By its nature, the crowd is simple, and craves simplicity. It can only digest simple messages. The crowd relies on viral emotions to feed it. It does not think, because it is waiting to feel something that will cause it to act. In this way, the crowd needs a leader who can speak to it, emotionally. These emotional messages are vague, broad, all-encompassing; there must be no room for thought or nuance—otherwise, individuals will leave the crowd, or the leader will be replaced by someone who can speak to the crowd.

The crowd is always waiting, for someone to give it directions. It cannot direct itself, because it is unable to think for itself. There is no hive-mind, rather no-mind, and not in the Buddhist sense. The no-mind is a void, waiting to be filled by a leader. A potential, waiting to be exploited by someone who sees an opportunity.

A leader, understands the crowd, and knows how to speak to the crowd. He or She justifies their place by believing leaders are necessary. Often, this individual is impotent without the crowd and the crowd is impotent without the individual.

A society changes, when individuals think. A society rages, when it divides into crowds.

Most of civilization has been raging for thousands of years. Occasionally, someone will sacrifice themselves to the crowd. Jesus, attempted to save humanity. Pericles, attempted to save the city of Athens. Socrates, attempted to save the youth. All were teachers, with some political savvy. Someone speaking truth, is rarely a politician, because the truth divides people. It offends. A politician must paint with broad strokes, appeal to universal symbols (like the rainbow or the cross or the swastika), and be the spokes-person for change. They cannot afford to say something unpopular or turn anybody away.

This is why organized religion will fail—and when I speak of organized religion, I am including those institutions that don’t believe in God.

The truth is diluted by a leader to please the crowd. The leader needs the crowd to maintain their power. They cannot stand alone. They are usually short in stature. Napoleon comes to mind.

The crowd cannot be held accountable, because it is nobody, and anybody who joins the crowd, needs the crowd—the lack of responsibility.

The philosopher agitates individuals to leave the crowd. He or She inspires them to seek the truth. Thus, the Philosopher becomes a threat to those who wield power, with the crowd.

A successful philosopher is killed, a mediocre philosopher is imprisoned, a below-average philosopher is rejected, and a failed philosopher is accepted.


10 thoughts on “The Leader, the Philosopher, and the Crowd

  1. I think your last paragraph is wrong; a philosopher (or a poet, for that matter) is only in danger if their words might expose the Leader as a fraud. And only novice Leaders fear that. For the most part, both poets and philosophers [is there a difference?] are just diminished by faint approval, which carries the message, “It’s harmless, but don’t waste your time.”

    Liked by 1 person

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