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Nihilism, Futurist Traditionalism and Conservationism

The Taming of the Crowd

19 10 12 - 06:32


The problem it seemed was that the interior of the depot did nothing to manage the Crowd—which could resume the same patterns of movement as they did on the street—and believe me, it was just as unruly out there. In the depot, where passengers were confronted with the unbridled power of locomotives, it was necessary to impose some sort of structure to the meeting: the Crowd had to be domesticated.

...

Each of these changes was meant to remind the people that they were indeed individuals despite their place in the Crowd, and as individuals they still had social roles and responsibilities to fulfill. Moreover, these changes synchronized the Crowd by putting people through the same paces at the same points. But perhaps the most significant change would come from the architectural firm Warren and Wetmore. A deadly collision in 1902 preceded public demand for an even safer, more accessible terminal. Warren and Wetmore won the bid for reconstruction, and the plan they produced included galleries, which added yet another transition area but, more importantly, rendered the Crowd into a spectacle.

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Being placed on display is not lost on the subconscious of the Crowd: what appears to be hustle and bustle are manifestations of many synchronizations happening at once. So what appears to be chaos to the casual observer is actually a play directed by design that makes the Crowd a key feature of the space even as it is minimized by the architectural elements that Grand Central Terminal is known for: the grand ceiling, the large windows, and the deep main concourse. These items add perspective to the Crowd and diminish its psychological power as an uncontrollable mass. - Scientific American


The Crowd has always been with us, and always will be. It's inherent to the nature of individuals co-existing in a group, and it accelerates as the group gets larger.

This is the challenge of agricultural society.

Managing the Crowd is relatively easy for a railway station, but the fundamental aspects -- divide, identify, and reduce its power by making it seem small and highly visible -- remain.

The Crowd thrives on anonymity and the sense that its actions have no consequences its individual members must face. This allows it to, say, guillotine its best 10% of the population, or send any independent thinkers to the gulags, or in the case of modern America and the EU, to drown out any complex truth in favor of an entitlement state.

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