Eric Hobsbawm

Next to sex, the activity combining bodily experience and intense emotion to the highest degree is the participation in a mass demonstration at a time of great public exaltation. Unlike sex, which is essentially individual, it is by its nature collective, and unlike the sexual climax, at any rate for men, it can be prolonged for hours. On the other hand, like sex it implies some physical action—marching, chanting slogans, singing—through which the merger of the individual in the mass, which is the essence of the collective experience, finds expression. […] When, in British isolation two years later, I reflected on the basis of my communism, this sense of ‘mass ecstasy’ (Massenekstase, for I wrote my diary in German) was one of the five components of it—together with pity for the exploited, the aesthetic appeal of a perfect and comprehensive intellectual system, ‘’dialectical materialism’, a little bit of the Blakean vision of the new Jerusalem and a good deal of intellectual anti-philistinism.

Eric Hobsbawm, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life, New York, 2002, pp. 73-74