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
    Is One Word and
    ‘Normally’ One Feeling
    One Sense ToGeTHeR
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    Glued to my Wife’s Lap For That
    Same Warmth of Making Biscuits
    on Mother’s Breast That Removes All
    Fear and
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    Depression too…
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    Youngster Feral of the Woods i
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    Drink at All Under Our Shed And Then Came A Morsel
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    of Comfort in my Wife’s Lap Which Gives me Some Hope For Reforming
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    So Aloof
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    Have Come to Be
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    Grip on A Big Gun And
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    One Becomes the Truly Living Dead Unplugged
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    Neo is a Cool Story i’ll Stay Hybrid and Enjoy a Cat
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    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
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    The Feelings
    And Senses
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    Bonds And Binds
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    CuLTuRE, Society, Group-Think,
    Matrix or Whatever Metaphor One May
    Care to Use to Describe Human Nature
    That is Classically Evolved And Plastically
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    in Terms of What Bonds and Binds For All Symbols
    And Ideologies That We Continue to Co-Create And Change
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    Point of No Return of Human Understanding of Where We Even Stand or Fall
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    FOR whoever may
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    Dictator Speech as that Applies to
    Freedom And Safety And Overall Human Surviving and Thriving
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    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
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    in 13.3 Screen Offices these
    days, day-to-day with so much
    of the Human-Kind Experience Left Behind
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    Yet It’s True Humans Will Find a Way to Find Their Way Back
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    Second Starting on Thanks Giving Day of 2010 To Find A Whole Group of People
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    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
    Ways of
    Just Never
    Ending As if We
    Need a Worse Villain
    Than That in Any World For Real…
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    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
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    Kind of Dictator
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    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
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    That Helped With Serotonin, Dopamine,
    And Adrenaline at me Yet They Had No
    Clue That i Was
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    So far
    From Mother’s
    Breast And Lost
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    the Hunt and Kill Yet i Still
    Had the Morals of A Kitten Warm And True…
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    Human Soul Will Go There Wouldn’t Be Any Assault
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    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
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    And Even ‘LA’ Lower Alabama World of Hell…
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    at least…
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    Unions Supporting Government Pensions to Free Someone
    From the Almighty
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    That And This Much is Real And Not Just A ‘Present Danger’…:)


  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)… 🙏


  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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