I have recently become fascinated by the idea of the “Herd Mentality“ which is the phenomenon of people in crowds or groups who blindly, sometimes mindlessly follow the “lead” of certain persons within the same group who appear to be better informed than the rest of the group. In a related manner, certain persons who set themselves as “authorities” in a given situation or on a certain subject can manipulate large groups of people to re-align their thinking to match that of the self appointed authority. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Sarah Palin come to mind.
We can see this herd mentality phenomena not only in politics, but also in the advertising world and in academia. What it suggests to me is that human beings are very much like sheep, and we just follow the one directly in front of us for no reason other than just following. Sort of like this video of sheep who were grazing contentedly on one side of the road and starting following those sheep who followed those sheep who followed the lead sheep who crossed to the other side of the road.
Mind control is a fascinating and provocative subject, and I feel it’s worth it to study it in an objective fashion, as much as it’s possible for me. In the past, I’ve railed continually about the hold the mega media outlets have on our minds, and I think now is the time to stop railing and start learning more about this subject of mind control.
I’ll humbly start by using the Far Right as an example, (not dismissing the Far Left or the Center). I believe the momentum of the Tea Party in particular is a great example of the herd mentality. One has to ask who are the people who have flocked to this movement? Who were they before they joined? Why are they able to join forces with such an anti-social movement, and toss their integrity and critical reasoning on the trash heap of history? Why are people so susceptible to being baited by words like “Reload” & “Blood Libel” by people like Sarah Palin? Or why are they susceptible to being manipulated by ideas that invoke “nigger fear” for want of a better term? Are people in general just like sheep to the slaughter, without an ounce of discernment of what is happening?
Words are a powerful mode of manipulation, both for good and evil, and it seems that the one who uses words most effectively leads by default. The power seems to lie in the words themselves and how they are expressed, than in the people using them. Politicians are masters at this. For example, President Obama has a way with delivering words. So do Sarah Palin, Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh! All of these politicians know how to manipulate people against their own best interests to follow behind the politician’s agenda by using words to evoke a range of emotions such as fear, anger, loyalty, patriotism or whatever that politician needs at the moment.
Scientists say that in animal herds, the leader is not necessarily more intelligent, bigger or stronger than the herd. They just happen to find themselves out front and for that reason they are followed by their closest neighbor, who is then followed by THEIR closest neighbors behind them and so on. Unfortunately, people are alot like that. Herd Mentality Tests have been done: test groups of people are sent out to walk amongst crowds. They go out walking with an air of authority, and because they seem to know where they’re headed, other people mindlessly follow behind them, even though they have no idea of where the test people are going. The test people have no idea themselves! Fascinating stuff!
I’m interested in how this herd mentality applies to black people within our various cultures. How do we act and follow along based on how others of us act and follow along? How are we as black people manipulated and self sabotaged or helped and uplifted by the black herd mentality? How are we shaped by the power of the words we believe? We need to know the objective answers to these questions.
As black people, we have many cultures throughout the world. There are so many ways of being black in this world. Sadly, too many of them are tainted with negativity and brokenness, based on what we have listened to and believed from those who profit from our confusion and degradation. It’s very dangerous for our so called leaders to promulgate negative stereotypes about us, creating herds of self hating black folks with no concept of who they are or what their history is. Or when self hating leadership herds are created in the Motherland–when so many African leaders are despots – unwilling to care for the people they lead. What goes into the creation of these hardened and greed filled “leaders”? How does this phenomena play itself out where black people are throughout the Diaspora, and in the nations of Africa? Does this manipulation have anything to do with our continued self sabotage and degradation?
And if so, can we create a revolutionary herd mentality among our people? Have we before? Often we’ve heard the saying, Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow. Can we start a herd mentality based on these words of power?