The Human Herding Instinct

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When folks explain human behavior, sometimes it is noted that humans are acting out of character and behaving like herd animals. No one is acting out of character. Human beings are indeed herd animals and they function as herd animals 24 hours per day 7 days per week. The brain is an amazing organ but it is not all that honest. Its primary function is survival and reproduction. Despite any thoughts the brain comes up with that lead us to believe otherwise, the brain tricks us into engaging in behaviors that optimize the chance of surviving and reproducing.  Herd behavior is one of those behaviors.

Humans are not only herd animals, they have specialized roles to play within the herd. People have different personality characteristics. These characteristics are different in each human. Different personality characteristics go along with different roles people end up carrying out within a herd setting. Leaders have political personalities. A political personality is about the same as that of a sociopath. Someone must be at the head of a herd. That person will have elevated manipulative skills, a sense of entitlement, and no conscience to speak of. There is an appearance of a consciousness  but that is only an exaggerated concern of how the sociopath appears to others.

As part of various herds, people engage in group communication, although they are unaware that it is happening. Speech, reading and writing are generally accepted as the only kinds of communications that exist. There is much more. There are no words but people communicate through the air and are unaware that it is happening. Much of what psychologists describe as anxiety and depression are actually signals picked from outside the head. It is very subtle but everyone broadcasts their state of mind and makes judgments about others based on what is broadcast. Most communication is outside of our awareness. Why do doctors have so much trouble treating anxiety and depression? They believe it originates within the skull but it really comes from the outside.

Many years ago, humans found it to their advantage to dominate, keep and herd animal which were of use to them. Mankind, in the beginning made no distinction between capturing animals and capturing members of their own species. That is how slavery got its origin.  As slavery became increasingly unprofitable herding continued to be practiced. There have always been rich and poor. Throughout history, the rich have found ways to live off the efforts of others, frequently by paying them but really by any means possible.

When the Internet began it was not fathomed that it would morph into a gigantic herding tool where people’s thoughts, time and energy could be easily managed. Prior to the advent of corporate giants, recognizing its potential as a herding tool, the Internet was like the open range was prior to fences in the old west. When Google and all of the others entered the arena all of that would change. The activity that actually generates revenue in these giant companies is human herding. They manage people’s time, energy opinions and everything else and do so profitably.

Of course, individuals deny engaging in herd behavior but they do. One of the most pronounced herd behaviors is worshiping leaders. Notice that the mentality these days is to find a messiah for a leader who will do all of the things a conservative or a liberal wants done. Interest in the actual self governing approach is completely missing.

Mainstream economists have no chance of being right except by accident. In mainstream economics the individual is treated as autonomous and independent thinking. The actual individual is nothing of the kind.
This is a timely Curbside Jimmy tune. The scene shifts from a regular swamp to the big swamp in Washington D.C

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About Fantasy Free Economics

James Quillian is an independent scholar and economist.
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