Mob mentality has been around since the beginning of time. Ever since humans could form tribes, colonies, villages, towns, cities and nations, mob mentality has been alive and well. Have a look at the biblical story of the tower of Babel. Everyone was busy building a tower to the heavens that they didn’t stop to ask if they should have built it in the first place.
Today, for Monday Mayhem, I want to have a look at how zombies contrast with humans regarding herd mentality. I would like to compare similarities and differences in order to understand zombie and human behavior—besides one species being undead.
Have you ever gone Christmas shopping? I enjoy doing it in November when the store shelves are full, people’s attitudes are easy going, and parking spaces are aplenty. Try hitting the malls anytime in December and you’ll be out of luck. That’s why I avoid at all costs, if I might add, Christmas shopping in December. You’re taking your life in your own hands.
Without fail, every Christmas a toy or gadget comes out that becomes the hottest thing on the market to get for the holiday season. Advertisers make a big deal of it, stores make a big deal of it—and this is where it gets interesting—friends make a big deal of it. They especially fall for the carrot and ride the wave of peer pressure to that once-in-a-lifetime deal they think they’ll never have the chance in getting any other time, ever.
Thus the herd mentality is born. The inciting incident, the carrot, is the deal. If the advertisers can convince one person, that person can become their agent to secure the loyalties of others tempted with the same deal. The worst offenders of this practice are those stores that offer the gadget at half-price for one day only. You want to see death on the doorstep? Show up during that one-day sale. The herd mentality will reign supreme.
What about zombies? Easy, they work on the same principle. Show them what they couldn’t live without and they will follow it to the ends of the earth. The undead could be the most docile creatures in their dormant state. Once a human enters their world, they become ravaging beasts, filled with greed and violence. Well now, not much different from Christmas shoppers, are they?
And that really is the trick to the zombie herd mentality. The undead would have to see what they lack for them to go crazy, storm buildings, tear apart storefronts and kill for the sake of their selfish desires. It’s greed, really, that drives a mob mentality to commit the awful atrocities in the streets.
Thankfully, humans don’t have to worry about zombies interfering with their Christmas shopping. Wait a minute. Perhaps I’ve spoken too soon. Even if human toys and gadgets don’t appeal to zombies, humans themselves do. I take it back. Humans have a lot to worry about with zombies interfering with their Christmas plans (even if it is six months away).
RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.
Have you seen instances of herd/mob mentality in real life? What are some examples?
23 thoughts on “Zombie Herd Mentality”
Early humans hunted in packs, because they were descended from animals that hunted in packs. It’s instinctive. By hunting, I mean forming a skirmish line several hundred yards long. A few hunters go a mile or so ahead of the line and then return towards it, yelling “Booga-booga!” or “Yo mama!” and other Neanderthal epithets to exhort any game in the brush to panic and run towards the line. The latter moves forward, with the ends running a bit faster to create a semicircle and, ultimately, to close the circle with the game inside it. Then they club the wittew wabbits to death and eat ’em.
Now here’s the relevant thing: when you’re trying to surround game, it’s very important that everybody move in coordinated fashion, at the same speed. To do this, everybody had to adapt their speed to that of the slowest member of the pack. That’s why the IQ of a mob becomes that of the dumbest member. Does this apply to zombies? Heck, I don’t know. Do you?
That’s why zombies make such a good metaphorical device for social commentary/satire. Dawn of the Dead is the classic example – which uses the shopping mall setting to parody mindless consumerism and group mentality.
At least zombies are rather brainless all the time, and have an excuse to trample each other in pursuit of a good deal.
Why, yes. We are such dumb cattle, humans. Go to a buffet in Las Vegas. Stand by and watch after a major sports team loses and the people of that city riot. Yep. Zombies may just have a leg up on us.
Silence is Golden (1967) Talking is cheap, people follow like sheep. Sung by The Tremeloes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cwmov_cmsEs
Anybody who’s gone to school, doesn’t matter where or if it was public or private school, has seen mob mentality. They encourage it in these institutions and use it in the same way organized religions use it, to control the masses. Stay in line, keep with the herd, or be socially culled from the pack. We choose not to see it, but it’s there all the same if you stop and think about it.
Agreed! Makes me wish I had homeschooled when I was a kid!
I’ve seen herd/mob mentality in church. If you happen to be a little different from them and not follow the leader so to speak, they make it their business to make your life very difficult. God appreciates unity rather than uniformity. It’s beyond me how majority of Christians don’t understand that.
Totally with you there! I actually did something about that. I found a new church. 🙂
Lol, smart man!
There is an excellent film called The Hunt which shows mob mentality at it’s worst. Rumour is the worst, it can spread so quickly that it is hard to counteract, even if it isn’t true. Nice analogy between zombies and Christmas shoppers!
Black Friday comes to mind with mob mentality. When I worked in a video store, we had a few releases that created this type of rush, but it tended to be tame. Though I heard the ‘Twilight release’ was a terrifying event and I’m glad I moved on to another job two weeks beforehand.
I think I prefer the zombie version of mob mentality. You rarely see them trample each other and there’s more of a pack sense there. At least they share the spoils. Humans nearly kill each other and god help you if you grab the last of whatever has them riled up.
Black Friday – ” Black Friday of The Living Dead ” could conceivably be a GREAT movie idea. All the elements for a VERY chaotic situation are there. It’s a natural !
Have it take place in a Walmart and it’s pure gold.
A Wal Mart on Black Friday, during the Christmas season, WITH ZOMBIES – 24 kt gold, definitely. 🙂
Lol you bring a nice example of zombie herds. I never looked at them that way that despite being overcrowded they are actually quite disciplined. The first episode of the walking dead where they eat the horse comes to mind.
Forgot about that scene. Though it is odd how you see a pack of zombies on a victim and they rarely fight amongst themselves. Society would benefit from zombie manners. 🙂
That sounds similar to what Sigourney Weaver’s character in ” ALIENS ” said about the Aliens. They don’t screw each other over for a percentage ( quote, unquote ).
Suddenly fictional monsters seem more human than Christmas shoppers.
You’re definitely on to something here, I must say.
It definitely would.
Here is an example. I person I knew was in Germany. Hitler was in an open car and going by. The crowd chanted and did the salute. My friend who was Jewish did not want to salute but if he did not he would stick out and be in danger. Stand your ground or submit? He saluted and would fight the battle in the future.
I have seen mob mentality in action and it is scary. Rumors fly and before you know it the rumors become truth even when they are made up. And the ability to fight this conformity is dangerous to say the least.