The dangers of herd mentality
By Ernest Falkner III
Zillion Dollar Thinking
Unfortunately, today it boils down to who can shout down, bully, out-craft and/or intimidate the opposing party. And, as the seasons or policy issues get closer to a showdown (e.g., elections/decisions), the conflicts seem to get louder and more physical. Who is feeding this phenomenon and where is this headed?
The subject of herding is gaining more spotlight by the day. It is the antithesis of organized thought. Years ago, Merrill Lynch adopted the title, “The Thundering Herd” as a bullish position on the economy and a positive spin on the idea of herding. In extreme contrast today, mobs are the product of herding gone wild and out of control. It would benefit us to look at what is driving these herds.
Herd behavior is generally applied to animals, whereas herd mentality implies a uniquely human phenomenon. Herd mentality implies a fear-based reaction to peer pressure which makes individuals act in a certain order to avoid feeling left behind or left out of the group. Herd mentality is also a part of “mob mentality.”
Further, because of the vast and commanding influence of instant information, sentiment and segmentation, we are subtlety falling into a “herd versus herd" society in America.
From a herd point of view, we have organized labor vs. management vs. government; Democrats vs. Republicans vs. Independents/ denomination vs. denomination; race vs. race; on and on. In essence, we live in an increasingly polarized country in almost every area where herds breed.
The common denominator among these masses is often a herd mentality, which is never the most thoughtful or objective direction. In this case, calculated, purposeful and wise decisioning would be just the opposite.
Unfortunately, today it boils down to who can shout down, bully, out-craft and/or intimidate the opposing party. And, as the seasons or policy issues get closer to a showdown (e.g. elections/decisions), the conflicts seem to get louder and more physical.
Who is feeding this phenomenon and where is this headed?
By now, we know that anyone or any group that is fueling this movement does not have or want your individual thought or critique expressed or attached to their own agenda. That is not what herds are supposed to do. They are amassed to get in line and follow in lock step to whatever and wherever the anointed one or the groups tell them to go … without question.
So, if you are contemplating joining a herd and your sentiment is, “Just tell me what to do,” then please consider this response: Don’t. Don’t fall for this continuing trap. Don't automatically consent. Don’t give up or into a weakened state of vulnerability. Don’t be pressured into a timeline of someone’s edict. Don’t be intimidated or blindsided.
These are exactly the conditions where herd mentality thrives and why herd-masters do not want them spotlighted or even considered as a brand of (not) thinking. That would be counterintuitive to their ultimate purpose. And, you can see how technology and the connectivity of social and industrial media and sites are the perfect instruments to fuel this phenomenon even more dramatically and almost instantly (going viral).
Here’s the deal. We are in the throes of one of the most freedom-threatening economic, political and spiritual environments known to man. If there were ever a time to not fall prey to herds, it is now.
As always, you decide … please.
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