These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, December 03, 2010

"In Groups We Shrink"

This week in my English classes we discussed the dynamics of a crowd or group. We examined two essays, "In Groups We Shrink" by Carol Tavris and George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant." Orwell's essay was an example that accompanied Tavris' essay.

What the essays were saying had to do with how a person, or individual, "shrinks" in a crowd. Individuals lose who they are once they are in a crowd. Something happens that we become part of the collective. The group operates as one. I used the example of the Borg from Star Trek: Next Generation. I also told the classes a story of an incident when I was 12 or so, where we were gathered in San Jose outside one of hte houses. Two boys started fighting. Really one boy started picking on another boy. This other boy was slow. Still, we all gathered in a half circle and watched as this boy got his assed kicked around. Some spectators watched, others cheered. But no one did a damn thing to stop it. Why? WE knew it was wrong. This boy caused no harm to anyone.

We learned that when the crowd works as a whole, no one wants to step up. Reasons for this include: embarrassment, defussion of responsibility, fear of retaliation and approval of the action.

We don't want to go against the group. We can be seen as outcasts. So we sit back and watch as events transpire. It's sick , really. I remember the events of htat day in San Jose very vivid, even though it was more than 25 years ago. Events stay with you.

In his essay, Orwell talks about a time when he shot and killed an elephant that had gone rogue (he eventually killed a man). Orwell, who was a police officer in Burma which was under British rule, was sent out to kill the elephant. Two thousand Burmans showed up. He did not want to kill it, felt the elephant (who was in heat) had finally calmed. But the crowd "wanted" it, though no one actually told him to kill it. He felt compelled to do it. And if he hadn't killed the elephant, there would have been tremendous embarrassement-- he was after all a police officer (and the minority in Burma, even though Britons controlled). He felt helpless and shot the elephant. It took many shots and much time until the elephant died. He felt bad but justified thekilled because the elephant killed a man.

Crowds are dangerous.

The next time you're in a crowd, watch the dynamics of everyone. If something is occurring, would you agree with it or just following and going with the flow because everyone else is and if you stepped up and disagreed, you might become the next victim.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Informative article, totally what I was looking for.

my page :: diet that works

7:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

best electronic cigarette, e cigarette, electronic cigarette brands, e cigarette health, electronic cigarettes, electronic cigarettes

9:52 PM

Blogger John said...

michael kors purse
burberry scarf
air jordans
louis vuitton outlet
lululemon sale
imitation watches
discount oakley sunglasses
oakley sunglasses
ray ban sungalsses
dior outlet
michael kors outlet
louis vuitton handbags
ed hardy outlet
new jordans
longchamp soldes
cheap jordans
red christian louboutin
tory burch handbags
louis vuitton
abercrombie kids
jordan retro 11
ray ban sunglasses
coach factorty outlet
oakley sunglasses wholesale

10:50 PM

Blogger Zheng junxai5 said...

2015-10-15 zhengjx
Coach Outlet Store Online Free Shipping
michael kors outlet
ugg boots sale
nike trainers
ugg boots australia
timberland boots
Coach Factory Outlet Official Coach Handbags Sale
canada goose outlet
Canada Goose Jackets Outlet Online Sale
michael kors outlet
Coach Factory Outlet Handbags 70% OFF
Gucci Outlet Online 80% OFF
michael kors outlet
cheap jordans,jordan shoes,cheap jordan shoes
michael kors outlet stores
Abercrombie And Fitch New York Outlet Store
cheap ugg boots
michael kors handbag
michael kors
Ralph Lauren UK Sale Polo Shirts
ugg boots
Up To 70% Off Air Retro Jordan 8s
coach factory outlet
Cheap Toms Shoes Outlet Sale Clearance
Louis Vuitton Handbags Factory Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet USA Store
Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet Online
Air Jordan 4 Retro Free Shipping
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet

2:18 AM

Blogger Lai Weizhou said...

chung cư Imperial Plaza 360 Giải Phóng
chung cư Imperial Plaza
chung cu Imperial Plaza
Imperial Plaza 360 Giải Phóng
chung cư the legend
chung cư the legend 109 nguyễn tuân
chung cư eco green city

chung cư eco green city nguyễn xiển

The manor central park nguyễn xiển
chung cư udic riverside 122 vĩnh tuy
chung cư Valencia garden
chung cu Valencia garden
chung cư Valencia garden Long biên
chung cư HBI Long Biên
chung cư vinata tower
chung cư vinata tower 289 khuất duy tiến
chung cu vinata tower
chung cu vinata tower 289 khuat duy tien
chung cư 289 khuất duy tiến
chung cu 289 khuat duy tien
chung cu 82 nguyen tuan
chung cư 82 nguyễn tuân
chung cư 69 vũ trọng phụng
chung cu 69 vu trong phung
bất động sản miền bắc
chung cư hà nội

chung cư eco green nguyễn xiển
eco green city
chung cu eco green city
chung cu eco green city nguyen xien
chung cư the legend 109 nguyễn tuân

chung cư 109 nguyễn tuân

2:00 AM

Blogger Quang Đào Duy said...

Chung cu Green Pearl tọa lạc tại 378 Minh Khai với không gian sống trong lành, môi trường sống thân thiện. . Dự án Green Pearl sẽ là tâm điểm chung cư của khu vực quận Hai Bà Trưng

9:29 PM

Blogger عبده العمراوى said...

شركة الصفرات لمكافحة الحشرات بالرياض
شركة تنظيف خزانات بالخبر

8:13 AM

Blogger dong dong23 said...

michael jordan shoes
coach outlet
air max
kate spade outlet
hermes birkin handbags
ray ban sunglasses
moncler jackets
ralph lauren outlet
coach outlet
doudoune moncler

9:25 AM

Blogger dong dong23 said...

cheap nfl jerseys
michael kors handbags
coach outlet online
nike roshe run
hermes outlet
oakley sunglasses
canada goose outlet
supreme new york

9:25 AM

Anonymous ursula said...

Difference of crowd vs team- which build on individual strength

9:58 AM

Blogger dong dong23 said...

air max
cheap jerseys
hilfiger outlet
longchamp outlet
adidas trainers uk
michael jordan
cartier bracelet
nike roshe run
air max

7:56 PM

Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...


swarovski crystal
armani exchange
golden goose sneakers
polo outlet
canada goose jackets
san francisco 49ers jerseys
michael kors outlet
ugg outlet
pandora charms
kd 9

1:43 AM

Blogger Fghkfhk Dfgaert said...

michael kors outlet
jeep shoes
true religion jeans
nike presto
ugg outlet
oakley sunglasses
10 deep clothing
cleveland cavaliers jersey
longchamp handbags
karen millen dresses

9:59 PM

Blogger Xu千禧 said...

ray ban sunglasses
nike huarache
ferragamo outlet
kate spade outlet
polo ralph lauren outlet
canada goose jackets
christian louboutin shoes
off-white clothing
nike soldes
fitflops sale clearance

10:44 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home