Thursday, January 31, 2013

Collective Madness and Delusion

I often take comfort in the knowledge that there is nothing new under the sun, and that all things (however awful) eventually will pass. The following is from the 1841 classic Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay:
"In reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire of military glory; another as suddenly becoming crazed upon a religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity."
The entire book is yours for the download, here:


OpenID Eric said...

OT, but it looks like somebody's playing with the blog header again.

And thanks for the download! That's another classic I haven't read in awhile. It used to be required reading in universities, but for obvious reasons they've stopped requiring it!

5:11 PM  

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