Birbhum: Irate mob charging a policeman during a protest after the body of a railway hawker was found at Bolpur railway station in Birbhum district of West Bengal on Monday. PTI Photo (PTI6_4_2012_000157B) Image Credit: PTI

Humans have always been able to think freely. It has arguably been what makes us human. But we also have a tendency to stick to the crowd on issues that should be concerning us and should be inciting an individual response from each and every one of us. We believe what everyone else is believing in without thinking for ourselves. We take sides on issues based on which side our peers are taking, or the media is taking, or the general population is taking. Often we adopt these perspectives without actually thinking about them. Where is the free thought these days? The mob mentality is the mentality by which people adopt the behaviours and opinions of their peers. We’ve been shepherded into a tight circle by our shepherds; the media. We’ve become accustomed to getting all our information from the media that we’ve started following them like brain dead zombies. Trust in the media is not a bad thing, the media is supposed to provide us unbiased, objective information on events that may very well concern our collective group of people, but it’s quite often that the media takes advantage of our trust. The problem with us is that we don’t take the time to think critically and fully understand an issue before giving our two cents on it. Many people seemingly prefer to align themselves to a side that a majority of the demographic takes on a social problem. And the media, being our earpiece from the other side of the world, is well aware of this and gives us the news from one perspective, the side that they want us to follow. Usually we don’t doubt the media because it’s the voice of the general population and it is this notion that aids in the formation of a hideous herd that is blind to both ends of the spectrum.

To truly deal with any issue, we must train ourselves to view both perspectives, like a balance of scales. Mob mentality is curbing what puts us above other beings; the free thought that we can exhibit. Opinions matter, both sides of the spectrum matter and in order to view them, we must think freely for ourselves, and not to satisfy the expectation of others. It’s quintessential in today’s world, where we are not only exposed to so many societal problems, but we are also swayed by the media and what we read online so easily. We must think, and we must reason with ourselves as to why we support or do not stand with an issue, not be pulled with the current of the opinion of the ignorant majority.

- The reader is a student based in Dubai