Obsessions of the Crowds
With. Muscovici, a modern psychologist of world renown, in his studies suggests that the psychology of the masses is not a peripheral problem, but an independent and self-sufficient theory, which from the very beginning explains many modern paradoxes, including political, economic, social ones. Thus, the fundamental nature of many hypotheses and statements that are found in the work of psychologists of the crowd is revealed.
With. Muscovites original and thoroughly traces the evolution of views and approaches that have developed in this field of research. However, one of its initial assumptions needs critical reflection. Comparing the consciousness of the individual and the crowd (and thus justifying the legitimacy of social psychology), Moskovichi, following his predecessors, fixes two paradoxically opposing types of consciousness. The individual who has not yet been incorporated into the crowd is able to reason, demonstrate rationality, and discover responsibility for his own actions. The same person within the masses loses these properties. Mental, moral pillars crumble. The instinct of self-preservation is even muffled.
So the person is opposed to the crowd. A typologically structured structure is built. The mass confronts the individual in all respects. All this gives rise to a huge number of valuable observations and conceptually clear conclusions. But there is the phenomenon of demonization crowd. There are questions. Why does a thinking person fall into insanity? How does the dream of the mind give birth to monsters? What, generally speaking, leads to a nightmarish substitution of responsible and morally equipped individuals?
F. Lebon, G. Tard and Z. Freud worked within the framework of the educational tradition. The cult of a reasonable person was unshakable for them. They could not overcome this illusion, involuntarily glorifying the omnipotence of the mind. Even Freud, who discovered the depths of the unconscious, tried to illuminate them with the light of reason.
However, does a person really have those undeniable properties that his psychologists crowd generously?
"The crowd does not distinguish between sleep and reality," Moskovici writes. I want to make a pencil mark: A individual? Modern philosophical anthropology regards man as almost the most eccentric creation of the universe. One may ask: what is more in man - rational or irrational? To this question, one Canadian philosopher replied: "Fifty-fifty." But this is just not true.
The eccentricity of a person manifests itself precisely in that it is inherently irrational. But, being such, has the gift of consciousness. Hence the fragmentation of human behavior, the striking inconsistency of his actions. Undoubtedly, an ordinary individual, not yet confused with the crowd, also badly discerns a dream and reality. This, one might say, is its anthropological property.
Fresh example. The television series on the British screens portrays the life of an ordinary family. Writers suggested an interesting development of events. The newlyweds have a child. How natural and touching! However, the producers rejected the idea, at least postponed its implementation. Motives? In the state there is not yet an additional employee ... Who will begin to take the caps that the touched teleman will send to the baby?
Is a person, being in his right mind, does not realize that the child was born in the imagination of the writers? Indirect answer to this question is in Moskovichi. The crowd is treated in a generalized way. It's not just a bunch of people in the square. He is a man at the screen, in a political club, at a beauty contest, in a marathon ... The crowd is where there is a mystification syndrome. However, the question is legitimate: "Where, then, to find a sovereign, autonomous individual?"
The consciousness of the crowd was not evaluated for a long time as a historically concrete type of world-feeling. It was assumed that the psychology of human clusters is more a phantom than a natural social product. And now we again see the power of the crowd, the unabated rally of protest.
Describing the mass as a crowd, many political psychologists describe the behavior of the masses as irrational, fatally destructive in its direction, subject to collective psychoses. Many of them note that, by alienating people from meaningful purposes and cultural values, the "mass society" forms the dispossessed individual. Left to himself, this individual seeks to overcome self-alienation by participating in the mass movement. He becomes a rebel and rapist.
In political manifestations, in new manifestos and demarcations, there is an increasingly unattractive image of a bipedal crook falling from the womb of humanity, trying on a formidable uniform; drive belt, imagining itself a motor. The threat of the dictatorship of the individual, ready to solve its vital problems according to one's own mind, divides the remaining content, anniversaries, endures the death sentences, booing dissenters, masks the threat.
A lumpenized person who has lost social ties easily settles in a crowd, in a pack. Today, the crowd moves to the warehouse, tomorrow - to the outskirts, where foreigners live, or to a podnadoevshemu monument. The paradox is that human connections are broken precisely where there is an indiscernible set of conflicting wills. The collectivist instinct, the phantom of the community, is easily converted into group egoism, into the dictates of individualism.
The panic caused by a radio show "Invasion from Mars" in 1938, was almost the first attempt to inspire political psychosis. In 1940, G. Cantril, G. Godet and G. Herzog conducted a mass survey of participants in the panic caused by the radio play. At first they wanted to confine themselves to the problem at the level of mass psychology, but soon they became convinced that the behavior of individuals and groups can not be deduced from the general laws of mass consciousness. There were such concepts as "latent anxiety", "psychopathic reactions".
Already at that time, opinions were divided. One researcher stated that "an intellectually developed person" could not succumb to panic. Others generally considered frightened by neuropaths, who prayed, cried, rushed about like madmen. Some ran to save their loved ones, others rushed to the phone to say goodbye to their relatives, many even fell into a stupor. Indeed, about one-third of people were unable to take any action, were in shock. Ultimately, psychologists came to the conclusion that it is impossible to understand the behavior of people within the psychology of the crowd alone. The panic turned out to be a disease of the "social body". On the eve of World War II, psychologists who faced monsters that were inside of us still hoped for the resources of psychotherapy: it is possible to free a person from obsessive fantasies, from excessive emotionality, to reason with the unjustified alarm.
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