Popular Science Monthly/Volume 45/August 1894/Human Aggression and Crime

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HUMAN AGGREGATION AND CRIME.

By M. G. TARDE.

UNTIL our own days, through that crisis of individualism which has prevailed since the last century, crime has been regarded as the most essentially individual thing in the world; and the notion of what might be called undivided crime was lost among criminologists, as was that also of collective sin among theologians. Whenever the attempts of conspirators or the exploits of a band of robbers forced the recognition of the existence of crimes committed collectively, the criminal nebulosity was promptly resolved into distinct individual offenses of which it was regarded as only the sum. But now the sociological or socialistic reaction against this great egocentric illusion is turning attention toward the social side of acts which are mistakenly attributed to the individual. Hence curious inquiry has been directed to the criminality of sects — concerning which nothing is more profound than M. Taine's labors on the psychology of the Jacobins — and, more recently, to the criminality of mobs. These are different species of the same genus; the criminality of the group; and the study of them together may be useful and opportune.

The difficulty is not to find collective crimes, but to discover crimes which are not collective, which do not involve in some degree the complicity of the surrounding. So much is this so that we may well ask whether there are any crimes really individual, the same as we doubt whether there are any works of genius that are not a collective result. Analyze the mental state of the most vicious and most isolated malefactor, at the moment of his deed; or that of the most enthusiastic inventor at the hour of his discovery; and having subtracted from it all in the makeup of his feverish condition which comes from education, companionship, apprenticeship, and the accidents of life — what is left? Very little; yet something, perhaps something essential, which does not need to be isolated to be itself.

Nevertheless, it is permissible to denominate, individual crimes any acts performed by a single person under the operation of vague, distant, and confused influences of some indefinite and indeterminate other one; and we may reserve the epithet collective for acts brought about by the immediate and direct collaboration of a limited and precise member of coexecutants.

There are, indeed, in this sense, individual acts of genius; or, rather, there is the quality of individuality only in case of genius. For, it is remarkable that while morally, collectivities are susceptible of the two contrary excesses of extreme criminality and 448 THE POPULAR SCIEXCE MONTHLY.

treme heroism, they are not so intellectually ; and while they may descend to depths of folly or imbecility impossible to the individ- ual taken by himself, elevation to the supreme display of intelli- gence and imagination is interdicted to them. They can, morally, fall very low or rise very high ; but intellectually they can only fall very low. While there are collective crimes, of which the individual alone would be incapable assassinations and pillages by armed bands, revolutionary fires, epidemics of venality, etc. there are also collective achievements of heroism in which the individual rises above himself charges of the legendary six hun- dred, patriotic revolts, epidemics of martyrdom, etc. But there are no collective acts of genius that can be contrasted with these. What discovery, invention, or real initiative within historical times has been due to that impersonal being, the public ? Does one say revolutions ? Not they ; what revolutions have accom- plished in pure destruction, the public may claim partly at least : but what have they founded and introduced that was novel that was not conceived and thought out before them or after them by superior men like Luther or Napoleon ? Can any one cite an army, however well constituted, from which an admirable or even passable plan of campaign has sprung ? Or even a coun- cil of war, which for the conception I will not say the discussion of a military manoeuvre was worth the brain of the most ordi- nary general in chief ? Was ever an immortal work in art, a painting, a sculpture, an architectural design, or an epic poem, imagined and wrought out by the collective inspiration of ten or a hundred poets or artists ? All that is of genius is individual, even in crime.

To what is this signal contrast due ? Why is the grand dis- play of intelligence refused to social groups, while a large and strong display of will and even of virtue is within their reach ? It is because the act of most heroic virtue is a very simple matter in itself, and differs from the act of ordinary morality only in degree. The power of unison in human assemblages, where emo- tions and opinions re-enforce one another rapidly by their multi- ple contact, is surely irresistible. But the work of genius or of talent is always complicated and differs in nature not in degree only from an act of ordinary intelligence. The question in a regular process is not, as in this, one of perceiving and recollect- ing at random, but of dealing with known perceptions and im- ages in new combinations. At first sight it seems that ten, a hundred, or a thousand heads together are better fitted than one alone to embrace all the sides of a complex question. Peoples of all times, acting under this illusion, have looked to religious or political assemblages for the mitigation of their troubles. In the middle ages, councils in modern times, states- general, par-

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liaments have been the panaceas demanded by suffering nmlti- tudes. The superstition of the jury is the offspring of a similar error, always mistaken and constantly reviving. In reality these bodies were never simple meetings of persons, but rather cor- porations like certain great religious orders or certain great civil or religious organizations, that have at times responded to the wants of the people. Still it should be observed that, even under their corporative form, collective bodies have shown themselves impotent to create anew. This is the case, however smoothly working may be the mechanism in which they are adjusted and geared. For how is it possible to match in simultaneous compli- cation and elasticity the structure of that cerebral organism which every one of us bears in his head ?

As long, therefore, as a well-organized brain excels the best- constituted parliament in rapid and sure performance, in the prompt absorption and elaboration of multiple elements, and in the intimate solidarity of innumerable agents, it will be puerile, however plausible it may seem a priori, to count on mass meetings or on deliberative bodies, rather than on one man, to deliver a country from a difficult situation. In fact, every time a nation passes through one of those periods when it has an imperious need of great mental capacity as well as of great heart movements, the necessity imposes itself of a personal government, whether under the form of a republic or of a monarchy, or under color of a par- liament.

The preceding considerations may be of use in determining wherein lies the responsibility of leaders for acts committed by the groups which they direct. An assembly or association, a mob or a sect, has no other thought than the one that inspires it ; and it matters not that this thought, this more or less intelligent indi- cation of an end to be pursued or of a means to be employed, is propagated from the brain of one to the brains of all it con- tinues the same. The one who inspired it is therefore responsible for its direct effects. But the emotion associated with this idea, and which is propagated along with it, does not continue the same as it spreads, but is intensified in a sort of mathematical progression ; and what may have been a moderate desire or a halt- ing opinion with the instigator with the first whisperer of a suspicion, for example, ventured against a category of citizens promptly becomes passion and conviction, hatred and fanaticism in the fermentable mass into which the germ has fallen. The in- tensity of emotion that moves the throng and carries it to excess, in the good or evil it does, is therefore largely its own work, the effect of the mutual warming up of those souls in contact by their mutual reflection ; and it would be as unjust to impute to any one director all the crimes to which this over-excitement may

VOL. XLV. 35

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carry it, as to attribute to him the whole merit of the great deeds of patriotic exaltation and of the great acts of devotion excited by the same fever. We may, therefore, always hold the chiefs of a band or a riot accountable for the astuteness and dexterity it displays in the execution of its maneuvers, robberies, and acts of incendiarism, but not always for the violence and extent of the evils caused by its criminal contagions. The general alone is en- titled to credit for the plan of the campaign, but not for the bravery of his soldiers. I do not say that this distinction is ade- quate to simplify all the problems of responsibility raised by our subject, but it will be well to regard it in trying to solve them.

From the intellectual as well as from other points of view, considerable differences may be established between the various forms of social groups. We do not include those which consist in a simple material bringing together of people. Passers in a thronged street, travelers meeting or thrown together on a packet boat, in a railway carriage, or around a dinner table, silent or without general conversation with one another, are grouped physically, not socially. As much may be said of countrymen congregated at a fair, as long as they do nothing but trade with one another, seeking each his own objects, even though they be alike, without co-operation in any common act. All that can be said of this sort of folk is that they bear in themselves the poten- tiality of a social group, so far as resemblances of language, nationality, religion, class, or education may dispose them to as- sociate more or less closely, if occasion should require. Should an explosion of dynamite take place in the street, the vessel be in danger of foundering, the train run off from the track, a fire break out in the hotel, or a rumor about some forestaller spread through the market, the associable individuals would at once be- come associates in the pursuit of an identical purpose under the dominion of an identical emotion.

Thus may arise spontaneously the first stage of the association which we call the mob. By a series of intermediate steps there is raised from this rudimentary, fugacious, and amorphous ag- gregation, the organized, chief -led, persistent, and regular mob, which may be called the corporation, in the widest sense of the word. The most intense expression of the religious corporation is the monastery ; of the lay corporation, the regiment or the workshop. The widest expression of the two is the church or the state. It may indeed be remarked that churches and states, re- ligions and nations, are always tending, in their period of robust growth, to realize the corporative type, monastic or regimental, without, fortunately, ever quite reaching it. Their historical life is passed in oscillating from one type to the other ; in giving the impression by turns of a great mob, like the Barbary States, or of

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a grand corporation, like the France of Saint Louis. It was the same with what were called corporations under the old system of institutions ; they were less corporations in the usual sense than federations of shops, these last very small corporations, each in itself authoritatively ruled by a patron. But when a common danger prompted all the workmen of the same branch of in- dustry to unite for a common end, such as the gaining of a suit, just as all the citizens of a nation would unite in war time, the federative bond was closed up at once, and a governing person- ality was revealed. In the intervals between these unanimous co-operations, the association confined itself, in the associated shops, to the pursuit of a certain aesthetic or economical ideal, as in the intervals between wars the cultivation of a certain patri- otic ideal constitutes the national life of citizens. A modern nation, under the prolonged action of leveling ideas, tends to be- come again a grand complex mob, directed to a greater or less ex- tent by national or local leaders. But the necessity for hierarch- ical order in these enlarged societies is so imperious that by a paradox, the more remarkable as they are more democratic, they are often forced to become more and more military.

Between the two extreme poles which I have just marked may be placed certain temporary groups, recruited according to a fixed rule or subjected to a summary regulation, like the jury; or habitual meetings for pleasure, such as a literary salon of the eighteenth century, the court of Versailles, or a theater audience, which, although their object and common interest are trivial, ac- cept a rigorous etiquette and a fixed hierarchy of different sta- tions; or scientific and literary conferences academies which are rather collections of coexchangeable talents than groups of co- laborers. Among the varieties of the species corporation may be named conspiracies and sects, which are sometimes criminal. Parliamentary assemblies are entitled to a place by themselves ; they have more of the nature of mobs, complex and contradictory mobs double mobs, we might say, as we speak of double mon- sters in which a tumultuous majority is opposed by a minority or a coalition of minorities, and in which, consequently and fortu- nately, the evil of unanimity, that great danger of mobs, is par- tially neutralized.

Mob or corporation, however, all the species of true association have this identical and permanent characteristic, that they are produced, and led to a greater or less extent, by a chief, apparent or hidden ; most frequently hidden in the case of mobs, but always apparent and obvious in corporations. From the moment when a mass of men begins to vibrate with an identical tremor, takes life and advances toward its end, it may be assumed that some guiding spirit or leader, or a group of leaders and moving spirits.

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among wliicli one is the active ferment, has infected it with his intense and perverted enthusiasm. As every shop has its director, every convent its superior, every brigade its general, every as- sembly its president, every fraction of an assembly its leader, so every lively saloon has its Coryphgeus of conversation, every riot its chief, every court its king, prince, or princelet. If a theater audience can ever properly be regarded as constituting to a cer- tain extent an association, it is when it applauds, because it fol- lows, in clapping, the impulse of an initial applause ; and when it is listening, because it yields to the suggestion of the author as expressed by the mouth of the actor who is speaking. Every- where, then, whether visible or not, there reigns here the distinc- tion between leader and led, so important in fixing responsibility. This is not saying that the wills of all are annihilated in the pres- ence of the will of one ; this, too, suggested, the echo of external or anterior voices of which it is only the original condensation is obliged, in order to impose itself on the others, to make them concessions, and to flatter them in order to lead them. Thus it is with the orator, who has to take care not to neglect oratorical precautions ; with the dramatic speaker, who has constantly to bend to the prejudices and changing tastes of his audiences ; and with the leader who would manage his party.

Yet the conditions are various according as spontaneous or organized assemblies are in question. In the latter a will to be dominant must arise conformed, in a certain degree, to the tend- encies and traditions of the prevailing wills ; but once arisen, it executes itself with a fidelitj^ the more perfect the wiser the organization of the body. In mobs an imperative will does not have to conform itself to traditions that do not exist, and may even get itself obeyed, notwithstanding its weak agreement with the tendencies of the majority ; but, whether conformed or not, it is always imperfectly executed, and suffers changes in imposing itself. We can affirm that all the forms of human association are distinguished, first, by the way in which one thought or will among a thousand becomes the director of them under conditions of conflict of thoughts and wills from which it comes out vic- torious ; second, by the greater or less facility which is offered in them for the propagation of the directing thought or will.

The objection has been made, with some force,* that the part

��* A Russian economist made this objection at the Congress of Criminal Anthropology in Brussels, in August, 1892, citing agrarian risings in his country caused by the famine. More recently an Italian author, from whom we shall quote shortly, has made similar ob- jections. On the other hand, I have learned, while correcting the proofs of this article, that the thesis developed in it has been previously set forth by a distinguished Russian writer, M. Mikhailowsky, in 1882, in a publication entitled Otechestwannia Zapiskl.

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played "by leaders has not, in mobs at least, had the universality and importance which we attribute to it. There are, in fact, mobs without an apparent leader. Famine prevails in a region ; on every side the starving masses rise, demanding bread : no chief appears here, but spontaneous unanimity. Let us look a little closer. All these uprisings do not break out together ; they fol- low one another like a powder fuse, beginning with a primary spark. A first riot took place somewhere, in a place suffering more and more effervescent than the others, more exploited by agitators, apparent or secret, who gave the signal for revolt. The outbreak was then imitated in neighboring places, and the new agitators, thanks to their predecessors, had less to do ; and from vicinage to vicinage, from mob to mob, their work is pro- pagated with an increasing force that detracts correspondingly from the efficiency of local directors; till at last, particularly after the popular cyclone has spread beyond the bounds where there is any reason for it, or beyond the region of scarcity, no direction can be perceived. Strangely, indeed, to those who do not comprehend the force of imitative enthusiasm, the spontaneity of the uprising then becomes more complete the less motive there is for it.

Taken in one view, all the tumultuous assemblages which pro- ceed thus from an initial riot in intimate connection with one an- other a habitual phenomenon in revolutionary crises may be regarded as a single mob. There are thus complex mobs, as in physics there are complex waves, chains of groups of waves. Plac- ing ourselves at this point of view, we see that there is no mob without leaders ; and we perceive, further, that from the first of these compound mobs to the last the function of the secondary leaders goes on diminishing and that of the primary leaders in- creasing, augmented at each new tumult born of a preceding tumult by a kind of distant contagion. Epidemics of strikes are a proof of it ; the first that breaks out, the one therefore where the grievances are most serious and which consequently should be the most spontaneous of all, always leaves defined behind it the personality of the agitators ; those that follow, often without the shadow of a reason, have the appearance of explosions with- out a match. It thus often happens that a mob started by a nucleus of excited persons goes beyond them, absorbs them, and, becoming headless, seems to have no leader. The truth is that it has none in the same way that raised dough has no yeast. The function of these leaders is, finally and essentially, greater and more distinct in proportion as the mob acts with more concentra- tion, consecutiveness, and intelligence, as it comes nearer to being a moral person, an organized association.

It appears, then, that in every case, notwithstanding the im-

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portance attached to the character of its members, the association, as a whole, is worth what its chief is worth. His character is the factor of pre-eminent importance ; a little less, it is perhaps true, in mobs ; but in them, on the other hand, while a bad choice of a chief may not produce as disastrous consequences as in a cor- porative association, the chances in favor of a good choice are much less. Multitudes and assemblages, even parliamentary bodies, are quick to be infatuated with a fine speaker, with any stranger ; but the collegia of ancient Rome, the churches of the early Christians, all corporations of every kind, when they come to elect their prior, their bishop, or their syndic, have long been accustomed to examine into his character ; or, if they receive him all fitted out, as in an army, it is at the hands of an intelligent and well-informed authority. They are less exposed to " ring rule," for they do not live continually in a single body, but most usually in a dispersed condition that leaves their members, freed from the constraint of contacts, to be influenced by their own reason. Besides, when the excellence of the chief of a body has been recognized, he may die, but his acts will survive him ; the founder of a religious order, canonized after his death, continues to act in the hearts of his disciples ; and to the influence he exerts is added that of all the abbes and reformers who succeeded him, and whose prestige, like his, grows and is refined by distance in time ; while the honest leaders of mobs * for there are such cease to act as soon as they have disappeared, and are more easily forgotten than replaced. Mobs obey men, living and present only, men of physical and corporeal prestige, never phantoms of ideal perfection, immortalized memories. As I have just mentioned in passing, corporations in their long existence, sometimes of several centuries, present a series of perpetual leaders, grafted, as it were, upon one another and complementing one another ; another differ- ence from mobs, in which there is at most a group of temporary and simultaneous leaders who reflect and aggrandize one another. There are other differences. The worst leaders are liable to be chosen and endured by multitudes, and the worst suggestions of all that are offered to be adopted. This is because, first, the most contagious notions or ideas are those which are most intense; and, secondly, the most intense ideas are the narrowest and most

  • In a conference on Industrial Conciliation and the Function of Leaders, held at Brus-

sels in 1892, a very competent Belgian engineer, M. Weiler, illustrated the useful function which honest leaders that is, as he expressed it, leaders of the profession, not leaders by profession might fulfill in differences between employers and their workmen. He also spoke of the little desire which workmen show in these critical moments to see " Messrs. the politicians " come up. Why ? Because they know very well that, once come, these gentle- men will subjugate them with or without their consent. It is a fascination they are afraid of, but are nevertheless subject to.

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false, striking the senses and not tlie mind, and the most intense emotions are the most egotistical. This is why it is easier in a mob to propagate a puerile fancy than an abstract truth, a com- parison than a reason, faith in a man or suspicion of him than attachment to a principle or renunciation of a prejudice ; and why the pleasure of vilifying being more lively than the pleasure of admiring, and the sentiment of preservation stronger than that of duty, hootings are more easily started than bravoes, and spasms of panic are more frequent than impulses of courage.

It has been remarked * that mobs are generally inferior in intel- ligence and morality to the average of their members. Not only is the social compound in this case, as it always is, dissimilar to the elements of which it is the product or combination rather than the sum, but it is also habitually worthless. This is true, however, only of mobs and aggregations that resemble them. But where the spirit of the organization {esprit de corps) rather than the spirit of the mob prevails, it usually happens that the composite, in which the genius of a grand organizer survives, is superior to its existing elements. Accordingly, as a company of actors is a corporation or a mob that is, as it is more or less trained and or- ganized its members will play together better or worse than when separately they speak monologues. In a highly disciplined body, like the police, excellent rules for hunting criminals, hearing wit- nesses, and drawing up processes are transmitted traditionally, and fortify the mind of the individual in its reliance on a higher reason. While we can say with truth, adopting a Latin proverb, that senators are good men and the senate is an unruly beast, I have had a hundred occasions to remark that the gendarmes, though generally intelligent, are less so than the gendarmerie. A general made the same remark to me while drilling his recruits. Questioned separately concerning military maneuvers, he found them all stupid; but when they were brought together he was surprised to see them perform with a harmony and spirit, with an air of collective intelligence, very superior to what they had shown singly. The regiment, therefore, is often braver, more generous, and more moral than the soldier. Doubtless, corporations, whether regiments, religious orders, or sects, go further than mobs both in mischief and in well-doing ; from the best disposed mobs to the most criminal is a less distance than from the noblest exploits of our armies to the worst excesses of Jacobinism, or from the Sis- ters of St. Vincent de Paul to the Camorrists and the anarchists ; and M. Taine, who has depicted with much vigor criminal mobs and criminal sects, has shown that the latter were more mis-

  • See, on this subject, a very interesting essay by M. Sighele, on La Folia delinquente,

which has been reviewed by M. Cherbuliez in the Revue des Deux Mondes.

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cMevous than the former. But while mobs more frequently do ill than good, corporations more frequently do good than ill.

When, by chance, a multitude in action appears to be better, more heroic, and more magnanimous than the average of those who compose it, the fact is either due to extraordinary circum- stances, or the magnanimity is only apparent and fictitious, and is the deep-seated result of a hidden terror. The heroism of fear is frequent in mobs. Sometimes the beneficent conduct of a mob is simply a survival of the custom of an ancient corporation. Is not this the case in the spontaneous self-devotion which is sometimes exhibited in the crowds which in cities run to put out a great fire ? I say sometimes of them, not referring to the body of the firemen, in whom these admirable traits are habitual and exhibited daily. The multitude around these, following their example, perhaps stimulated by emulation, show also a rare devotion, and confront a danger to save a life. But when we observe that these collec- tions of the multitude are a traditional affair, that they have their rules and customs, that they portion out duties, that the full buckets go round on the right and the empty ones on the left, that their actions are combined with a customary act rather than being spontaneous, we are brought to perceive that these mani- festations of sympathy and of fraternal assistance have come down from the peculiar corporative life of the communities of the middle ages.

Instances in any number might be cited to illustrate how an excited multitude, even when the majority of it are persons of intelligence, has always something in it partaking both of the puerile and the bestial : of the puerile in the mobility of its hu- mor, in its quick passage from rage to outbursts of laughter ; of the bestial in its brutality. It is cowardly, too, even when com- posed of individuals of average courage. It is hard to conceive to what extent mobs, and unorganized, undisciplined collections of men in general, are more mobile, more forgetful, more credu- lous, and more cruel than the greater part of their elements ; but the proofs of the fact are abundant. In the collective mind images succeed one another incoherently, as they do in the brain of a sleeping or a hypnotized man ; while most of the indi- vidual minds which compose it, and which concur in forming that great folly called opinion, are capable of consecutiveness and order in the arrangement of their ideas. M. Delboeuf tells of a poor German, just arrived at Lidge, who followed the crowd to the scene of a dynamite explosion. Some one, seeing him run a little faster than tlie others, pointed him out as the guilty per- son, and the whole mob was ready to cut him to pieces. Yet that mob was composed of the best society of the place, attending a concert; and gentlemen could be heard calling for a revolver

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with which to kill recklessly an unhappy man of whose nation- ality, name, and crime they knew nothing.

When the cholera was raging in Paris in 1833, the report spread through the city rapidly that the disease was the work of poisoners, who, the people were brought to believe, were tamper- ing with food, wells, and wines. Immense multitudes assembled in the public places, and every man who was seen carrying a bottle or a vial or a small package was in imminent danger of his life ; the mere possession of a flask was sufficient evidence to con- vict, in the eyes of the delirious multitude ; and many fell vic- tims to its rage. Two persons, flying before thousands of mad- men accusing them of having given a poisoned tart to children, took refuge in a guardhouse ; the post was surrounded in an in- stant, and nothing could have prevented the murder of the ac- cused men if two ofiicers had not conceived the happy thought of eating one of the tarts in full view of the mob. The mob burst into laughter, and the men were saved. These follies are of all kinds, and the mobs are of every race and every climate Roman mobs, charging Christians with the burning of Rome or the de- struction of a legion, and throwing them to wild beasts ; mobs of the middle ages, entertaining the most absurd suspicions against the Albigenses, the Jews, or any heretic, the spread of which was independent of proof ; German mobs of Muzer in the Refor- mation; French mobs of Jourdan in the Reign of Terror the spectacle is always the same. The inconsistency of mobs is illus- trated by what Dr. Zambuco Pasha relates of certain Eastern villages where leprosy exists; where the populace are ready to chase any one suspected of having leprosy, and even to execute lynch law upon him ; yet the same populace go to chapels at- tended by leprous persons, kiss the images they have kissed, and take the communion from the same chalices with them.

Mobile, inconsistent, and without real traditions as mobs are, they are, nevertheless, subject to routine ; and in this they differ from corporations, which in their whole period of ascendency are traditionalist and progressive, and progressive because they are traditionalist. The power of routine over men casually brought together was curiously illustrated to me a few years ago at the rooms of a cure by inhalation at Mont Dord, where the three or four hundred men assembled to take the vapors issuing from a boiler in the middle of the apartment, having nothing to do or say, proceeded to march in procession around the room, and al- ways walked in the same direction that of the hands of a watch ; and all efforts to start them in the opposite direction failed. An instance of the power of suggestion to start the crowd was fur- nished in a dissecting room, where the work could be carried on in the midst of conversation or singing. Some one would break

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the silence by singing a measure or two of an air, and then stop. Instantly the strain would be taken up and carried on by another student working in another part of the room. The person who continued the song, when questioned on the subject, did not seem aware that he had followed any definite impulse. Is there not in this often unconscious suggestion something that casts a light on those ideas that come up, one knows not why or how, in mobs that come, no one knows whence, and spread with dizzy rapidity ? An audience in a theater suggests similar remarks. While it is the most capricious of publics, it is also the most sheeplike, and it is as hard to foresee its caprices as to reform its habits. Its ways of expressing approbation or blame are usually the same in the same country ; then it must always be shown what it is accustomed to see on the stage, no matter how artificial it may be ; and it is not safe to show it what it is not accustomed to see there. Still, it must be remembered that the theater audience is a seated mob that is, only half a mob. The real mob that in which electrification by contact reaches its highest point of ra- pidity and energy is composed of people standing and, better yet, in motion. Yet the most effective agents of mutual sugges- tion, especially the sight, still exist among seated spectators ; and, no doubt, if they did not see one another, if they were witnessing the play as prisoners in cells hear mass in little grated boxes whence it would be impossible to look around, each of them, in- fluenced by the action of the piece and the actors, free from all mixture with the action of the public, would be more fully con- trolled by his own taste, and the applause or hissing would be much less unanimous. It rarely happens at a theater, a banquet, or any popular manifestation, that one even if he at heart dis- approves the applause, the toasts, or the hurrahs dares to with- hold his applause, or not to raise his glass, or to keep an obstinate silence in the midst of enthusiastic cries. At Lourdes, in the pro- cessional and praying throng of believers, there are skeptics who, on the morrow, thinking over all they have done to-day the crossing of their arms, the expressions of faith uttered by some and repeated by all the others, and the prostrations will jest about them. They will, nevertheless, not laugh or protest to-day, but will themselves kiss the ground, or pretend to, and if they do not actually hold their arms crossed, will make the gesture of it. They are not afraid, for there is no force in these pious throngs : but they do not wish to be scandalized. And what, at the bottom, is this fear of scandal except the extraordinary importance at- tributed by the most dissenting and most independent of men to the collective blame of a public composed of individuals, for the personal judgment of each one of whom he would not care a whit ? This, however, is not always sufficient to explain the

�� � habitual and remarkable condescension of the unbeliever to the fervent multitudes in which he is immersed. We must also, I believe, assume that at the moment when a wave of mystic enthusiasm passes over them he takes his little part of it and finds his heart traversed by a fugitive faith. This being admitted and explained for pious crowds, we have a right to explain in the same way what passes in criminal mobs, where a current of momentary ferocity sometimes crosses and denaturalizes a normal heart.

It is a trite piece of exaggeration to glorify civil courage at the expense of military courage, which passes for something less rare; but the truth there is in this trite idea is explained by what has just been said. Civil courage consists in resisting a popular enthusiasm, in going against a current, in uttering before an assembly or a council a dissenting, isolated opinion, opposed to that of the majority; while military courage consists, generally, in distinguishing one's self in battle, in yielding most completely to the environing impulse, and in going further than the others in the direction that one is urged by them. When, in an exceptional case, military courage requires one to resist an impulse, when a colonel has to oppose a panic, or to restrain the inconsiderate eagerness of troops, bravery of that kind is still more rare, and, let us acknowledge, is more admirable than an opposition speech in the legislative chamber. — Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.


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