Individually, we’re sober and rational people, just like those psychologists say. But humans are social not solitary animals and occasionally something makes them come together and stirs them into action. That ‘something’ is emotion. It can cause us to do things in crowds—good and bad—unthinkable alone.
Now it’s happening in Turkey. Having stoked insurrection in Syria, the Turkish government finds itself on the receiving end at home. Yet more evidence in support of the law of karma and the law of unintended consequences.
What all protesting crowds need is a public space in which to come together. A small protest against plans to replace Taksim Gezi Park with a reconstruction of an old barracks, said to house a shopping mall, was the spark that ignited nation-wide protests.
A shopping mall in a reconstructed army barracks, to replace a public park …. What could possibly go wrong?
Just as crowds, including insurrections, can be sparked by emotion, they have to be emotionally sustained if they are to get what they want. They can also be diffused by stimulating counter emotions.
Let’s see how this unfolds.
Finally, a classic work on this theme is Gustave le Bon’s The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, 1896. For the keen, the entire book can be downloaded as a pdf from the McMaster University here.
The featured image is of a police barricade surrounding Gezi Park, June 1, 2013. [source]