Have you ever blindly followed a trend of which you didn’t have the foggiest idea of what all hype was about or simply have you ever demanded things that your friends had and so you wanted to have the same. Indian mothers enunciate a famous saying, “In the event if he/she hops in the well, would you too?” Would you too!?
There’s certainly no harm in going behind the flock, provided they are all ethically right and you do not blindly follow them under the notion, “If they are doing it, I ought to do it too.”
Recently, the US capitol siege news kept many contemplating how subtly a biased mob can be influenced to an extent where they despite the severity of consequences indulge in violent activities. It can now be legit stated that a powerful democracy, not only draws strength from the people of their country, but also from the checks on their power and reach. In the murky world now where most of the social interactions happen virtually, it’s become quite easy to influence a mob.
For instance, in 2015 a woman named Jasleen Kaur posted a photograph of a man, Saravjeet Singh, on Facebook accusing him of verbal harassment at a traffic signal in Delhi. As her post garnered attention she received immense support and applause for vigorously raising her voice against eve-teasing and harassment, by the people, media, and even national celebrities and politicians. He likewise put a post claiming his innocence on Facebook before his arrest. But since in contemporary society, a woman is always seen as the victim, the man faced backlashes and was arrested the next day. The man by the grace of the media trial was labeled as, “National Pervert” and whatnot. After four years, he was acquitted of all charges when a witness came forward to prove him innocent. A typical case where “mob mentality” cleared the route for the stagnation of a person’s character.
What is Mob mentality or Herd mentality?
Mob mentality is something where people’s thinking is mostly driven by their peers, mostly on the basis of sentiments rather than rational thinking. It defies logic, questioning, debate, research, reasoning, or common sense. It’s like a sheep blindly following a flock. This horde mindset can lead to nonsensical, bizarre, and violent outcomes. Rather than doing fact-checks or inspections, this swarm outlook tends to deliver its own verdicts.
All of us have experienced it knowingly or unknowingly. Take a simple instance of the fidget spinner hype which became a hula-hoop for generation-z. Suddenly it was everywhere. The snowflake-shaped device whose use is questionable crazily swiped teenage years.
Mob – mentality and social media
The entire generation is a victim of “infodemic”. Researches say that this mob-mentality has become stronger and more frequent as more news and information has moved online. With information being readily available, just a few taps away it has become utterly easy to fall prey to half-truths and fallacies. Social media serves as a medium to shape a crowd’s perception and acts as a cloak of anonymity for people. In this digitized age, people use heuristic techniques to decide what is true or what is false, and so it’s easy for marauders or perpetrators to invoke negative repercussions. Everybody these days seems to be spreading wisdom, even if they themselves have a questionable biased thinking process.
Mob mentality and aggression
In 2016, reports of mobs of men sexually assaulting women in Germany on New Year’s Eve–and the mobs of rioters targeting Pakistani and Syrian immigrants came out. It left many dumbfounded how so many people can commit such a horrific act. Cultural differences are one thing, but another intriguing factor is crowd psychology. When with a group we tend to become less responsible for our actions and thus moral code infringement raises. Alternatively, perpetrators may knowingly commit wrongdoing to seek the approval of those around them.
It’s as simple as thinking, if everybody is doing that, it ought to be correct or justified.
Another famous instance of mob-mentality is the Salem witch trials:
In 1962, when some teenage girls started acting weird, likely due to sickness, a doctor declared them as being possessed. In the aftermath, the witch-phobic town went berserk. They allegedly arrested “witches” for trials. A series of hearings and prosecutions took place and more than two hundred people were accused of witchcraft. Horde thinking escalated the trials because in a way if you accuse others, you stay unaccused. It forced everybody who wanted to live to become active accusers and strong supporters of trials to get rid of the witches. The episode is one of Colonial America’s most notorious cases of mass hysteria.
Be it the US coup-d’etat instance or communal riots and violence arising all over the world, it’s high time we start fact-checking and rational thinking. Going behind an ideologically motivated coup that pushes our emotions to the precipice is not at all justifiable..
So How can we avoid following the herd?
1. Acknowledge your judgments:
Learn to recognize your opinion regarding everything. For example, sometimes in general, we like a movie and its story, but as soon as we look up at its rating on the IMDb and see it being rated 1 out of 5, we start to question our judging abilities. Whenever being asked about our perspective on the movie, we tend to incline towards telling that the movie was horrible despite liking it. Whether something seems good or bad, you like it or you don’t like it, respect and acknowledge your judgment.
2. Think it through:
In India, When Coronavirus cases were multiplying manifolds during March 2020, amidst the chaos there were many unscientific conjectures brewing up, one among them was that it can also spread through chicken meat and eggs. Scientific evidence was available that it cannot spread through poultry, still, people stopped consuming eggs and meat and as a result, many livelihoods dependent on poultry were adversely hit. It would have been better if people would have looked at the facts and reports. In conclusion, avoid being misinformed, consciously analyze, and think it through.
3. Spend some time taking decisions:
Try not to surge and don’t adopt a heuristic strategy to choose anything. In the event that others settle on snappy choices, they may not generally be correct. At the point when we see others taking quick decisions, we will in general go with the herd. Know your alternatives, do research, and come out sanely with a decision.
4. Do not fear to stand out:
In the quest for social acknowledgment, don’t deprecate yourself. Everybody is different and so each one of us ought to have different thinking. Be willing to stand out.
Most of the time when we don’t know what is going on, we think others might know and so we follow them. Be that as it may, they may themselves be unconscious of what’s going on. Henceforth, assess, and scrutinize your choices and quit following the Mob-Mentality. As Aristotle quotes, “All persons ought to endeavour to follow what is right, and not what is established,” let’s not forget a general sense of well-being and logic, even if it requires standing alone.
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