Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Olympic Flame has Arrived

Yesterday, I joined the mass of people lining the A6 Glen Road to watch the Olympic Flame pass through Oadby. There was a good, well tempered crowd, as people lined the road several deep. Those on the official buses whipped up the crowds in their enthusiasm, like Butlins redcoats. And people were happy to respond. We'd taken this "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to look at a flame not substantially different from the one on the gas hob at home! But there was a buzz, an enthusiasm, and a sense of well-being.

Why do crowds produce that feeling? Sometimes, it's harmless, as it was yesterday, or as it is at Leicester Tigers Rugby or Leicester City football matches. On other occasions, it can be for good, like the crowds that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as Saviour. On yet others, like Hitler's rallies, or the crowd in Jerusalem crying: "crucify him!" regarding Jesus, or the London riots, the mood of the crowd can be used to encourage the greatest of evils.

Yesterday, as over the Jubilee celebrations, the crowd produced a feeling of cheerful well-being. But let's always beware of the danger that crowds’ emotions can produce.