(Guideline for this piece of writing has been drawn from Huxley’s ‘ Brave New World revisited’)
Herd Poisoning is intoxication of individuals when formed in crowds with high emotion and suspension of normal consensus behavior patterns. Even most educated people get dumb and behave as the crowd do.
A man in a crowd behaves as though he had swallowed a large dose of some powerful intoxicant. Like alcohol, herd-poison is an active, extraverted drug. The crowd-intoxicated individual escapes from responsibility, intelligence and morality into a kind of frantic, animal mindlessness.
A crowd, group or an individual have different thinking pattern. A man or woman makes direct contact with society in two ways: as a member of some familial, professional or religious group, or as a member of a crowd. Groups are capable of being as moral and intelligent as the individuals who form them; a crowd is chaotic, has no purpose of its own and is capable of anything except intelligent action and realistic thinking. Their suggestibility is increased to the point where they cease to have any judgment or will of their own. They become very excitable, they lose all sense of individual or collective responsibility, they are subject to sudden accesses of rage, enthusiasm and panic.
Political and religious communicators are master of a nation’s fate because they speak to crowd and groups. Academia and Journalists, speak through lens of logic and transparency.
A demagogue when goads his victims into action makes his appeal to subhuman mindlessness, which is only characteristic of men and women in masses. Mindlessness and moral idiocy are symptoms of herd-poisoning. In all the world’s higher religions, salvation and enlightenment are for individuals. The kingdom of heaven is within the mind of a person, not within the collective mindlessness of a crowd.
A controlled herd poisoning has been consistent in our political landscape but it started as a deliberate move in In 2011 when PTI gathered a massive crowd at Lahore to start its political campaign. It was beginning of polarization of society, intolerance and hate speech.
More charged crowd assembled in 2014, Dharna and continued to stay together for quiet sometime.
GT Road marches, Faiz Abad Dharnas and Red zone assembly of crowd by other political parties had similar affect.
Assembled in a crowd, people lose their powers of reasoning and their capacity for moral choice,
personal identity, even their elementary humanity, and merge with the crowd. That is why rallies, Jalsas are a preferred choice in election campaigns.
Masses are incapable of abstract thinking and uninterested in any fact outside the circle of their immediate experience. Their behavior is determined, not by knowledge and reason, but by feelings and unconscious drives. It is in these drives and feelings that the roots of their positive as well as their negative attitudes are implanted. The driving force which has brought about the most tremendous revolutions on this earth has never been a body of scientific teaching which has gained power over the masses, but always a devotion which has inspired them, and often a kind of hysteria which has urged them into action. Whoever wishes to win over the masses must know the key that will open the door of their hearts.
Imran Khan made dozens of speeches to nation during his government. It was repetition after repetition and analysts were perplexed. It was deliberate act to constantly repeat to imprint his thoughts upon the memory of listeners.
Hitler made his strongest appeal to those members of the lower middle classes who had been ruined by the inflation of 1923, and then ruined all over again by the depression of 1929 and the following years. “The masses” of whom he speaks were these bewildered, frustrated and chronically anxious millions. To make them more masslike, more homogeneously subhuman, he assembled them, by the thousands and the tens of thousands, in vast halls and arenas to persuade them.
An orator can appeal to “hidden forces” which motivate men’s actions, much more effectively than can the writer. Reading is a private, not a collective activity. The writer speaks only to individuals, sitting by themselves in a state of normal sobriety. The orator speaks to masses of individuals, already well primed with herd-poison. They are at his mercy and, if he knows his business, he can do what he likes with them.
Academia and intellectuals go for rationality and an interest in facts. Their critical habit makes them resistant to the kind of propaganda that works so well on the majority. Intellectuals run this way through research. With them one cannot make history. Intellectuals are the kind of people who demand evidence and are shocked by logical inconsistencies and fallacies. They regard over-simplification as the original sin of the mind and have no use for the slogans, the unqualified assertions and sweeping generalizations which are the propagandist’s stock in trade.
The demagogic propagandist is always consistent with dogmatic statements. All his assertions are made without qualification. There are no grays in his picture of the world; everything is either diabolically black or celestially white. A propagandist adopt a systematically one-sided attitude towards every problem that has to be dealt with. He never admit that he might be wrong or that people with a different point of view might be even partially right. Opponents should not be argued with; they should be attacked, shouted down, or, if they become too much of a
Analyzed by Atique Ur Rehman