Bill Buford on Crowds

While Bill Buford’s Among the Thugs specifically examines the nature of the football mobs, it offers us a much broader understanding of human nature: The history of the behavior of the crowds is a history of fear, of being a victim, of losing property, of a terror so powerful that it needs a name, to be accounted for, distorted into intelligibility, made safe. (184)

The violence, as I always read the next day, had been the work of outsiders, anarchists and agitators. But these thousands were not us. (189)

Occupy Wall Street, Zuccotti Park, NYC, 2010

This line, this boundary, I am compelled, exhilarated, by what I find on the other side. I know no experience greater. (193)

I am attracted to the moment when consciousness ceases, the moments of survival, of animal density, of violence, when there is no multiplicity, no potential for different levels of thought. There is only one, the present in its absoluteness. (205)