People are scared of being stupid
So here is a thought: people are scared of being stupid. I guess we all kind of know that. Even people who claim to be "free-spirited" or who affect an attitude of disregard for the opinions of those around them do so with a sense of self-awareness that undermines their critical point: "that we should not be controlled by our perception of the perceptions of the people we know."
Let's consider collaborative action. Many people look at videos of flash mobs, protests, group action and think of a coming storm. They are scared of the "mob mentality." They are scared that the "sheeple," led by some illogical tyrant will engage in activity that is dangerous, detrimental, or threatens their well being. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes this is the only way to change the flow of another group of "sheeple" doing something more dangerous or detrimental. And, as any student of history knows they are right to question, because, sometimes it's scary.
However, as individuals we do have the ability to analyze the group we are about to join and decide if we think we are in danger of joining a tyrannical mob or a force for good. We don't always make the right decisions, but to each their own, as long as no one gets hurt. :)
So, let's step away from that for a minute, and think again about the individual. Because sure, the mob exists, but is 1000 people dancing in a park really a mob (in the sense described above), or is it indicative of something else? My suggestion here is that the group is required for each individual to be themselves. Within that group of dancers (see second video), worrying not about the leader - or the first follower, what we are really seeing is a group of people each expressing their individuality. They are doing so because, in this moment, they are protected. As part of a group of dancing masses, the framework is minimal: "Stand on this hill and dance." How they dance, how long they dance - all other aspects are left to the individual.
So here is my point, we all know that play, joy, and fun are not only important, they are essential to a happier, healthier, more open, trusting, loving society. We also know that getting people together to do stuff, talk, share in their humanity opens lives and minds and all of that.
There is a real kind of fun in letting go of our inhibitions (as anyone who has had imbibed alcohol knows well). Furthermore, you don't have to be on drugs or drunk to let go of your inhibitions; really you just need a framework within which to do it. The group acts as that framework, and that protection.
Just some thoughts. I have them.