• Guest Author

Lockdown, Mob Mentality and the Individual

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

This is a guest article submitted to Fact Not Opinions on the worldwide reaction to Covid-19

The human mind works in two different ways – as an individual and as a part of a group. When part of a group, we make decisions that we would never make normally, something that can loosely be attributed to a catchphrase “mob mentality”. The Mob mentality doesn’t have to be connotated negatively, it can happen when you are with family, with friends, with colleagues or part of any group at a given point. The point is, our decisions are often influenced by our surroundings, more so than we would like to accept.

Left to our own means and senses, the decisions would often be quite the contrary of what actually happens. Its intriguing to then wonder "why do we all partake in this phenomenon, why are we so influenced, almost coerced gently into becoming a part of this mentality without any obvious external influence." What then, is the internal influence that we develop that makes us decide so differently. What then, goes through the mind in those fractions of a second that we deliberate and decide differently.

The “lockdown” phenomenon from Covid-19 started in March and spread across the world like the virus itself with country after country shutting down transport systems, their borders, their shops and restaurants and their very economies and scrambling and hoping for this storm to blow over while sustaining minimum damage. We often fear most what we don’t understand and that is why everyone panicked and stuck to holing themselves in their homes as if we were in a post-apocalyptic time, hoarding food and supplies and distancing ourselves from anything and everything. However, as the dust has settled, our understanding of the virus has improved, while many have succumbed a far greater number have recovered, lives have been saved but livelihoods have been lost, patience has run thin. The mental fortitude to fight this virus has slowly waned, the lack of physical contact, emotional connect has exacted an insurmountable cost on the mind.

As a result, people have thrown caution to the winds and the politicians and the system has played along in most part by understanding the underlying pulse of the situation. They imposed the lockdown when people were scared and the death toll was mounting and even the toll of infected and succumbed continues to rise, the approach has changed. The only reason is that the politicians have realized that they don’t have the power to keep people home any longer, they’ll lose the faith and support of these people and most importantly they’ll lose their votes and as a result the power and prestige they so enjoy right now.

The masses know that many will be infected, including them and their loved ones, and some will perish too but they are now resigned to a game of chance for the loss of normalcy and livelihood is too much. The cost of surviving and living the way we are being asked to is not the price we are willing to pay anymore because neither is the risk as bad as we thought nor can we be bothered anymore.

We must understand and remember that the lockdown was not done to prevent the infection, but just to space them out long enough to not over-burden the unprepared health care systems suddenly and buy time to re-route all resources. It was merely a “time-buying” and delaying tactic, but now we’ve thrown caution to the winds, swarmed out in hoards and ignored all advise of social distancing. We’ve chosen to conveniently ignore the risk undertaken and the sacrifice of millions of healthcare workers, department store personnel’s and all essential services workers across the world and given in to our desires once more. The desire for instant gratification of being out on a nice warm summer day, to go for a walk or a run by the beach, to hang out with your mates sipping some cider, to lounge in your friends garden with a barbecue, to hike or trek the terrain has been too strong for us to curtail.

The lack of clarity on the best approach ahead has been made obvious by each nation choosing its own path to possible salvation or destruction and has left us in tangles unimagined before. Some nations refused lockdown, some implemented draconian ones, some followed advice by health bodies, some have severed ties with them altogether, economies were sacrificed by some and prioritized by others, true numbers were revealed by some and masked and manipulated by others, unproven remedies were bought by some and rejected by others, finger pointing and blame shifting is becoming the norm to deflect the focus of the common “locked down” while an invisible little organism has wreaked unforeseen havoc.

Let there be no doubt that the world stands divided, divided by borders, flags, geographies, loyalties, priorities, skin color and race and so on so forth. There is little that unites and many that divides and fragments. The moral compass of thought is skewed and has been led astray with nothing to give it credence, no previous standards to aspire to adhere to and so we’ve looked around naturally. We’ve found a “mob” as rudderless and we’ve all just given in to being in the “present”. We’ve given into the mob mentality of blatantly floundering all rules and advice and decided lets just make hay while the sun shines.

We all are guilty and but then what are we really guilty of? Is it even a crime and if not, then how are we guilty? Aren’t we actually in the right to live in the moment and let the lawmakers and others clean up the mess when it happens? Are we are entitled to our individuality and our choices even if its at the cost of others? Its funny if you think about it – every individual in the mob is thinking about self, at the cost of everything and everyone, and that uniquely unifies them today while the world stands divided.

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Dr. Ekansh Debuka - Blog Orthoapedic registrar working at the Aintree Hospital, Liverpool, United Kingdom. ekansh.debuka@gmail.com

MRCS Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 2019

MS Orthopaedics

Gold Medal King Georg Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow, India 2014 – 2017

MBBS Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Manipal, India 2007-201

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