‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ was one of three key messages created by Britain’s wartime propaganda department, the Ministry of Information, during the second World War. The now-ubiquitous ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ phrase was chosen for its clear message of ‘sober restraint’ and was coined sometime between June 27th and July 6th, 1939.
It was hardly used during the war. Around 2.4 million posters with the statement were printed which had to be scrapped, pulped, and turned into recycled paper to handle a severe shortage in Great Britain.
I have to wonder — Google couldn’t answer my question — how many people, since Keep Calm entered mainstream more than 2 decades ago, have committed violent acts or even just lost their temper while sporting a t-shirt or some other article of clothing emblazoned with that slogan.
Gandalf the Grey, in a confrontational moment says, “Tell me, friend, when did Saruman The Wise abandon reason for madness?”
There have been certain epochs in world history where reason has been abandoned for madness. We live in such a time now. In ways perhaps too varied and numerous to list, normally civil people have been whipped into such a frenzy that even in fairly conservative areas like Salt Lake City, Utah, cars have been overturned and set ablaze when rioters don’t agree with the way things are being done. What, exactly, does a flaming Fiat accomplish?
In a short piece written by Dr. Wendy James called The Psychology of Mob Mentality and Violence, she posits:
What we might not do as individuals we may do as part of a group. People may lose control of their usual inhibitions, as their mentality becomes that of the group.
Herd mentality. You can read about that here. (Not an affiliate link.)
Just over a year ago, I took my two oldest sons to Los Angeles for a Rocket League Championship Series. I saw little point in spending two days watching teens and young adults play a game that involves rocket-powered cars and a giant ball. I took a notebook with me as I was determined to sit and capture my wandering thoughts instead of “wasting my time” watching video games.
It only took about an hour for me to get sucked into the action. By mid-afternoon, I had…