Herd Mentality/Herd Thinking definitions:
Herd mentality describes how people are influenced to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items. Examples of the herd mentality include the early adopters of high technology products such as smart phones and i-gadgets, as well as stock market trends, fashions in apparel, cars, home décor, etc. Social psychologists tie this to the related topics of group intelligence, crowd mentality and decentralized decision making.
People in these herds are broken up into two groups, explains Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher who coined the phrase. One lent itself to the religious points of views- their beliefs and how those dictated their actions- while the other lent itself to influence by the media- more liberal and based upon what others perceive as ‘right’ (following trends, social norms, etc.).
The term herd mentality is derived from the word “herd”, generally referring to a group (e.g. animals), and “mentality”, implying a certain frame of mind. However the most succinct human definition would be: “how large numbers of people act in the same ways at the same times.”
Herd behavior is distinguished from herd mentality because it applies to all animals, whereas the term mentality implies a uniquely human phenomenon. Herd mentality implies a fear-based reaction to peer pressure which makes individuals act in order to avoid feeling left behind from the group. Herd mentality is also a part of “mob mentality.”
Because of the vast and commanding influence of instant information, sentiment and segmentation, we have fallen into a “herd versus herd” society in America.
From a herd POV, we have Organized labor vs. Management vs. Government…Democrats vs. Republicans vs. Independents…Denomination vs. Denomination…Race vs. Race…on and on. In essence, we live in an increasingly polarized country in almost every area.
The common dominator among these masses is often herd mentality which is never the most thoughtful direction. In this case, calculated, purposeful and wise decisioning would be just the opposite.
Often today, it boils down to who can shout down, out craft and/or intimidate the opposing party. And, as the seasons or policy issues get closer to a show down (e.g. elections/decisions), the conflicts seem to get louder and more physical. Who is feeding this phenomenon, and where is this headed?
By now, it has to be abundantly clear that anyone or any group that is fueling this movement does not have or want your individual thought or critique expressed or attached to their own agenda. That is not what herds are supposed to do. They are amassed to get in line and follow in lock step to wherever the anointed one or the groups tell them to go…without question.
So, if the herd answer you are looking for is: “Just tell me what to do?” (always the easiest direction). If that is you, then I’ll be glad to tell you what to do:
Don’t fall for this continuing trap. Don’t automatically consent. Don’t give up or into a weakened state of vulnerability. These are exactly the conditions where herd mentality thrives, and why herd-masters do not want them spotlighted or even considered as a brand of (not) thinking. That would be counterintuitive to their ultimate purpose. And, you can see how technology and the connectivity of social and industrial sites are the perfect instruments to fuel this phenomenon even more dramatically.
Here’s the deal, we are in the throws of one of the most freedom threatening economic, political and spiritual environments known to man. If there were ever a time to not fall prey to “herds,” it is now.
Biblical Herding Note:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6