It reminds me of an episode on 'brain games' where they talked about someone just waiting at the beginning of a line (queue) and as this person stood there, people just lined up behind the person. I think it was a 'he'. But it'd be interesting to know how much attractiveness and gender played a part in this. Was there a level of authority that made people join the line? (About the 15min mark where they talk about informational social influence. Indeed me finding a link to convince you, the reader..., see more than one person said so. Or if you don't believe me, take it up with them.)
Perhaps the idea has to develop a life beyond itself. For instance the story of the people who like the idea, or the story of people who hate an idea or the person spruiking it. For example, especially the US, politicizing an idea. Like the idea of wearing a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. Those who don't want to wear a mask tell stories about the idea of wearing a mask like: it's what the people on the left do, it is interfering with their freedom, yada yada... In other words, a story completely unrelated to the idea of wearing mask for the health benefit of others.
I recently had a debate with a guy about Ayn Rand. Was she to blame for libertarianism? Or was she just the most visible person to blame. Of course I believe that if people can blame a woman, they will. The idea of libertarianism was around before Ayn Rand, and I believe it 'started' when the idea was first dubbed 'laissez faire' and probably was the main force behind the rolling revolutions. The person I debated with blamed Ayn Rand for capitalism in the end, which was so funny that I just left the conversation.
Most ideas get reinvented and renamed something new, and they take off again.
One of the links based on informational social influence said 'When we do not know how to behave, we copy other people.'
And this is the black and white of belonging. Even within that society, with our layers of belonging, we may not have all the connections we need to genuinely belong. The connections we need with others, with our family, the greater context is where do we belong. I think this is the main appeal of churches, it gives a group of people a place to belong beyond family. But churches aren't the only things that bring strangers together, there are book clubs, coffee shops, night clubs, schools, sports, work, ideas...
Most of what we do is following the herd, whether it is how you think about food, politics, who do you belong with, who do you identify with, how do you feel about music, art, X... all these ways we identify with the world. You think you may have no opinion, but what is more likely true is that you have a herd opinion.
You may think you think independently, but what does that mean? The words you use to think your thoughts were taught to you by others, pretty much every aspect of you that makes you human has been instilled in you by society. To be truly independent would require you to never have human contact and that would mean being separated probably at birth. You would have no language, which means no way to express your ideas and needs to yourself and you would probably die, because you wouldn't have been taught about germs and sewerage and you'd have no medicine. Our road rules allow us to navigate the roads to where we are going with minimal interference.
You might think it is so cool to walk your own path, but it does lead to loneliness, and you might think that is so creative but it can be very lonely being alone all the time. The bottom line is we all need each other. We are all connected, everything is connected. There is nothing that exists in isolation, not even your thoughts or your thought experiments.