The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind

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T.F. Unwin, 1903 - Crowds - 239 pages
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I picked up this book after reading Ann Coulter's Demonic. In her book, she uses the study of mob (what in Le Bon's time was referred to as "crowd") to illustrate how correct he was and how human ... Read full review

Contents

I
13
II
25
III
39
IV
67
V
81
VI
89
VII
115
VIII
133
IX
160
X
177
XI
183
XII
190
XIII
201
XIV
214

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Page 26 - The sentiments and ideas of all the persons in the gathering take one and the same direction, and their conscious personality vanishes. A collective mind is formed, doubtless transitory, but presenting very clearly defined characteristics. The gathering has thus become what, in the absence of a better expression, I will call an organised crowd, or, if the term is considered preferable, a psychological crowd. It forms a single being, and is subjected to the law of the mental unity of crowds.
Page 31 - ... that unconscious phenomena play an altogether preponderating part not only in organic life, but also in the operations of the intelligence. The conscious life of the mind is of small importance in comparison with its unconscious life.
Page 36 - ... further tends to resemble by the facility with which he allows himself to be impressed by words and images — which would be entirely without action on each of the isolated individuals composing the crowd — and to be induced to commit acts contrary to his most obvious interests and his best-known habits. An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will.
Page 36 - Isolated, he may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian - that is, a creature acting by instinct. He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings...
Page 17 - The divine right of the masses is about to replace the divine right of kings.
Page 32 - The decisionsJ^ ( affecting matters of general interest come to by an assembly of men of distinction, but specialists in different walks of life, are not sensibly superior to the decisions that would be adopted by a gathering of imbeciles. The truth is, they can only bring to bear in common on the work in hand those mediocre qualities which are the birthright of every average individual. In crowds it is stupidity and not mother-wit tKaFls accumulated.
Page 48 - As soon as a few individuals are gathered together they constitute a crowd, and, though they should be distinguished men of learning, they assume all the characteristics of crowds with regards to matters outside their specialty.
Page 29 - ... puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite different from that in which each individual of them would feel, think, and act were he in a state of isolation.
Page 45 - A crowd, perpetually hovering on the borderland of unconsciousness, readily yielding to all suggestions, having all the violence of feeling peculiar to beings who cannot appeal to the influence of reason, deprived of all critical faculty, cannot be otherwise than excessively credulous. The improbable does not exist for a crowd, and it is necessary to bear this circumstance well in mind to understand the facility with which are created and propagated the most improbable legends and stories.
Page v - The substitution of the unconscious action of crowds for the conscious activity of individuals, is one of the principal characteristics of the present age.

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