One of the crucial things we must be aware of in this world is the stupidity of groups. The reasoning of the solitary individual is superior to that of a group which has no individuality. All are “equal” in a group where, for instance, a mathemetician is caught up in the same spirit as a laborer and class and intelligence differences fall to the lowest common denominator. The basic point of Understanding The Group is this: For Better or Worse, Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People formed in groups.The disappearance of conscious personality and the turning of feelings and thoughts in a definite direction, which are the primary characteristics of a group, do not always involve the simultaneous presence of a number of individuals on one spot. Thousands of isolated individuals under the influence of certain emotions based on a mass idea may form a psychological Group. An entire nation, though there may be no visible agglomeration, may become a Group under the action of certain influences set in place.
A numerically strong agglomeration of individuals does not suffice to form a group. The group is always dominated by considerations of which it is unconscious. It is the disappearance of brain activity and the predominance of medullar activity, the lowering of the intelligence and the complete transformation of the sentiments. The modified sentiments may be better or worse than those of the individuals of which the group is composed. A Group is as easily heroic as criminal. But its actions aren’t conscious.The sentiments and ideas of all the persons in a gathering tend to take one and the same direction, and their conscious personality vanishes. A collective mind is formed, doubtless transitory, but presenting very clearly defined characteristics. The gathering has thus become what can be called an organized group, or a psychological group. It forms a single being, and is subjected to the LAW OF THE MENTAL UNITY OF GROUPS.
That is why you find it harder to express your individuality while with a group.The most striking peculiarity presented by a psychological group is the following: Whoever be the individuals that compose it, however like or unlike be their normal state, they are put in sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would feel, think, and act were he in a state of isolation. That is why it is important to be by yourself to think your own thoughts.
Also, you can only relate with others more consciously one on one.In the collective mind the intellectual aptitudes of the individuals, and in consequence their individuality, are weakened. Heterogeneousness is swamped by homogeneous, and the unconscious qualities obtain the upper hand. This very fact that groups possess in common ordinary qualities explains why they can never accomplish acts demanding a high degree of intelligence. The thoughts of a superior individual do not seem to make more sense to the thoughts of others when in a gathering of imbeciles.The truth is, a group can usually only bring to bear in common on the work in hand those mediocre qualities which are the birthright of every average individual. In groups it is stupidity and not smartness that is accumulated.
It is not all the world, as is so often repeated, that has more wit than Voltaire, but assuredly Voltaire that has more wit than all the world, if by “all the world” groups are to be understood. A single genius is smarter than the whole world put together in a collective mass. Democracy is dumb.Democracy can never really rule the world in the best way because the collective opinion always tends towards the dumb majority. That is why the elite rule the world by creating an illusion of democracy by influencing mass decision and controlling the system. An individual immersed for some length of time in a group in action soon finds himself in a less conscious state. The conscious personality has entirely vanished, will and discernment are lost. He’s no longer as conscious of his acts as he usually is.He is no longer himself, but has become an automaton who has ceased to be guided by his will. The group is guided almost exclusively by unconscious motives. Its acts are far more under the influence of the spinal cord than of the brain. In this respect a group is closely akin to quite primitive beings. Groups are as incapable of willing as of thinking for any length of time.
The faculty of observation and the critical spirit possessed by each of them individually at once disappears. Most people ARE Automatons.Whether the feelings exhibited by a group be good or bad, they present the double character of being very simple and very exaggerated. The most contradictory ideas may be seen to be simultaneously current in crowds.
From time to time, a group will come under the influence of one of the various ideas stored up in its understanding, and is capable of committing the most dissimilar acts in their speech and their actions. Its complete lack of the critical spirit does not allow of its perceiving these contradictions.The tendency to exaggeration in groups is only present in the case of sentiments and not at all in the matter of intelligence. The moment an individual becomes part of a group, his intellectual standard is immediately and considerably lowered. It is only with respect to sentiment that crowds can rise to a very high or on the contrary descend to a very low level. You notice that people at home with groups tend to focus more on love/devotion/emotion, whereas individualistic geniuses emphasize reason and truth.