Mobs: Enemies of Freethinking


Slavery, at least in one of its forms, is the inability to recognize that one is not a slave by nature. Mobs are slaves insofar as they follow patterns of mass behavior rather than their own autonomous reasoning. They are slaves in that they have more excuses for not thinking than they have thoughts. Slavery is such a comfortable position for the masses because it entails no thinking. They could live all their lives without any truth, but they couldn’t live a day without their illusions.

Plato, in his “Allegory of the Cave”, famously analogized ignorant people with a group of prisoners who have lived all their lives in darkness and who mistake the moving shadows of puppets for reality. Then, he continues, if one of the prisoners discovered the actual truth of the shadows, the puppets, and the world beyond them, and reached true understanding, and if the free person later went back to enlighten the prisoners of darkness, they would reject her knowledge. They might even kill her for calling into question their beliefs.  

Thinking is a painful action for those who are used to the comfort of darkness. They want to be forever imprisoned within impenetrable walls that let no ray of truth ever make its way to their world. They want to live and die with their age-old illusions. To them, there is no sun; there are no mountains, no oceans, no skies. There are only the shadows of puppets moved by the hands of manipulative masters.

If the free outsider tries to tell the mobs that they were not born to be slaves, that they have lives of some inherent value, that they could see and think for themselves, and that they are equals, they would rise against the free outsider for they cannot stand the idea of freedom as it necessitates thinking and responsibility. A master is who they want, not a comrade. The story of the free enlightener being exiled, if not killed, by her/his people is as old as mythology itself. In fact, this is the archetypal life story of the founding religious figures. Only after the exiled wins sweeping recognition elsewhere, his/her people then worship him/her. Then, in the name of this new idol, they will suppress, behead, and exile every other free outsider or whoever dares to question their dark and illusionary reality. 

From darkness to darkness is the cycle of this rotten cradle of civilizations.   

About Saladdin Ahmed

Saladdin Ahmed is a post-nihilist philosopher who has declared full independence.
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