When Human Nature Turns Deadly…
Of all the frightening things a person can deal with in a lifetime, mob mentality has to be one of the absolute scariest.
If you’ve ever experienced this in person, you know that one minute, everything feels normal, and the next, you’re caught up in a frenzied crowd making split-second decisions and doing things you’d never dreamed of doing before.
This kind of hive mind takeover is how a lot of young Nazi soldiers describe Kristallnacht. This event was a night of attacks against Jews that left buildings demolished and businesses destroyed. It was a strange, exhilarating thing they found themselves caught up in.
Later in history, we see examples of mob mentality where people turned on their closest friends and neighbors. McCarthyism is a perfect example of this. Because of the Red Scare, people denounced their friends and neighbors as “suspected Communists” – often without a shred of evidence.
Even the best of intentions can turn a thought into a massacre. Take the example of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the principles of the French Enlightenment. His political philosophies of Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite began with the hopes of uniting the people.
Freedom, equality, and brotherhood are all simple, important concepts, but the wrong twist happens and the next thing you know, citizens are suffering at the hands of Maximilian Robespierre and dying in the guillotines by the droves.
It’s easy to look at historical examples and dismiss them as “things that would never happen in this day and age”, but once you scratch the surface of this topic, you’ll see that examples of mob mentality run rampant in modern day society.
Modern Mob Mentality
Remember when the “Not Guilty” verdict came down in the trial of the LAPD officers filmed with Rodney King? The 1992 Los Angeles riots are a perfect example of mob mentality.
In response to the verdict, people took to the streets in droves, destroying their own communities and looting from local stores. Over the course of five days, Americans were glued to their televisions watching as looting and arson took place all over L.A.
More recently, we can start to see a pattern of mob mentality erupting online.
When 16 year old Catholic school student Nick Sandmann was filmed wearing a Make America Great Again hat at a March For Life event and smiling uncomfortably (or smirking, depending upon who you ask) in the face of a drum-banging protestor, the response online was swift and full of contempt.
A Twitter account which has since been suspended shared video of the event with the caption, “this MAGA loser gleefully bothering a Native American protester at the Indigenous Peoples March.”
From That Point On, The Torch Was Lit
Other Twitter users chimed in, sharing where Nick lived, went to school and their opinions that the youth was obviously a hateful racist who deserved retribution. Sandmann went on to sue news networks for sharing this story so publicly without even vetting it – it was a pure example of modern mob mentality if there ever was one.
There are even commonplace examples of mob mentality taking over.
Think of Black Friday, for example.
People will fight and claw and trample one another for the chance to purchase a discounted TV, and then go back to their lives like nothing ever happened. You can’t possibly think they’d act like that on a normal day – it’s largely the hive mind that drives them to this.
Mob mentality is so frightening because there’s immense power in the populace. This has caused riots, deaths in the past – who knows what kind of outcomes we could see in the future?
With the wrong sort of influence, we could see large scale riots… or even an attempt at revolution.
I’m Not The Only One Who Thinks So
Recently, Jamie Wheal came to visit me on the set of London Real.
Jamie is the Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project and expert in the neuro-physiology of human performance.
Jamie’s advised Fortune 500 companies like Google, Nike, and Red Bull, as well as the U.S. Naval War College, on strategy, execution, and leadership for more than a decade.
He’s also an accomplished author – he co-authored the Pulitzer Prize-nominated “Stealing Fire”, and his upcoming book “Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death for a World That’s Lost It’s Mind”, promises to bring new revelations to light on the topics of biohacking, self-help, and psychedelic revolutions.
With all those accomplishments, you might think he’s a pretty tenacious guy, but when I asked what his concerns for the future were, he says that mob mentality is the number one thing that scares him the most.
Jamie predicts that in the coming years, we’re going to be seeing more and more of it…
And when people drop their humanity and cease to recognize what we share as people, with that comes vindication and pure bloodlust.
Listen, the only way to avoid this potential future is with conscious decisions in the present – when we’re not feeling all bent out of shape about something.
Instead of giving in during the seemingly inconsequential times (like Black Friday), we have to learn to take a step back and think about the circumstances objectively.
Ask yourself, is this really what you think, or is this idea influenced by someone else?
Would you feel differently if you were presented with this choice when you were alone?
Practicing with thoughts like these when the stakes are low can help you train your mind to think clearly in times of chaos.
This is another time when thinking for ourselves is the only way towards a more pleasant society.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored