Random links and thoughts

March 3, 2011

This is fascinating if a bit disturbing: Deindividuation.

Police and firefighters are well aware of this tendency for crowds to gather and taunt, and this is why they tape off potential suicide scenes and get the crowd out of shouting distance. The risk of a spontaneous cheering section goading a person into killing themselves is high when people in a group feel anonymous and are annoyed or angry. It only takes one person to get the crowd going. Those are the three ingredients – anonymity, group size and arousal. If you lose your sense of self, feel the power of a crowd and then get slammed by a powerful cue from the environment – your individuality may evaporate.

I hate being part of a crowd; I also don’t dress up for Halloween. I’ve seen surveys that say most people fear public speaking more than death, but I would rather speak or sing or otherwise perform in front of a large group of people than be a member of a large group of people. I’m not sure if this just means I have a large ego that doesn’t care to be eclipsed or what.

OK, I’m not actually going to link to this, but I recently read an article whose author was claiming the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants advocate socialism, so Republican church members like Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck are going against their religion. Of course that completely ignores the fact that because it denies agency socialism always ends up hurting rather than helping the poor. As an example, I will link to this autobiographical account of a women condemned to internal exile in the Soviet Union during World War II. I am proud to be a descendant of people who tried implement the United Order and hope that someday I might be able to follow their example more closely, but that sort of thing is worlds away from the forcibly-mandated redistribution that socialism entails.

One more link before I go to bed: Soap Operas Are Not Documentaries (and ‘Feminism’ Is a Word With a Definition).

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