UFO Conjectures

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

This book, by the eminent Charles Mackay, LL.D. [L. C. Page & Company, 1932], provides ample examples of how crowd-madness occurs and takes hold (for a while only), should be perused by those of you reading this.

The May 5th Kodachrome slides outing would have been grist for Dr. Mackay if he were writing today rather than in the mid-1880s.

Bernard Baruch, writing in the forward, says (recalling Schiller’s dictum): "Anyone taken as an individual is tolerably sensible and reasonable – as a member of a crowd, he at once becomes a blockhead.”

Mackay, citing various mad fads, such as that about “magnetizers” (the 18th and 19th Century belief that magnetism could cure ills and bring about sensational abilities) writes that one was encumbered to “be very credulous; be very persevering; reject all past experience, and do not listen to reason …” [Page 341]

And, “ … if there be some truth in magnetism, there has been much error, misconception , and exaggeration,” [Page 344]

This is what is being experienced (all of the above) by some of us, reading both sides of the slides equation.

It hasn’t become an academic (or scientific) bout to resolve the truth but, rather, a “we got you” -- one-upmanship -- of a ufological kind. Sad, loony, and non-productive.