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Group Mentality

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Scientists say that we evolved from fish (over millions of years of evolutionary time). Many fish remain together in large schools.  We, as human beings, still cluster together in groups (often, just as the fish do, out of fear or out of the desire to be associated with something more substantial). When one “belongs” to a sizable group, it allows one to identify oneself with (and “as”) something larger and (apparently) much more significant. One identifies with (and becomes) the group. “It is ‘my country'”… which is so vast, powerful, and beautiful… and, so they say, “It is what I am willing to die for.” The aforementioned sentence is a typical thing stated often in various countries, each thinking that their ways and systems are better and more righteous.

Similar things happen with political parties and organized religions. Each person identifies with that large organization (which takes him away from his obscure, unsung, little self). Or, similarly, one identifies with one’s images of God; one identifies, then, with images (that one is) of something powerful, large, and almighty. People identify with something larger that is (they believe) “protecting them,” keeping them safe in a world of full of disorder and chaos.  Some people — full of indoctrinated prejudices — exclusively identify with their race, culture, political group, or family units (apart from all others).  Often, unfortunately, it is mostly about their race, or their culture, or their political group, or their family… and the rest can (more or less) go to grass.  Few of us identify with the little, poor woman or man who labors all day in the vegetable fields under a very hot sun and who gets next to nothing for payment; few actually see a little, defenseless animal as a reflection of the whole.  

Many of our man-made groups, however, are usually not as safe or as necessary as we have been lead to believe. People clinging to individual countries and religions have created wars (against each other) for millennia. People have fought about their different projections of God — and about their little idealistic groups and separate systems — for eons.

Fortunately, there are those who see beyond mere boundaries and groups and who simply help all others.  This affection and care for all others goes beyond the realm of humans and extends into the beautiful realm of animals and plants.  Some help, with real action, not for mere monetary reward but, instead, because they have real love in their hearts for all (beyond what any herd-mentality dictates).  

Can real intelligence stand alone? Without being a hermit, can one not identify with — or belong to — anything (i.e., to anything that, through limited groups and systems, separates man)? It may be that real and lasting peace may come when we go beyond the limited groups, systems, and images that we — so robotically — identify with. The mind that is seriously and intelligently aware transcends separative borders and, hence, goes beyond conflict.  (This “going beyond borders” goes beyond mere external borders and, additionally, involves transcending internal borders, false separation, and internal mental conflict.)  Such a mind, if it is truly intelligent and pristine, is beyond belonging to separative groups that cause havoc, friction, and indifference in the world.  (Our inner conflicts and separations project out into society as outer conflicts and separations.)  Prudent emptiness (which is freedom beyond being lead) — beyond crude traditions and beyond images of the past — does not need to identify with anything. Humility and real innocence need not clutch at (and identify itself with) something “larger.”  Profound innocence is a vulnerability that does not merely turn to violence (i.e., violent ways) to achieve continuity.

 

 

Group of Aphids (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

Group of Aphids (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018

 

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My Blog primarily consists of close-up nature photos (that I've taken locally) combined with original holistic-truth oriented prose and/or poetry involving mindfulness/awareness. I love nature and I love understanding the whole (not merely the parts and the details). I'm a retired teacher of the multiply handicapped. I have a number of interesting hobbies, such as fossil collecting, sport-kite flying, 3D and 2D close-up photography, holography, and pets. Most of all, I am into holistic self-awareness, spontaneous insight, unconventional observation/direct perception, mindfulness, meditation, world peace, non-fragmentation, population control, vegetarianism, and green energy. To follow my unique Blog of "Nature Photos and Mindfulness Sayings" and for RSS feeds to my new posts, please access at: tom8pie.com (On my regular Blog posting pages, for additional information and to follow, simply click on the "tack icon" at the upper right corner... or, on my profile page, you can click on the "Thomas Peace" icon.) Stay mindful, understanding, and caring!...

30 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Groups are powerful things. I had a friend convert to Catholicism at the pilgrimage at Medjugorje, Bosnia when he saw the supernatural show there. He was an unlikely convert to anything. Many of the best minds in history broke out and innovated on their own. We need more of that. Evolving out of the herd would be a positive step

    Reply

    • I was raised Catholic when i was very young. That group, which extends from those who concocted a lot of excuses (including the Gospel of John) to go away from the direct and simple teachings (such as in the Gospel of Thomas, a gospel of simple sayings wherein Jesus suggests one stand alone and not follow the crowd and temple goers). The people who liked the G. of Thomas were all executed and the gospel was (by the violent hierarchical bishops) banned.

      Reply

  2. I agree with you Tom, I was part of a spiritual group that I identified with until I was faced with being forced to be like everyone else, it really opened my eyes. Soon after I left the group and began a year of introspection, mostly as a hermit to heal and rejuvenate my spirit, I relaxed and felt so at one with everything.

    I feel so much more connected to the world and myself on my own. As I went through that period of re-connection, I realized how much of myself I had given away and hidden to fit in to be liked, to please others. When the spiritual leader who I was assisting began pointing out all of my faults according to her version of who I should be, I knew then that I would never be a part of a group again.

    Reply

    • Good for you, Laura. Unfortunately, there are too many out there with a herd mentality. (Read what i wrote to Jim above). Nothing significant occurred to me until i stood alone and figured things out for myself. It’s amazing how far one can go and the immeasurable beauty one can discover and unfold with if one just perceives without the baggage of others.
      Stay perceptive and caring! 🙂

      Reply

      • I will, I am reblogging this wonderful piece. This is one of my favorite quotes by Steve Jobs:

        Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Steve Jobs

  3. Pingback: Group Mentality | Success Inspirers World

  4. Nice post. I think it is natural that we almost all seek like-minded people and have a need to be accepted by someone else…but not at the expense of individuality or your own values. To use your example, if we ditched organised religion tomorrow, I have a feeling the world might become a better place…

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  5. Yes! 🙂 It would be magical if i could meet like-minded people and talk with them like i used to. However, Professor David Bohm is now deceased. People in our rural area are all into very traditional things (ruts) and discussing seriously with them is not possible. At least online i can share and discuss with more open people. I like that John Lennon (i miss him) song:

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Reply

  6. That was a great post to read. Having been brought up as a Pentecostal Christian but having for various reasons pulled away from the herd, it really spoke to me. I once read something that said ‘beware the insanity of large groups’ and i​ know this can be true. Thanks for this post.

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  7. doesn’t the group give a feeling of protection and not being alone ? I think that’s why animals are in groups quite often. Have a nice day, regards Mitza

    Reply

  8. There are a lot of solitary animals too. Certain groups, like bees, function socially with great success! We are not suggesting that all groups are bad, just those that divide man from man. Medical groups, if they don’t exploit people for their $, for instance, are wonderful. Hoping your week is great, Mitza! 🙂

    Reply

  9. An Interesting post – i have thought along somewhat similar lines for a while now.

    Each of us faces a fundamental dilemma between not wanting to be alone in the universe – unique and without any ‘equals’ to share thought and feelings with – and not wanting to become a faceless member of a large societal group in which all members are expected to conform to the mainstream and potentially lose their ‘individuality’ for the sake of the greater good of all.

    The long searched for Utopia where all are free to think and do as they wish while being completely free of jealousies, hatred and wars of dispute i fear is destined to remain only a fantasy for mankind as we do not have the capacity yet (and may never?) to permit all others the freedoms we desire for ourselves.

    While mankind lives in divided communities and nations and is being raised within them, being indoctrinated in their ways from birth, it is most unlikely we will ever evolve the intelligence you describe in sufficient numbers for it to become the norm in any society.

    Still that does not mean any individual cannot try – and desire to meet similar minded beings! 😉

    Thanks for the visit and like (Happy Quokka)!

    P.S I’m amazed at the depth of field on your fantastic second swallowtail pic. Do you have the lens/aperture info handy?

    Reply

    • Yes, we can still live in society and, yet, transcend beyond all the madness. Most, it seems, unfortunately, do not (and will not) really care to change.
      The sun is quite alone but manages to shine brightly.
      Meeting similarly minded beings would be wonderful! 🙂
      We have to be careful… because, regarding this, “trying” may largely be an extension of the quagmire we are in.
      (The pic was taken a long time ago with an old Fujifilm FinePix camera that is no longer in production.)

      Reply

      • (I still have my 9 year old Fuji Finepix s1000fd but recently upgraded to a Nikon B700) 😉

        I agree we CAN – but mostly don’t make the effort, or have the desire to transcend above our level of compliance to the group norms.

        I would disagree that the ASun is alone though – it is one of trillions. It simply ‘knows’ better than to give up its own safe space to readily in favour of the companionship of it’s peers and thus finds it easier to retain it’s individuality and it’s captive and subservient audience. 😉

  10. When i wrote about the sun, the solar system and the other stars were considered, but i felt about it much like you do. 🙂

    “Mostpeople” don’t passionately care about the whole; “mostpeople” are overflowing with the limited symbols (i.e., ideas) of others.

    Sometimes those older cameras can do magic. Don’t throw it away! 🙂

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  11. There is a lot to think about here. I like your thoughts about going beyond borders. Travel is such a great way to open one’s mind. And travel can be many forms. I watch several travel programs to experience people and places I will never personally visit. And reading books is another way.

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  12. Travel to distant places would be nice if we had clean energy means to do it with. Currently, we do not. Our jets use nasty fossil fuels and cruise ships use rotten diesel. This beautiful earth is suffering enough from the abuse of man. Of course, watching television and reading books is better. It is very easy to “overabuse” the earth and be mindless. All of us can do better.

    In this world that is a whole, the only borders that exist are the concoctions of the human mind.

    Thank you for replying. 🙂

    Reply

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