About our Herd Instinct

Image Source: Quora

Anti-psychoanalysists like Deleuze and Gauttarihave extensively discussed what they call a herd instinct.  Herd behaviour is being studied today in the fields of economics, politics and psychology. Herd instinct stands for a desire to be led. It is a desire to have someone else legislate life for us. It seems to lead us to desire our own repression. But repression does not feel like one. It becomes a way to escape in bliss. Yet the question still haunts us. It asks: “is it really necessary or desirable to submit ourselves to such repressions?” Such a submission to a given social code without any resistance is an expression of the death instinct.  That is why what we called the herd instinct is essentially a death instinct. It is paradoxical that death instinct actually masks itself in a sense of safety. The seduction of the herd instinct seems to rule the roost in the political life of our society. We seem to be happy to remain disenfranchised and stay in a grand intoxicating illusion of a supposed disenfranchisement of a demonized other within our society. In the end, we are reduced to mere voters who forget to become citizens. It is amazing that we can remain in a state of blissful ignorance about our disenfranchisement even as we push our desire to disenfranchise the demonised other to new frontiers.

We seem to be ready to suffer disempowerment while we feed ourselves on the poison of disempowering the other, who is minoritized, denationalised and set aside. We simply move through the motions of simulations of free citizens. Hence, the challenge is to step out of the cloud of delusion and take responsibility for the way democracy unfolds in our society. We Goans had a great gift of a plebiscite (Opinion Pool) to decide our destiny. It is perhaps the last plebiscite in our country.  People are no longer partners with the elected representatives in the project of development.  What is deemed as development is un-democratizingly pushed on the throats of the people. In a free India as well asGoa, we are not free to decide our very own destiny. We are willing to accept unfreedoms forced on us. Somehow we have become used to them thinking that some other sections of our society have greater unfreedoms. Thus, in Goa, our culture, land, natural resources, age-old institutions and life has become raw material for wealth creation for the non-Goanlobbies that have no link with our ethos. Hence, we need to give up being prey to the politics that transforms our legitimate difference into divisions and conflicts. We all are different. Our difference is our real strength. These differences need not divide us. Unfortunately, the lines of division are easily drawn from time to time. The North-South Divide, the Hindu-Christian divide and caste divide etc., haunt our society at different degree and intensity. 

It is time that we resist the politics that milks our differences into divisions and build a vote bank. Instead of becoming a passive resourceful vote bank for the politics that capitalize on divisions and fears of the other within our society, we are to become enlightened citizens who move towards a responsive politics that take the real issues of our people. Hence, we need to discern how non-issues based on religion, culture and nationalism are made to masquerade in the public space to divide us Goans to garner votes and notes.  The techniques of production of divisive dividends in our society needs to be carefully studied.  The time is come to let the unitive dividends to grow and bear fruits in our society. There are already issues that unify us Goans.  The declassification of coconut tree is one such issue that has brought all Goans together across religion and caste. It is time to capitalize on its momentum and reclaim our active role as citizens and not stay satisfied as mere voters. United we can bring a bright future for Goa and Goans. Hence, we need to give up the uncritical herd instinct and put on the critical and discerning political consciousness. 

The new political consciousness will liberate our desire from its enslavement to the herd instinct. It will free us from seeking satisfaction or libidinal pleasure inforcing democratic denials like benefits of primary education in English to all, particularly the poor. The denial of legitimate freedoms to the minoritized other within our society could have produced compassion but unfortunately, it produces a sense of settling a score with them.  Thus, our herd instinct produces a drive that generates conflicts amidst us while our material and cultural resources are being preyed upon by the very forces that divide us.  This means the herd instinct that embodies our desire to be led incarnates a desire to deny. It takes inordinate pleasure in denial of some legitimate benefits to the excluded other, our very own fellow Goan.  But the intoxication of denial keeps us distracted that we fail to discern the glaring sale of Goa and its cultural resources to lobbies and vested interests from outside. Hence, we have to abandon the herd instinct and rotate towards an all-embracing Goan consciousness that will enable us to seek the common good of all Goans.  The common good of all Goans will not de-territorialize any section of our people but embrace all Goans and move together in pursuit of a destiny that will bring about integral development of Goa.  Otherwise, nothing will save us from collective self-destruction.  Hence, it’s time to rise up for Goa and Goans. The commons like our land, water, mineral wealth, rivers, beaches, coconut, fields etc., are all on sale. We seem to have reached a breaking point which seems to urge us to act. The urgency pushes us to a situation that leaves us very few options. We have reached a point that stirs us to act or perish. Let’s give up the divisive herd instinct and embrace a positive and freely chosen unity of Goans for Goa. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao