Fear of Independence

“What if everyone joined the crowd except me? What if everyone were smiling, growling, hissing, chanting, cheering, and singing, but I were not included? What if, having grown tired or frightened of being left out — or rather, of the strain of standing apart — I should discover that they would no longer accept me at all? That I had missed my chance to become one of them? That the crowd’s comforting combination of obscurity and significance, which I had so cavalierly rejected in my pride, were at last denied to me forever?”

Proposition: Humans are, as Nietzsche suggests, all too human.

Proof: Every crowd is dumber than its dumbest member. Everyone is tempted to join the crowd. Therefore, everyone is tempted to be dumber than himself — that is, to see less than he sees, to know less than he knows.

Corollary: Everyone is wiser alone than he is in a crowd. Everyone fears being alone. Therefore, everyone is afraid of being as wise as himself — that is, of seeing what he is capable of seeing, knowing what he is capable of knowing.

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