Rising Above the Crowd
“The masses have never thirsted after truth. They turn aside from evidence that is not to their taste, preferring to deify error, if error seduces them. Whoever can supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy their illusions is always their victim. An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will.”
– Gustave Le Bon, Psychology of the Masses
Seeing someone ascend past the average consensus is uncomfortable for most people to see. The herd of mediocrity is an enemy of psychological and spiritual freedom.
Their ego tries to defend them and so when you go out to be your best self, they will do their utmost to make sure that you stay within the group; you become a threat to their average existence.
This is why most people are scared of succeeding (rather than failing) and will do everything they can to halt their own growth – the underlying fear they won’t be accepted.
Being the same as everyone else, the flock will project their insecurities and pain as their individuality is crushed by the pack.
If you become mentally quiet and introspect, you’ll notice your Soul is always whispering to you. Become the person it is asking you to be; otherwise, you’ll be the architect of your own future suffering.
I know this stuff because I was in the herd most of my life.
The following three points are from Psychology of the Crowd by Gustave Le Bon.
They show how the crowd is manipulated. Once aware of them, you should be able to see those tactics used towards nefarious ends.
In a crowd, people lose their individualism. I watched a movie a few years back about a guy who owned an estate agency and worked very hard during the week but was a football hooligan on the weekend. Other than the dopamine hit he was getting on the weekend what else appealed to him?
When in a crowd, the individual loses the fear of any consequences they may have. They can lean on the rest of the group as an excuse for the behaviour. This also breeds a sense of invincibility. Instincts that are usually tamed cannot be held back and can lead to destructive behaviour.
Essentially, there is no longer any need for self-responsibility. This provides a fleeting sensation that is addictive to the average mind – a release from the never-ending concerns in one’s existence.
In the Netherlands in 1637, ‘Tulipmania’ took place. Investors were spending obscene amounts of money buying tulips, and they rose as much as 1,100% in value. This inevitably came crashing down and bankrupted many people. Without the crowd psychology, the majority of investors wouldn’t have got involved in the craze.
We see this in today’s financial markets, yearly toy ‘fads’ and sports fans, to name a few. The content may change, but human psychology doesn’t evolve that quickly.
Mao Zedong, otherwise known as Chairman Mao of the Chinese Communist Party, won the 22-year civil war against the Chinese Nationalists in 1949. In 1958 he enforced what is known as ‘The Great Leap Forward’ to catch up with western economies. This led to the deaths of at least 45 million people in China through overworking, starving or being beaten to death. But one man alone cannot cause that destruction.
Chairman Mao’s ‘Crowd’ had their demagogue. The masses can become mesmerised by the leader and can influence the crowd to his own end. The usually reasonable individual enters a state of hypnosis and is used by the leader to commit atrocities.
Today, we see this in the media as a prime example. They can subvert the truth and create an energy field behind any agenda they wish. And the masses buy it hook, line and sinker. Although you may argue you cannot compare it to 45 million people being killed, human psychology doesn’t change. Manipulation is constant to different degrees.
“Here is yet another important consideration for helping us to understand the individual in a group: Moreover, by the mere fact that he forms part of an organised group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilisation. Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian— that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings. He then dwells especially upon the lowering in intellectual ability which an individual experiences when he becomes merged in a group.”
― Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego
Ascending Beyond The Crowd
Get Physically Healthy
We are living in a material realm, which comes with a material body. Looking after the gift of this body is not only necessary but the moral thing to do. Self-abuse in any form is a disservice to yourself and creation/evolution (same thing). This is why ‘the elite’ do all they can to keep your psyche fragmented and you physically weak.
A consequence of a healthy body is a healthy mind and vice versa. They are mutually exclusive, which is why somatic bodywork can be hugely beneficial. Wanting to Create in the world requires stillness of mind. Being one and the same, the body needs to be healthy and vital to get to this stillness.
Your desire to be healthy puts you one up against the crowd. The average person has no will to ascend. And the masses are the unhealthiest they have ever been. Step above that – get psychically healthy, and all areas of your life will begin to flourish. It is Natural Law.
Know The Crowd’s Psychology
The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.
– Niccolò Machiavelli.
By knowing how the crowd gets manipulated allows you to be objective and puts you one step ahead of the rest.
Awareness of the crowd’s average patterns will put you a step ahead as you will know when you are falling into the abyss of the herd. But you have to be wise with the knowledge.
Purposely going out your way to go against the herd may not be of benefit to you. Strategically mingling in for a while may bring you fruitful rewards depending on your end goal. How can you use the psychology of the masses for your own benefit? It isn’t manipulative, it is wise providing it is used ethically.
Crowd behaviour is heavily influenced by the loss of responsibility of the individual. As the crowd grows more substantial, the behaviour of the group falls to its lowest common denominator. This means that the consciousness of the behaviour will inevitably fall and individuals tend to do things they’d never do if they weren’t with the crowd.
Find Your Values and Live Your Own Philosophy
I wrote an article on how to find your life’s purpose a couple of months back. It’s only reasonable that when you know the reason you exist, you can realise the values that you want to live your life to.
Without knowing yourself, how can you have a grasp on your own philosophy other than repeating what you have heard elsewhere? Deep introspective work is needed; including meditation, contemplation, concentration and decentration.
Making the time for this is self-love. It is all too easy to keep your head down working, which is usually an avoidance pattern, rather than taking the time to work in.
Only when you live your own philosophy and become a real individual can you be free of the masses. Liberation from the collective prison is the only way to express Creativity, bringing that of Divine origin into the world.
Individuals Create. Crowds Destroy.
“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
― Ayn Rand
Become responsible for your own development as a human being. The alternative is for governments, institutions and the crowd to run your life for you.
Creativity, the means of manifestation in the world, relies on the stillness of mind. It also requires a strong Will. Only an individual who has done a lot of self-growth work will have the capability to avoid the traps laid down by the crowd.
The fear of judgement, that of the masses in particular, is the most common fear in the world. It needs to be overcome or at least working towards unattachment to the feelings that arise upon the judgement. Check out my article about the fear of judgement and how to overcome it.