(Clearwisdom.net) Many people think that "following the crowd" is a natural psychological reaction. Therefore we often call it the "the following the crowd mentality." In reality, "following the crowd" is not only a preconceived notion; it is also a deviated notion. It often controls the behavior of people. It makes people become overly emotional. It makes people lose their abilities to distinguish right from wrong as well as the courage to stand up for what is righteous. Some people make mistakes and even commit crimes because they were controlled by this postnatally acquired notion

A classmate of mine at graduate school was assigned to a position at the Office of Political Consulting Conferences in a certain city. Shortly after that, she called me and said emotionally, "Working in a place like this, it is virtually impossible for me not to become a corrupt official even if I do not want to become one." I asked her why she felt that way. She said, "Everyone in the office is a corrupt official. If I do not do it too my coworkers will suspect that I am a whistleblower and will make my life difficult. I have no choice but to go with the flow." A physician once told me, "I do not think it is right for a physician to accept bribes from patients. But all the other doctors do it. If I do not do the same thing and they get in trouble someday, they will think that I am the one who has gotten them into trouble." In the so-called "million signature petition drive" against Falun Gong, launched by Jiang Zemin and his followers, some people originally did not want to sign their names on the "petition." But they looked around and saw that other people were signing it, and decided to follow suit. The mentality of "following the crowd" caused them to join the evil forces and commit bad deeds themselves.

Among cultivators, those who allow themselves to be controlled by the notion of "following the crowd" are the ones who behave as Teacher describer, "the average person who hears the Tao." In Zhuan Falun, Teacher used the words of Lao Zi to describe this type of person, "When an average person hears it, this person will practice it on and off." To this type of person, it is all right to continue cultivating, and it is also all right to quit. When they saw that all the other people around them were cultivating, they decided to follow. When they saw that some people had given up their cultivation, they decided to stop as well.

In the midst of Fa-rectification, the "following the crowd" mentality manifests itself among practitioners mainly as not taking the initiative in participating in Fa-rectification activities: all the time some practitioners watch what other practitioners do, follow other practitioners in everything they do, and never actively do things they should do on their own. I have become deeply enlightened to one thing: among everyday people, many degenerated things hide behind the notion of "following the crowd," including the inability to distinguish right from wrong, or righteousness from evil, the lack of courage to take personal responsibility and stand up for the truth, and the inability to take charge of one's own future. For a cultivator, hidden behind the notion of "following the crowd" are major omissions that one has to break through and eliminate, including weakness in one's Main Consciousness, the lack of honor and virtue in one's heart, and the lack of courage to take responsibility for all righteous elements in the entire cosmos. As a matter of fact, Teacher has already explained this very clearly in his lectures. "One thought can determine whether you make it through. Whether you can step forward to validate the Fa is a test that can't be passed just by following the crowd and its momentum. Some people have thought that they'd wait on Tiananmen Square, and figured that "if everyone steps out of the crowd, then I'll step out." When they don't see many practitioners stepping out, they stroll around and then head back. This is because when everyone steps out, it's that momentum that brings you out--you aren't stepping forward as a result of letting go of life and death deep down within. Cultivation is an individual matter, and following the crowd won't do it. Each person's improvement must be well-grounded." (from "Lecture on the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Conference.")

September 22, 2001

(A Reprint from PureInsight Net)