The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Celebrating The Crowd At CPAC, iv
The Ideas, Reasoning Power, and Imagination of Crowds

Posted on | February 10, 2012 | 3 Comments

by Smitty

Le Bon, on the emphasis for lots of staged imagery from fascists.

Whatever be the ideas suggested to crowds they can only exercise effective influence on the condition that they assume a very absolute, uncompromising, and simple shape. They present themselves then in the guise of images, and are only accessible to the mases under this form. These image-like ideas are not connected by any logical bond of analogy or succession, and may take each other’s place like the slides of a magic lantern which the operator withdraws from the groove in which they were placed one above the other. The explains how it is that the most contradictory ideas may be seen to be simultaneously current in crowds. According to the chances of the moment, a crowd will come under the influence of one of the various ideas stored up in its understanding, and is capale, in consequence, of committing the most dissimilar acts. Its complete lack of the critical spirit does not allow of its perceiving these contradictions. (Le Bon 82-83)

All Le Bon is really noticing here is that information dispersal in a crowd (or society in general) is completely unpredictable. Most signals attenuate rapidly. Only relatively low-information signals “Hope and Change” or ones that have been in circulation for a very long time (The Bible) have much penetration. The crowd, itself, never thinks at all; only the members of the crowd have cognition, and then to the extent that the crowd members have information. So it looks a dumb beast, despite technological improvements.


3 Responses to “Celebrating The Crowd At CPAC, iv
The Ideas, Reasoning Power, and Imagination of Crowds”

  1. richard mcenroe
    February 10th, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    This is a really useful collection of excerpts and deeply appreciated.

  2. Hot, Fresh CPAC Coverage | Daily Pundit
    February 10th, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    […] Fresh CPAC Coverage Posted on February 10, 2012 8:21 am by Bill Quick Celebrating The Crowd At CPAC, ivThe Ideas, Reasoning Power, and Imagination of Crowds : The Other M…Lots of CPAC coverage here from both Smitty and RSM, both who are attending. Just start at the top […]

  3. K-Bob
    February 10th, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

    I’m waiting for Smitty’s philosophical analysis of The “In” Crowd.