There is nothing worse than the herd mentality. You may have heard of it before, and maybe unknowingly, you have even participated in it too. How does herd mentality work? Well, herd mentality is when you hear something that most masses are seemingly agreeing with and you also fall into the bandwagon.
The belief can be quite outrageous, but then, when the masses say its true, our logical mind kind of shuts off. Herd mentality has been the doom of humankind throughout history and even now, we are sometimes drawn to it. Maybe it is just in our psychology.
Let’s look at a few events in history where herd mentality resulted in massive losses. Back in the Roman period, herd mentality was strong. The few noblemen and kings knew that the Roman masses could be distracted from their immediate problems like lack of food, unemployment, etc. So, the famous Gladiator wars were pushed and promoted to the point where the masses, like a herd, forgot about their basic needs and end up enjoying the bloodbaths in the Colosseum.
Then, in Greece, when Socrates, the wise philosopher, was sentenced to death, the masses supported it despite there being enough proof that Socrates was not a betrayer. And if you want a more recent event which has spread a black mark over history, look at the Salem Witch Trials. A simple incident snowballed into a major witch hunt just because of herd mentality. The masses were afraid and they wanted blood – it did not matter if the entire proposition was just a farce.
The problem with herd mentality is that it has happened before, it can happen even now. It is something that is hardwired in our minds. It almost seems like we really can’t help it. It might be because we have a wrong notion that if the mass is finding something to be right, it has to be right. But that is never quite true.
The masses are emotional, most of them may not think things through in a very logical way. That’s why an entire mass cannot be termed as philosophers, we only get a few philosophers from an entire population of a country. On top of being emotional, the masses are not quite educated.
Lack of education can make them impulsive as they are not quite attuned to the consequences that certain actions can bring. Lack of education and over-impulsiveness are a deadly combination.
Herd mentality, even in recent times, has been known to cause major issues. There have been mob lynchings in many countries, based on nothing but a fake WhatsApp message. Since we are on the topic of fake news, fake news shows how herd mentality can be used in favor of politicians or an agenda.
By circulating fake news all over the internet, you can make a particular mass think in one way. The detractors of this belief will also clump together and think in a different way. But what it just creates is division and lack of any discussion.
Logic, discussion, and talking are all subtracted from the normal human discourse and living when you engage in herd mentality. And when you are devoid of logic, you become the mass, with a silent ‘M’.