Miggy Mob Psychology

The fact that they have been transformed into a crowd puts them in possession of a sort of collective mind which makes them feel, think, and act in a manner quite differently from that in which each individual would feel, think, and act were that person in a state of isolation.

The quote above, recent from CNN?  No, from a book written in 1885.

I have written in Interruptions #214 and #215 about Miggy Moments.

From Interruption #214:

During a Miggy Moment we respond with fear, fight, flight, or sarcastic humor.  We lose the ability for subtle thought; speaking without thinking; striking out with later regrets.

I started using the phrase “miggy” after reading about a small part of the brain named the amygdala.  

It’s the part of the brain that takes over in emergencies and responds with either a fight or flight response.  During an emergency, you lose the ability to think and speak rationally. Fine motor control is lost too. 

From Interruption #215

You can live in the Miggy – always on edge and often irrational. Your best friend might claim that you are losing it. Consider the destruction of a motor in full throttle for years and then imagine your heart, blood pressure, and nervous system.

Miggies aren’t just individual, they can become organizational. A church can have a Miggy Moment, as can all charitable organizations and businesses.  

Some churches/organizations function permanently in the Miggy, just waiting to fly apart!

A Miggy Moment can be individual, organizational, or the irrational behavior of a crowd. During a Miggy, something else takes charge. Regrettable actions become the norm of that moment, and also whenever someone says, “Why did I do that?”

Consider a Miggy Moment as the cause.

The book written in 1885 said:

The Forming part of a crowd acquires, solely from numerical considerations, a sentiment of invincible power which allows that individual to yield to instincts which, had the person been alone, would have been kept under restraint.

Moreover, by the mere fact that individuals form part of an organized crowd, a person descends several rungs down the ladder of civilization. When isolated, that person may be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, the same person is a barbarian.

A “Miggy Moment” in an individual can be shown to be physically connected to a part of the brain.  How about “Crowd Miggies?” The Bible teaches that our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers.

Obviously, these “powers” know much more about crowd psychology than we do.

When you watch videos of mob action from the past year, you will see individuals who now express regret for their actions. Too late, as the deed is done, committed with consequence.

Fortunately, grace and mercy for all, but also possible legal action.

The Bible teaches the “rabble rousing” aspects of out-of-control crowds in the book of Exodus written thousands of years before the book of 1885.

Listen to Aaron in the Book of Exodus:

Then Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil. For they said to me, ‘Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we do not know what happened to him.’ So, I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ Then they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”  Exodus 32:21-24

Hmmmmhhhmmm… I threw the gold into the fire, and out came this calf. Such is this rationality of Miggy Moments.

We are all subject to the power of Miggy Moments either individually, in unwise church decisions, or with culture. In 1885, Crowd Miggies took years to influence through a very slow printing press.

Today, instantly, if your Twitter doesn’t get shut down.

As Christians, as followers of Jesus, as believers, we have an antidote to all forms of Miggy Moments. It’s painful, as it means yielding our ignorance, prejudice, political leanings, and sensual preferences. The Apostle Paul says:

I urge you as followers of Jesus to sacrifice your deep personal feelings and all that you are to live a life pleasing and following the holiness of God.  Romans 12:1 (OGV)

1885 book quoted is Psychology of Crowds by Gustave Le Bon

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