that is ‘cruel, brutal and destructive’ when we join together with others? And why does the crowd need a strong leader, a hero to whom it willingly submits? The crowd – which is, after all, just an evanescent massing of humanity, a gathering that will quickly disperse once its task is finished – is oddly ‘obedient to authority’. It might appear anarchic, but at the bottom, it’s conservative and tradition-bound.”

Freud raises a very significant question when talking about the need in obeying an authority. To which theory the former Soviet Union can serve as a great example, along with a more radical example, sadly enough still existing in our days, which is North Korea. 
A very significant part is the fact of how easy it is to manipulate a human’s brain. A person does what one is taught to do. A person follows what one is taught to follow and a person obeys those who he is told, to obey.

Because of these processes, derives another fact, which I find even more radical and significant. The lack of ability and will, to release oneself from the chains of being obedient to an authority, even when it stops to exist. Which is a very noticeable thing in contemporary Russia, where a vast amount of its population is not willing to live without being told what to do or live without a higher power. Even over twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“Nothing threatens a corrupt system more than a free mind.” Suzy Kassem


With Love,


Yana BinaevComment