The protests around the globe are inspiring for many people. Thousands of souls rallied around a common theme: ridding themselves of dictatorial rule—mostly. There is a disturbing aspect too: individuals tend to act differently in groups. In crowds there lurks the potential for violence, destruction and death. Why do individuals behave differently in crowds? Men who otherwise live peacefully have been known to gather in lynch mobs. One justification might be that each shares in the responsibility and this makes it proper, another example of “might is right”. It is not. Each is still guilty of murder. Another argument is … Continue reading Dost Thou Protest Too Much?
(N.B. Within hours of posting this article came news that President Mubarak might step down. This does not fundamentally change anything. -EP) Cairo is in turmoil and the West is transfixed. The West has a long fascination with Egypt, land of Pharaohs and Great Pyramids. From the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, which allowed for the translation of previously indecipherable hieroglyphics, the fascination has continued to even include popular culture. For example, in 1986 the Bangles, a British band, recorded a “one-hit-wonder” called “Walk Like An Egyptian”. Politically, Egypt is a “one-hit-wonder” as well—authoritarianism all the way. Seven millennia of … Continue reading Don’t Walk Like An Egyptian