Comment reblog – The crowd and the individual

A recent comment I found thought-provoking. Thoughts?

‘How you characterize ‘the crowd’ is your own, no doubt, and unique construction. The coils of belonging have already entwined your soul, as the baby is reliant on its tribe; you are a part of that crowd as seen by all others. The crowd is amorphous, bright and boiling and giving off heat, as the face of the sun is in no part of its being eternally fixed.

Oh, god, where would one be without the crowd!

And amazingly, each person is so arranged and constructed as to be a defin/ed piece having a separation zone, that event horizon, from the crowd, our individuality and aloneness, and across that electric zone we each give of ourselves for the lives of others and each takes the required food of life only others can provide. Small pieces, well and active and forward-looking, constitute the dynamism and vigour of the crowd.’

— Author (un)known

4 thoughts on “Comment reblog – The crowd and the individual

  1. Sounds like a comment on Nietzsche’s thoughts on crowd.
    It’s a bit beyond my understanding coz these words need their time to percolate through the sieve of my normal thoughts and make their space within. But I agree with you. Profound indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Could you expand upon Nietzsche’s thoughts on the crowd? I fail to recall them.

      I see this comment as a recognition that the crowd is an integral part of each of us, that from birth onward we are immersed in a social milieu. This is of course true, and being social creatures, this is of course necessary for proper growth and development. In short, the crowd is vital to living a good life. BUT, we are also endowed with a sense of self, a sense of individuality. This sense can come into conflict with the crowd, or can be so completely submerged by the crowd that the individual fails to develop properly, fails to live a life true to him or herself.
      Wouldn’t you agree this dichotomy, this tension between self and crowd that is often felt within each of us is similar to the many other tensions we feel within? I know in the past months I have literally been both happy and sad, optimistic and fatalistic, wise and immature – at the same time. When I meditate now I can begin to see the different parts of my conscious awareness. They are not a unified whole, but are separate entities, often in conflict with one another.

      Do we need the tensions to be truly human? What do you think?

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      1. Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is so timid and dislikes going into the water.” — Nietzche

        ” In individual s insanity is rare but in groups, parties and epochs it is the rule.” Nietzsche

        I think the crowd is integral to me. Not because it generally influences and forces us to behave a certain way but because the more I see the crowd and it’s collective behaviour the more I value my individuality. It gives me a reason to be better than the herd mentality that it generally favours.

        Yes, the tug of war is a constant in our lives. The war is waged against the crowd and t’s magnetic pull to become a part of it. And the resistance needed to retain individuality gets bigger and more difficult at each stage of our lives.

        I also relate to your personal conflict within you. Coz I have experienced all of what you describe. Sometimes I wonder if I am the same person I was yesterday? Try as much as I can, a speck of the collective always manages to sear my heart. And this yo yo effect is a constant thing too for me.

        Being a Hindu Brahmin in India comes with it’s own struggles. As diverse as India is, it narrows each of us on the basis of caste, religion, language, gender, cultural and traditional basis. So I am in a box within a box within a box! Imagine the META tug of war within each box with it’s own set of individuality and crowd!

        My views might be biased towards individual over crowd coz I never consider myself a part of it. But yes, to be social and understand why the crowd is the way it is, is also highly important…which is something I might never come to experience being a socially awkward person.

        Is this what makes us human? I guess so. Else we would all be Gods!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A great response. Those quotes are illuminating.
    However Nietzsche is speaking from a position of profundity, as he himself was such a profound person and thinker. I like to imagine the crowd as the area under a bell curve, with each data point representing an individual falling somewhere within that area. For any given trait, most people fall near the middle of the curve. However, there are the relatively few individuals who fall well below or well above the middle. I see the crowd as pulling up, to a certain degree, those individuals well below (imagine social security, or free health care, in countries fortunate enough to have such systems). The flip side is the crowd also pulls down those individuals who see further, are more gifted, luckier, than those in the middle. So Nietzsche, to my mind, is merely looking at the negative aspects of crowds, in relation to an individual.

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