This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3| Volume 4 | Volume 5 | Volume 6

Masses do not reason

Next, since we’re being honest with ourselves, we need to admit that just because “two heads are better than one,” it does not follow that two million heads are better than one. Again, due to human nature, it tends to work in the opposite direction, and too many individuals in a group tends to move things in the direction of hysteria and irrationality.

While large groups can never “think” together as one, social psychology has demonstrated that they are capable of “feeling” together as one. This is the explanation for group hysteria and herd instincts and so on, where people act out in bizarre ways under the influence of the pressures of the group. The same does not go for thought, however, and in fact, the tendency of the group to go by feel works directly against the capacity of the individual to engage his reason.

The takeaway is that when you group people into a huge mass, you actually decrease your chances of getting a rational response. What you’ll get is an emotional reaction, although it may come in the form of a phrase or a talking point, if the group in question has been adequately exposed to the television set.

Two heads are better than one…but what about two million?

What has been said so far has concerned the individual voter; but there is another difficulty which should be mentioned because it rears its head every election, and could explain many of our political frustrations if we would only acknowledge it. The problem is related to group psychology.

No one will deny that men working together can almost always accomplish more than one man in isolation. It is true that the “cord of three strands is not easily broken.” But there is another piece of ancient wisdom which says that a truth, stretched to the extreme, will become its opposite.

So what happens when we stretch the proverb “two heads are better than one” to the extreme, and pretend that because two are better, then two hundred million must be even better still? It is here that we make a frightening discovery about human nature:

The mental level of the crowd is not the “average intelligence” of all the individuals combined. On the contrary it, the crowd drops to the level of the lowest elements present. The most foolish individuals form a “ceiling” above which the group does not rise. This is why we speak of “herd mentality.” Unfortunately, we are unwilling to see this truth in the political sphere.

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