How to Resist the Pull of the Crowd [Excerpts]
Aldous Huxley -- like most utopian socialists in the first half of the 20th century -- believed that mankind would evolve into more noble creatures. But his idealism was shattered by the deliberate brutality of Nazi Germany.
Alarmed by the reality of such human depravity, he wrote a far less popular follow-up [to his novel "Brave New World": "Brave New World Revisited." While it doesn't deny the awesome forces he described in his first book, it now warns of their dangers. Control over the masses was no longer the golden key that would open the door to a utopian world order. To the contrary. Huxley had glimpsed the road to worldwide tyranny. The actual agenda for mind control would devastate the human soul and individual thinking far more effectively than the Nazi machinery or Soviet purges of the past.
Huxley's warnings are well worth reading. They apply to purpose-driven churches as well as to schools, corporations, governments and other systems:
"Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time... in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those who would manipulate and control it.
"In their propaganda, today's dictators rely for the most part on repetition, suppression and rationalization -- the repetition of catchwords which they wish to be accepted as true, the suppression of facts which they wish to be ignored, the arousal and rationalization of passions which may be used in the interests of the Party or the State. As the art and science of manipulation come to be better understood, the dictators of the future will doubtlessly learn to combine these techniques with the non-stop distractions which, in the West, are now threatening to drown in a sea of irrelevance the rational propaganda essential to the maintenance of individual liberty....
"Let us see what Hitler thought of the masses he moved . . . . 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.' To be successful a propagandist must learn how to manipulate these instincts and emotions. 'The driving force which has brought about the most tremendous revolutions on this earth has . . . always [been] a devotion which has inspired them, and often a kind of hysteria [passion] 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 . . . . [pinpointed through polls, surveys, and continual assessments . . . . ]
"To make them more masslike, more homogeneously subhuman, he assembled them, by the thousands and the tens of thousands, in vast halls and arenas, where individuals could lose their personal identity . . . and be merged with the crowd . . . .
". . . a crowd is chaotic, has no purpose of its own . . . . Assembled in a crowd, people lose their powers of reasoning . . . . Their suggestibility is increased to the point where they cease to have any judgment or will of their own. They become very excitable . . . In a word, a man in a crowd behaves as though he had swallowed a large dose of some powerful intoxicant. He is a victim of . . . 'herd-poisoning.' . . .