The Blindness of We – Group Mind

There have been a number of high profile examples of “The Blindness of We” of late. A classic example is the let’s have jolly good piss up 1980s wine bar lads’ culture at #10 Downing Street. They the plebs will understand that we deserve a good piss up, even though they can’t visit their dying relatives. Let’s joke about that little filly Angela Rayner crossing and uncrossing her legs to get Boris’ attention.

The mores {sic} of the group did not see a problem with this behaviour, Group Mind said it was dandy. The norms of the group were blind to how this looks to outside observers.

There is the myopia associated with, “It is OK for us to bomb the shit out of Iraq but not OK for Putin to bomb, white people and not brown bearded ones. If we impose sanctions, it would be unfair if Putin retaliates.” What is he supposed to do? Behave like a good nigger and take his whipping?

I think it fair to comment that I have an understanding of group dynamics and group mind. I have been facilitating small group learning on and off for more than a quarter of a century. I have been heavily involved in the formation of a New Age group and I have directed around ten large scale multi day events with three or more small groups embedded into the larger group.

As a rule of thumb where group mind exists, it is blind to opinions outside the group. It simply refuses to see or hear them. The culture of a groups gets embedded and entrenched. In fact, groups can select only those new members who resonate with group mind and so by this selection the group view become ever less diverse, more herd like and stagnant. There is no new blood, so to speak. New views are not welcome. “That is not how WE do things old boy…”

There is an ignorance of group prejudice and a lack of awareness of dogmatic and Pavlovian reaction.

Esoterically this is a hangover of the sixth ray of idealism and devotion. OUR imagined ideals are best, WE are devoted to them, and YOU are mistaken. WE know best.

In the past the British sought to colonialise for profit and imagined that they were doing, the largely brown people, a favour. Blind.

To give a trite example. Once when I was doing a course at the Babraham Institute, a part of Cambridge University. I asked the participants on the course to introduce themselves and say something about themselves. Every single one of them started with “I am in the group of Prof.  X”. Blind. The identity of the larger group was about to whose research group they belonged. It meant nothing to me, I did not know who these famous big cheeses were.

This group was still in the stage known as Ritual Sniffing. Like when you go to university it is all about subject and A level results.

The human resources people were having problems between the academics and the staff. The academics wanted the staff to get some training. It was my opinion that the cause of most of the problems came from the academics. I offered the HR people to do a course for the academics. They, the academics, declined. They did not see that they were a major contributor to the problem. “We are dandy, it is THEY {the support staff} who are the problem. They need training!”

This “blindness of we” exists a little bit here, not in a malicious sense. Because the French are, in my opinion, much more group oriented everybody knows the rhythm. It is almost subconscious. When a stranger pops up, if the group has discussed amongst itself, it is happy that the discussion has been had but forgets to tell the person who is not integrated into the group.  And they also wait around for everybody to arrive and there are departure rituals.

In the posts yesterday, one of my dreams suggested that I am a three pronged philosophical nagal. I’ll wager that to the vast majority of people that means nothing. It is outside their knowledge base. In a few circles this is a significant statement. Yet if I was to mention it say to some of my former colleagues, they would be blind to its significance and probably unwilling to countenance changing their view. WE are not interested in that because it does not help us gain more research funding.

People who insist on endless key performance indicators are blind to the fact that these can have a highly detrimental effect on the quality of life. “This is how WE do things around here….”

Having queued this up:

Have you ever been on the receiving end of “The Blindness of We”?

Have you ever inflicted your own “Blindness of We” onto others?

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