Culture

Herd instinct is indeed powerful

Boris Johnson resigned as UK Prime Minister. I’m not here to debate whether that was a right or wrong move. I will say that his resignation speech was interesting. To me, at least. Maybe a few others.

In his speech, he noted some of his accomplishments. He did have some major wins and moved the needle on a few things. At the end though, some of his personal failings did him in. He tried, unsuccessfully, to get his party to stick with him. But some had enough. I’m overly simplifying the narrative in order to get to his resignation speech. And, who hasn’t thought of such a thing? Whether it was in fantasies or nightmares.

What struck me was his reference to herd mentality. As a psychologist, that has always fascinated me. He noted that the herd mentality was strong and when it moves, it moves. At the root of herd mentality, is that when individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually. People can be influenced by others in such a way that their own individual rationale or understanding of right and wrong is subsumed.

If you ask me, herd mentality is everywhere and in every facet of our lives these days. And, that is frustrating, annoying, and somewhat scary in terms if what it means for us all. Workplaces are taken over, more and more readily, by such thought contagion. Social networks of friends can get infected and destroyed from the inside. Even families. Many point to the influence of social media. And, surely it is part of the equation. Yet, there’s more to it than that. The time is now, apparently, for such thinking whether right or wrong. I’m not casting judgment just noting a movement, of sorts. And, we would be justified in pausing and maybe (un)herding. Yes, I think I made up that term. Well, it’s probably out there already. So be it. Just unherd.

15 replies »

  1. SMiLes Miriam
    Social-Animal
    Is One Word and
    ‘Normally’ One Feeling
    One Sense ToGeTHeR
    ‘Normally’ Impossible
    For Social-Animals Now
    to Break Apart Removing
    The Social Just Wild And Free Alone
    More Like A Tiger in the Wild Yet They
    Still Make Biscuits Warm On Mother’s Breast
    And Feral Smaller
    Cats are Felt and
    Sensed to Be Reformed
    As Once Wild Cats of the Hunt
    Glued to my Wife’s Lap For That
    Same Warmth of Making Biscuits
    on Mother’s Breast That Removes All
    Fear and
    Yes Surely
    Depression too…
    True i Saw That Once
    Wild Hunter With A Squirrel
    Almost As Large As Him As A
    Youngster Feral of the Woods i
    Saw His Lightening Fast Dash Across
    The Fence When my Eyes met His Yet True
    Then Came a Drought And A Cry for Anything to
    Drink at All Under Our Shed And Then Came A Morsel
    of Food and Another And Another Soon To Be A Lap Cat
    of Comfort in my Wife’s Lap Which Gives me Some Hope For Reforming
    Humankind
    So Cold
    So Aloof
    So Many
    Have Come to Be
    Ending Their Lives
    With Only An Ice Cold
    Grip on A Big Gun And
    Taking Others With them
    As They Went to A Place
    Where Even Demons Fear to Tread
    True it’s almost impossible to Understand Until
    One Becomes the Truly Living Dead Unplugged
    From All Warm Human Connections Smiles While
    Neo is a Cool Story i’ll Stay Hybrid and Enjoy a Cat
    and Dog’s World Free to Explore With Sails Again and
    Free to Remain With Anchors Secure of Warmth in Tradition too
    At Least Enough to Fit in Rome When i Leave the Countryside of Wild
    And Eden Free Smiles my First Fascination in ‘Group Feel’ as that’s Really What’s
    It’s About As Charlie Chaplain’s ‘Great Dictator’ Speech Shows As Long As Ya Can
    Rouse the Togetherness Warm And ExubeRant of A Crowd Source It Doesn’t Really Matter
    What DarKness or LiGHT is used in Common Symbols And Ideologies For it is the Essence of
    The Feelings
    And Senses
    Together That
    Bonds And Binds
    The Newest Religion,
    CuLTuRE, Society, Group-Think,
    Matrix or Whatever Metaphor One May
    Care to Use to Describe Human Nature
    That is Classically Evolved And Plastically
    Evolves Day-to-Day Through Changing Cultures
    in Terms of What Bonds and Binds For All Symbols
    And Ideologies That We Continue to Co-Create And Change
    Oh Lord the Speed of That Change Has accelerated Almost to the
    Point of No Return of Human Understanding of Where We Even Stand or Fall
    As A Species Now surely Well ‘Behind’ the ‘PayGrade’ Of Intellect and Art of
    The Common Human Holding Hands ‘Listening’ INTENTLY IN TERMS OF
    EMOTIONS SHARED THAT MAKE ACTIONS HAPPEN NEXT FOR REAL
    FOR whoever may
    be making the Next
    Common Bonding and
    Binding Way of New Symbols
    And Ideologies in the Next Great
    Dictator Speech as that Applies to
    Freedom And Safety And Overall Human Surviving and Thriving
    And True When i Lost an Ability to Even Feel the Warmth of a Cat
    Or A memory if i ever smiled Before as Pain And Stress Enough Over
    a Number of years at Levels That Are Acute Will Basically Slowly Destroy
    All Bodily Systems from Head to Toe Particularly as A REAL CANARY IN A
    COAL MINE ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM LIKE me in Yes Accommodating
    Social Stress That For most Comes All Natural and Stays That Way for most
    ACross A Lifespan for Real Yet it’s True The Coal Mine is Even More Complex and
    Removed
    From What
    Was Once More
    Than Bowling Alone
    in 13.3 Screen Offices these
    days, day-to-day with so much
    of the Human-Kind Experience Left Behind
    It Started With Email And Continues to Separate That Way…
    Yet It’s True Humans Will Find a Way to Find Their Way Back
    So Surprised i Was online in Autism Spectrum Communities Born
    Online Again Just Trying to get My Mind off the Suicide Disease Second-to-
    Second Starting on Thanks Giving Day of 2010 To Find A Whole Group of People
    Who Were Stereotyped to Be Immune to the Fallings of ‘Group Think’ That Social
    Animals Naturally Do For Togetherness Yet It’s true immune They Were Not As They
    Developed A Conspiracy Theory Just Another Big Lie As We Currently See With the ‘Trump
    Meme’ And Yes Long Held Tradition(s) That All Loving, Merciful, Forgiving Gods Torture Their
    Enemies they Love Forever And In Some Cases Grow New Skins to Torture Them Even More in
    Burning
    Ways of
    Suffering
    Just Never
    Ending As if We
    Need a Worse Villain
    Than That in Any World For Real…
    Anyway Their ‘Big Lie’ was the ‘Autism Speaks
    Organization’ Was Conspiring to Rid the World
    of Autistic Folks in Some ‘Nazi’ Eugenic Way
    And They Were Just As Attached to That Theory
    As Folks are to ‘Trump’s Theories’ and Religion
    That Tortures Folks Forever Unless One Will
    Translate Myths into Reality For What Happens
    For Real in the DarK Nights of the Human Soul
    That No Longer Connect to Anything At All That Feels Human
    There is Already Enough Hell in the World Yet Humans Continue to
    Develop New Ways of Fresh Hell and The Good News Still is Fresh Heaven too
    Sadly Humans Who Cannot Feel Oxytocin Connections of Warm Human And Other
    Social Animal Classic Organic Love Are More Pre-Disposed to the Dopamine and
    Adrenaline Addictions that come With Bonding and Binding Over Anger And Hate
    Ripe They Are For
    A Special Hell
    Kind of Dictator
    And Where Does it Start
    With Big Daddy’s Who Demand
    Boys Don’t Cry or Smile For No Reason
    We Still Hear Them Yelling At Their Sons
    in The Neighborhood This Way It is Truly
    Still A Bible-Belt Tradition for the Parent
    Who Tortures the Child as Just Another
    Religion So Cold And Harsh Preparing
    Another Son to Die in Some Unwarranted War
    In the Name of God and Peace And Freedom
    As What Justification is There to Kill Hundreds
    of Thousands of Innocent Folks ThiS Way As Tradition
    By God It’s True Live By Love or Die By The Sword Not Much Has Changed…
    Choose Our Traditions Wisely or Not For How We Cut Others Down We Shall Fall…
    A Fascinating Subject i Could Write 10.6 MiLLioN Words About ‘This Condition’ So i Just Did it…
    And As Far As ‘The Psychology Field’ Goes No One in that Field Could Even Explain to me that
    i Lost the Oxytocin
    Biology Required
    to Feel the Warmth
    of A Cat And The Feeling
    of Warmth Behind A Smile Shared
    All They Could Do is Throw Pills
    That Helped With Serotonin, Dopamine,
    And Adrenaline at me Yet They Had No
    Clue That i Was
    Just Another
    Kitty Cat
    So far
    Removed
    From Mother’s
    Breast And Lost
    It’s True i Was Ready for
    the Hunt and Kill Yet i Still
    Had the Morals of A Kitten Warm And True…
    i’ll Tell You This Much if ‘They’ Knew Where the
    Human Soul Will Go There Wouldn’t Be Any Assault
    Weapons Left on Any Shelves to Buy And Indeed ‘They’ Are
    Finding Out as There Are Many Canaries in the ‘Coal Mine’
    Who Don’t Recover…
    Either The Village
    Raises a Child
    Of
    Love
    Or ‘They’ Do Not…
    My Mother Did Her
    Job Truly Enough Felt to Eventually Thrive Again…
    Nah, Mama’s Don’t Raise Your Boys to Drown in Tears of Beers…
    of a ‘Bible Belt’ County Here… Or the Meth Labs With The Suicidal
    Additives Up in the Northern part of a ‘Bible Belt’ County even
    More challenging… Yes
    Forcing Women Now
    To Bring Even
    More Children
    Into That ‘Mississippi, Texas, Etcetera,
    And Even ‘LA’ Lower Alabama World of Hell…
    As Always Be Careful What We Wish for Or Else…
    i Surely Don’t Have Any Answers Other than Heaven
    Works When
    it Does…
    for
    me
    at least…
    -A Canary
    Who Ain’t Going Back…
    Yet i’m Not Fooling Myself
    Public Dance Isn’t Gonna Catch On
    And Even If it Did They Would ‘Outlaw’
    It As Not Everyone Would Avoid Running Into Other Folks
    And As Far As Long Form Poetry Goes if You Really Wanna Do
    Neo And ‘The Others’ As Mythologized Through History You Become too
    Big to See
    And You
    Don’t Compete
    For Anything Anyone
    Else Wants to Buy or Sell…
    It’s True Hehe It’s Impossible
    to Be Canceled This Way in More than one way hehe…
    And As Far As The Public Dance GoeS AGAiN Don’t Harm
    Anyone A Best advice
    ever indeed
    to continue
    to Survive
    And Thrive
    Together Be
    Free Just Don’t
    Harm Anyone else Doing it For Real…
    And The Reality is Without Technology
    For Support Using it As Tool and Not Being
    Mastered By it; Without a Country That Really
    Does support Life, Liberty, And the Pursuit of Both
    Group and Individual Happiness too; Without ‘FDR’ And
    Unions Supporting Government Pensions to Free Someone
    From the Almighty
    God of Dollar Bills;
    Just Another Starving
    Artist Yet It’s True Heaven
    Really Is Possible in These Days Still For Real Even Together
    That And This Much is Real And Not Just A ‘Present Danger’…:)

    Like

  2. Herd mentality is the origin of the echo chamber and the social bubble. There was a survey by a reputable group that indicated a majority of Americans had changed their stated beliefs in order to fit in better with their social group.

    I think the internet makes this sort of thing much easier and it is the source of our extreme polarization today. Fifty years ago politicians had to appeal to the middle because the country’s political leaning was a Bell curve distribution. This was encouraged by media that only had a few national outlets.

    Today it is multiple Bell curves. Everybody gets to have a media source that caters to what they already want to believe. Then clustering into internet bubbles further reduced the variability one would normally see. The left-right paradigm is now a two humped camel instead of one and each of those is a cluster of single interest groups around the political party that pays lip service to them.

    We only have a two party system still because the system is designed as winner take all. Minor parties don’t have much of a chance in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always hated herds – it doesn’t help when you’re one of the odd ones who doesn’t fit in.

    Herds scare me. Maybe they’re good when a lion is going after your pod of gazelles, and those who move quickly are more likely to survive, but I see only the potentially damaging side of mobs and masses.

    Though I would have loved to be at the Women’s March on Washington, and a few other group events, the majority have such potential for exploding that I always feel unsafe, am always looking for the little corners where I could hide if things go sour. I don’t think you can get rid of that feeling.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Let me just check in with the hive mind before I comment…

    OK, I’m back.

    I have nothing to say about Boris.

    ▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪
    ▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫▪◾◼◾▪▫◽◻◽▫

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your new term! And we agree that the relinquishment of personal responsibility is a mode of being whose time has passed (it better have, or we’re all out of time)… 🙏

    Like

  6. Good post, for sure. Herd mentality is good when leaving a burning building, but not so good when heading over a cliff. People need to hear as much as they can on a subject from several sources, before making up their minds. Algorithms tend to eliminate individual thinking. I never really got the “being a life long political party supporter” idea. Supporting a group at all costs, whether they do good or bad does not make sense. Parties earn my support by doing the right thing for the right reasons. Happy Monday. Allan

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