Carl Jung’s observations about Hitler and the “madness of crowds”

What Carl Jung had to say about the leadership and characteristics of large groups of people would also seem to apply to social groups linked together by the Internet and bonded by religious causes such as Islamic Fundamentalism:

“There is no question but that Hitler belongs in the category of the truly mystic medicine man…since the time of Mohammed nothing like it has been seen in this world. This markedly mystic characteristic of Hitler is what makes him do things which seem to us illogical, inexplicable, curious and unreasonable….Don’t you know that if you choose one hundred of the most intelligent people in the world and get them all together, they are a stupid mob? Ten thousand of them together would have the collective intelligence of an alligator…. In a crowd, the qualities which everybody possesses multiply, pile up, and become the dominant characteristics of the whole crowd. Not everybody has virtues, but everybody has the low animal instincts, the basic primitive caveman suggestibility, the suspicions and vicious traits of the savage age. The result is that when you get a nation of many millions of people, it is not even human. It is a lizard or a crocodile or a wolf.”

~Carl Jung interview with H.R. Knickerbocker in Cosmopolitan [1938] See: C.G. Jung Speaks; Pages 115-135.

1 thought on “Carl Jung’s observations about Hitler and the “madness of crowds”

  1. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears to be the “Hitler” of the ISIS movement.
    “CBS News has obtained a photo of the man who would become the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) while he served time at a U.S. military prison in Iraq in 2004. In the photo, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is pictured while being in-processed at Camp Bucca in early 2004. He appears to be wearing the same yellow prison jumpsuit worn by other prisoners there. A previous CBS News investigation revealed that Baghdadi was among at least 12 of the top leaders of ISIS who served time at Bucca, one of the toughest, American prisons in Iraq. Baghdadi spent 10 months at the prison, from February to December 2004. U.S. officials who worked at Bucca previously told CBS News they were concerned that prisoners were becoming radicalized. The prison has been described as ‘a pressure cooker for extremism.'”

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