Month 7:12, Week 2:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year 5935:183 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 9 October 2011
Don't Follow the Crowd
Mass Psychology vs. the Ruach
A book that had an impact on me when I was at Oxford was Dr.Wilhelm Reich's thesis, The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Banned by the nazis, Dr.Reich dissected and analysed what he realised was a menacing social situation in his adopted land of Germany (he was from Austria-Hungary). I didn't agree with most of his conclusions at the time, and still don't, as he did not understand the similarities between Fascism and Marxism, which are really two sides of the same coin. (He was himself a Marxist). He saw and understood similar abuses in the organised church, and in particular, Roman Catholicism, but went to the opposite extreme of being practically anti-authority altogether. Consequently, he would not have liked the Besorah (Gospel) too much. But then, had he lived in it, he probably would not have liked the authoriarian Soviet state either.
"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil" (Ex.23:2, NKJV).
Our short passage day warns us to beware of the crowd, and especially one that has been galvanised to do evil. Unfortunately, many people like crowds because they can hide in them and so find a kind of artificial 'security'. Crowds, by virtue of their size, amass intoxicating power too - it is hard to control or resist a large crowd. So why are people attracted to them? I believe it is because a crowd is a place to lose all sense of personal responsibility whilst bathing in a powerful but false corporate identity. The 'mass' takes over, relegating the individual conscience to the sidelines.
A question every believer has to ask himself is whether he prefers the bland anonmynity of the crowd that takes on the characteristics of an organism or individuality and accountability. Do you prefer to be a part of a seething mass that does not know where it is going, a mass pulled and manipulated by (for example) forceful oratory outside it (as Hitler and Lenin did)? Or are you willing to stand alone, stand out, and be different, free to do and be what Yahweh wants of you? The fellowship of Yahweh is precisely the opposite of the fellowship of the crowd; and though communal fellowship is important and is indeed the culmination of the festivals leading to Sukkot, true spirituality begins with a one-to-one relationship with Yahweh though Yah'shua (Jesus) at Pesach, a fewllowship that is nevertheless still one-to-one in our communal walk from beginning to end, too. When we die we must face Yahweh face-to-face alone, we must move along an ever narrowing path and pass through an exceedingly narrow gate. Yes, Yahweh's people belong to the community of Messianic Israel but it is a very different community from those that centre around political ideologies and all other religions. How?
Wilhelm Reich understood that crowds could be manipulated psychologically. What he didn't realise - because he was not a believer - was that such mass psychology operates excusively on the level of the psyche and the flesh. The Community of Yahweh, by strong contrast, is linked by Ruach (Spirit). And the way the Ruach (Spirit) works is by joining people who have this very strong personal connection to Elohim (God), a connection that makes them unique and unduplicatable. Every born-again soul is his or her own unique identity (excluding the next level, which is marriage, that forges another identity) and any communal Israelite identity preserves rather than swallows up that uniqueness. The psychic power of fascism, communism and all false authoritarian religion crushes individuality and seeks to mould the masses into a single, grey conformist, robotic nothingness that is driven by the demonic power of the flesh.
Yahweh's people are highly individulistic but are all united by a common Ruach (Spirit), Ahavah (Love) and Torah (Law) which, far from crushing the soul, protect and nourish it. (Of course, those who are not born-again will seek to live Torah in the psyche, and fail). The basic unity of Zion is the family whereas the ground unit of totalitarian systems is always the system itself: the state or the church. There is no 'mass psychology' involved in the true emunah (faith), even those seeking to discredit it seek for it in vain. For every family is a duplication of the Messianic Community's wholeness.
As we approach Sukkot we need to remember this difference. The Body of Messiah is held together not by psyching-up the masses with religion or counterfeit demonic 'Spirit' (as in charismatic circles) but by the individual family submitting to its patriarchal head who is submitted to Messiah in Torah-righteousness and becoming an independent unit which voluntarily associates with other families by the power of ahavah (love) and emet (truth). How different is Messianic Israel from all the secular and religious systems of the world that are built upon the flesh and the psyche! The latter are mortal, they have no permanence, which is why all worldly systems must ultimately perish, even those done falsely in the Name of Christ.
May you be blessed as you realise and seek this tavnith!