THE MOB: the press of the multitude

It is not only in the halls of Congress where numbers count. It is not only during elections where the inclinations of the many will dictate the course of the whole. Man, being social, will seek to be where the herd moves thickest. The mob: the press of the multitude – the block of humanity that surges like the river rapids, caring neither for its destination nor the course on which it flows.

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A man in the middle of a throng will lose his sense of individuality and becomes part of a single entity, the mob. He neither chooses his destination nor care what ground his feet are treading. The throng seeks the way with the least strain, where it can disperse and be relieved of its congestion.

The multitude in our country is slowly becoming a mob, marching towards whichever course gives the least pressure and can assuage the discomfort of living the Filipino life. This is not a sign of a positive national unity; but a unity of suffering, of misery. The Filipino dream is just that, a dream, and when the dawn breaks the nightmare of reality comes with it.

One thing that is of note about the mob is that, he who holds the way the way out will control the mob. History is replete with examples of men that became great or infamous because they were able to control the multitude. The one that can show a way out is the hero to the eyes of the congested many. This has been the rule, and seldom are there exceptions to this rule. This is what makes the mob terrifying. A double edged sword, that can be used both to achieve great things, but as well as for terrible and horrifying acts of human savagery.

Why is Willie Revillame still adored by his fans despite the many scandals that he is involved in? Is it because they really love him and find his jokes and comments funny and endearing? Or is it because he offers an opportunity to alleviate the suffering of them, the  hungry flock, through giving away prices and whatnots on his TV shows? When Willie was removed from his former TV Network, many of his fans cried against what was done to him, and those comments made by those fans are elucidating as to why they are for Willie. The cry of the multitude that adored Willie was mostly that “Dapat hindi siya tinanggal. Mabuting tao si Willie, marami siyang na tutolungan sa game show niya.” (He should not be removed. Willie is a good man; he has helped many in his game show.) What they are basically saying is that they do not care if Willie deserves to be removed or not, they only cared for what he can give them out of his game show.

This kind of devotion being showed to Willie is not unique to him. Take for example the devotion that supporters have for most politicians in this country. Why do politicos that are already widely known for their corruption and vile greed, and probably even for their ruthlessness, still retain the support of the common folk? Why is it that, regardless of the fact that most dirty politicos cheat during elections, they still retain a sizeable support groups? The universal response would always be: “Kasi marami siyang na tulongan” (It is because he has helped many).

It does not matter to them if the politico is guilty of corruption, or if he has killed or raped or trampled on the rights of others. It does not matter to them if he is living an immoral life. It does not matter to them that basically the money that those politicos are “helping” them with comes from them, from the taxes that they are paying. What matters to the multitude is that, they were given rice and sardines every once in awhile; that they were given money for medicines when they are sick; that when they die they are provided with coffins to bury them in. What matters to the multitude is that there is someone that can alleviate whatever strain life dishes out to them. What matters to them is that there is a savior they can turn to when the going gets tough. They don’t care if that savior has horns and drinks the lifeblood of the whole.

Such is the reality of our Filipino life. The desperation for release has become the driving force behind the surge of the mob. There is an impending doom for us if this state continues, or an impending splendor, such course depends on whose hands holds to the way out.

The apathy of the multitude will drown the empathy of the few. It is not always true that he who shouts loudest talks wisest. Sometimes the voice of the many may not be the voice of God, but that of the devil hiding behind a façade of goodness just so he can spread his malice and vileness to the world through an ignorant mob. “Beware of false prophets”, so says the Bible, no truer words were ever said.

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