Different Perspectives and Mental Blind spots.

I’ll make a general statement. Have a think about it and see if you agree with it or not.

By and large people are completely unaware as to the extent of their lack of self-awareness.

What do you reckon?

Things can be funny or not depending on where you view them from. What is deemed funny AND socially acceptable changes with time. Many of the TV programmes I grew up with are now laden with taboo materials. For example, you can’t say the N word, many of my erstwhile Rastafarian acquaintances break this rule on an hourly basis.  Does this trend mean than in time the name Nigel will be banned? Will the surname Blanco get outlawed? Soon it will only be the gingers we are allowed to mock.

What is funny can pivot depending upon whom the joke is. This is a variable beast.

People within cliques can develop their own sense of “humour” which does not transfer well out of the clique. Others can find this “humour” utterly abhorrent. People in laddish groups say some weird shit which they get upset about if you said it about their sister, wife, or mother. There is a mental blind spot as to who is “fair game” for humour.

I know for a fact that people have laughed about me behind my back. Not one of them has had the balls to do it to my face. If they did, “do you like hospital menus?”, I might inquire. Something might be funny in the safety of a gang or clique, but it loses its humour when face to face with a 95kg ex-martial artist. So, humour depends to an extent on personnel and location.

I’ll wager that if someone was laughing about something which I did not find funny, all I would have to do is give them a Paddington-stare. Laughter would turn nervous.

Smug elitist people find things amongst themselves pertaining to the plebs, amusing. I have heard it said that Boris is talking about “chain gangs” for the yobs. Foxtrot Foxtrot Sierra. Where does he find references like that? What century, which decade is he in? What is funny among the Bullingdon club, will not wash down the Miner’s Welfare Hall or at the Jamaican Pentecostalist Church.

People gob off and say all kinds of shit which they think funny, it might be entre-eux but it does not wash outside of clique-mind.

I’ll make a further general statement. What do you reckon?

Cliques prone to group mind are even less aware of the extent of their lack of self-awareness than the average individual.

That is because WE are always and irrevocably right whereas you and everybody else are wrong and patently so. After all we congregate on Olympus.

Groups which bio-accumulate people of similar personalities and ways of thinking never have anyone within the group question clique-think so they became every more convinced of their infallibility. It never occurs to them that the lack of diversity is a very real weakness. They can become myopic and proud of it.

I’ll end with a question.

Have you ever laughed at something in the safety of your like-minded chums that you would never do when surrounded by people you do not know well?

Do you believe that this is a good quality of yours?

Group Mind and External Perspectives

I’ll preface this by saying I have acted as a course director and small group facilitator regarding teamworking on numerous occasions. In the latter case I have taken well over a dozen small groups of around 9 people through the stages of group formation from ritual sniffing through storming and norming and towards performing. This has been done over a period of up to five days in an intensive manner. In the case of being a course director I have observed group dynamics of up to fifty people over a period of four days. I have designed course materials so as to accelerate the group dynamics. I have held small group tutorials and been responsible for the tutorial system of an entire academic department. I have also “led” a group of people, working with the Toltec teachings for a period of ~ two years.

Based on this I think it fair and probably accurate to state that I have a better grasp of group dynamics that your average erstwhile science academic. Though many scientists might fail to acknowledge that there is any substance to this kind of thing because it cannot be measured with a laser or a detector.

What is striking is that ALL groups develop what I call GROUP MIND. This arises out of the norming process where what is “acceptable” within the group becomes somewhat settled. This group mind metaphorically circles the wagons and defends its norms. It does not and will not accept external perspectives because group mind has a tendency to assume internal omniscience. Norming tends to stop the evolution of a group, or a team. If one wishes to facilitate further development one has to challenge and break the norming cycle which tends toward the lowest common denominator in most cases. If the group becomes too settled it stagnates. The easiest way to facilitate evolution is to become the sacrifice or the enemy. Temporarily the group shifts its focus from being pals and norming, to attack and defence. Nevertheless, it is nigh on impossible to get GROUP MIND to accept any external perspective which strays from or differs even slightly from the pseudo-consensual group norms. Group mind is nearly always more closed than individual mind. Group mind nearly always shoots the messenger. For example, they crucified Jesus, they shot Martin Luther King.

The weird thing is group mind thinks itself justified in so doing!!

Until I left academia, I was unaware of how very arrogant and self-absorbed much of it is. I did not realise how very pompous my colleagues and I were. I had hints because I had interacted with industry. Later I interacted with Oxbridge and noted they assumed I would be grateful for the blessing, the manna from on high. {Hey man I went to the RI which kind of trumps that.}

And now we have a saga of entitlement playing out once again in UK government. A prime minister who imagines himself a statesman is behaving in a very non statesman like manner. His colleague who severely lacks judgement has been caught close to having a full knee trembler on camera and he accepts his apology. Who knows there may be some footage of it up on Pornhub soon? Perhaps he cannot sack his colleague because he too was having it off away whilst in office and giving out contracts. Boys will be boys and have someone play with their toys. This cronyism pervades British life. It is jobs for the boys and girls, the pals. Group mind says it is OK to have an affair so long as you say sorry. If you point out this cronyism and verging on corruption you will be “shot”.

Bah it was just a detail it is not important in the big picture. He said sorry so that is all OK.

There is always a thin end of the wedge, often a threshold after which the slippery slope beckons…

Almost Inconceivable

Partially because of a dream and partially because of an interaction I am going to delve into this a little today.

I’ll start with something of a hypothesis.

“If someone changes radically in their orientation towards life it is very difficult for others to accept or believe in that degree of change.”

I base this on my own personal experience, people tend to see one through the old lens which they have constructed for you and through the lens of their group-mind imagining that one shares a considerable fraction of that group mind. Perhaps they find it difficult to conceive that one does not share similar motives and motivations.

To give a simple example, back when I first started doing deep voice chanting, my family rather than inquiring as to what was going on preferred to write it off as me simply being weird. They sought to treat me as the piss-artist rugby player of old rather than countenance that I was changing radically.

If my former career, gaining large amounts of research grant funding, publishing articles is high impact factor journals, getting invites to conferences, getting a tenured chair at a prestigious university and maybe finally becoming a fellow of the royal society, were all symbols of success and kudos. It is almost inconceivable that someone from such a go-getter background as this would resign a job willingly and go into what was tantamount to unemployment. It is a DNC, a does not compute.

The whole basis of promotion in such a system is based around some “agreed” goals, targets and milestones. People therein are goal oriented. It is almost inconceivable for a goal-oriented person that anyone might not be goal oriented in any way whatsoever.

For people who are materialistic a decent salary is a target, a measure of success. And in the UK the housing ladder is an obsession. To only want enough to get by, is an anathema.

Way back I genuinely was involved in some very high technology stuff, fancy femtosecond lasers, semiconductor clean rooms and ultra-high vacuum, I even did some ab inito quantum chemical calculations. It is hard, almost inconceivable, that someone with near a decade left on the clock, so to speak, would swap that life for gardening, DIY and cooking in a very rural location. It would be difficult for people to get their head around. There might be some weird idea that I would return from gardening leave to the fold like some prodigal. It is possible that people might imagine that I am running in submarine mode.

Someone suggested that I might like to be on an advisory board, I said that this wasn’t necessary they could ask me anything they want or send me stuff to comment on for free. I said that I do not like contracts and would much rather do things informally. In one world people are expected to pay for things and  recompense is seen as a motivator. But if I say I will do it for free, I mean exactly that. It is almost inconceivable in our grasping world. I expect nothing in return.

If people are attached say to money, family, house, car and job, the notion on non-attachment is beyond comprehension. There are degrees of non-attachment or rather weaking levels of attachment. To be completely non-attached is beyond mind, for the vast majority of people. I phrased this deliberately in this manner. The tendency would be to think, “he says he is not attached but what he really means is he is not strongly attached”. The mind cannot or will not accept the concept of non-attachment as a conceivable reality, so it fudges it.

If you like attention, respect, power and kudos it is difficult to adopt the mindset of a quasi-hermit. People cannot live like that, surely.  Especially if previously, they had some respect, a little power and a degree of kudos. Luckily here nobody knows anything much of my background we are just les anglais.

The simple fact that I do not have a personal mobile ‘phone, in this day and age, is hard to believe on one level and more than a little eccentric on another. You should see the reaction of the, often young, salespeople when they are trying to sell you a ‘phone when one informs them of how few calls and how little data one uses. There is no plan available which goes low enough to match. The mobile ‘phone companies cannot conceive of such low usage.

I have changed my orientation towards life radically…I know this but only I am fully aware of the extent of that change.

I’ll wager for a whole bunch of people it is a DNC.

Here is an interesting question:

What for you is almost inconceivable?

The Astounding Omniscience of They

If you want to be free, then you will need to think for yourself and then learn to trust that and what your heart tells you.

You many need to do this against a backdrop of the astounding omniscience of they. This means that you might be at the sharp end of group opinion. It is not a comfortable place.

This relates to the “Making Plans for Nigel” theme, a favourite theme of mine. Other people gather together and make plans for what to do with Nigel. They imagine that if they present Nigel with a fait accompli, he will be happy and go along with it. Of course, they have not consulted Nigel whilst they are making plans for him, so it is by way of an intrigue. He has been excluded and thereby plotted upon. This never occurs to them, it lies outside their astounding omniscience.

Group mind deems itself wise and all-knowing, this is because like-minded people share a similar approach. Because there is little dissent within a homogeneous group, it imagines that consensual accuracy is in fact wide ranging and accurate. A little careful thought suggests that homogeneous groups are limited to the conceptual abilities to be found within their homogeneity. Although they may imagine themselves capable of thinking outside the box, the box is pretty small to start off with. So even if they manage to get outside the box it is still close to the box.

There is something comforting about the consensus of a group. Because of that it deems itself to be righter. From within the group it seems OK to recruit into it or inflict opinion upon those outside it. They imagine themselves attractive and to have a gravitational pull.

If you want to be free, then you have to be mindful of this draw of group-mind. It can be difficult to maintain clarity in the light of peer pressure. Group-mind is volatile and can turn in an instant, sometimes on others. And group-mind once moving has more momentum, thereby it is difficult to stop or resist. It takes some character to not get caught up in group-mind. That primitive urge to belong to some tribe or other is strong. External people will always consult the tribe before the individual. This means that the astounding omniscience of they, is the more widely accepted. They say a lot of things.

If you want to be free, then you will need to think for yourself and then learn to trust that and what your heart tells you.

Problems Arising From Group Mind

Diseases connected with Group Conditions

We can only briefly touch upon this theme, owing to the fact that group work (esoterically understood) is relatively new, and because the individual, working at this time in a group, is scarcely affected at all by these factors, owing to his relatively partial integration. I refer here to his integration in the group. People are still so insulated in their personalities that they are shut off, in many cases, from group stimulation, group effects and group impulses. It is only as they become decentralized and, therefore, more easily responsive to the group ideas, the group idealism, and to the group aura (with its outbreathing and its inbreathing and its group livingness) that they can and do succumb to those difficulties which group life imposes. Today it is the central figure in the group life, the dominant personality or soul, who is the one to whom the group life and the group thought turns, with all the consequences of such turning. It is this person, upon whom the group life pivots (if I may use such a term), who is the group victim and it is he who pays the price of any group weakness. The expression of the group attitude finds its outlet in him and he is, at times, practically “killed” by the group. No group today is a perfect group. They are in the experimental stage and are largely composed of a few Aquarians, many Pisceans and a number of people who are in a transition stage between these two. The leader or leaders of the new groups are usually of as pure a type of the new age or Aquarian character as is possible or available at this time. This accounts for the failure of the group, as a rule, either to understand the leader or to cooperate with the new ideals as is desired. The leader is a pioneer in a new field of thought and of intention and, therefore, suffers the penalties of his daring and of his spirit of enterprise.

It is not my intention to deal here with group difficulties, for that is not my theme. I am considering the difficulties (amounting often to physical disease) and the problems of the individual who is sensitive to group pressures and group life – a very different thing to the usual problems of the mystics of the past. These can only be studied and investigated today by a consideration of the lives, physical condition, problems, difficulties and deaths of group leaders. I would call this definitely to your attention. The group members – little as they may like to recognize this fact – are not as yet prone to suffer much from the group life, the group emanation and the group energy for they are not yet sufficiently integrated into the group.

The problem we are considering falls into two major categories and as I seek to deal with them I realize that there is relatively little that I can say. The next century will see the problems more defined and the difficulties more clearly delineated. They are:

 

  • Those arising as a result of the directed thought of the group. On this I can say something.
  • Diseases, connected with the respiratory tract. On these I can say but little.

 

Let us, therefore, look at these problems. We shall have to study the first from the angle of the one most affected by them – the leader or focal point of the group. These same problems may also affect the three or four people who, with the group leader and in collaboration with him, direct the group policies.

Diseases and Problems evoked by Directed Group Thought

It will be obvious to you that the first and most important of these difficulties will be those arising from group criticism, either voiced or strongly felt. This criticism can be based on many things, but is usually rooted in jealousy, thwarted ambition, or pride of individual intellect. Each member of any group, particularly those in the immediate circle of the leader or leaders, is prone to sit in judgment. The responsibility is not theirs; they know not the problems as they truly exist and criticism is, therefore, easy. It should here be remembered that criticism is a virulent poison. It damages in every case eventually the one who criticizes – owing to the fact of voiced direction – it hurts still more the one who is criticized. Where there is purity of motive, true love and a large measure of detachment, the subtler bodies of the one who is under attack may remain immune but the physical effects will be definite and where there is any physical weakness or limitation there will be found the localization of the projected poison.

Unvoiced criticism is very dangerous for it is powerfully focused and strongly, though not individually directed; it issues continuously and as a steady stream, sent forth on the wings of jealousy, ambition, pride in a personal grasp of a supposed situation and a belief that the one who criticizes is in a position to understand correctly and could – given right opportunity – take right action. Where the criticism is voiced and expressed in words, it is consequently strengthened by the cooperation of those influenced by the criticism and the consequences of this group-directed thought may result in the physical undoing, and disruption of the physical body of the leader or leaders. This may be a new thought to some and should cause many in the New Age groups to arrest their thoughts and so release their leaders from the disastrous impact of their criticism.

I refer not here to hate, though that is often present, either consciously or unconsciously, but simply to the “sitting in judgment” and to the idle critical gossip which seems necessary to the average group member. It is like the very breath of death and it can not only kill the leader through accumulated poison and distress but it can also kill the group life and render abortive the efforts which could, if given cooperation and time to develop, prove constructive agencies through which the Hierarchy might work.

From every side and in every group there streams in on the group leader directed criticism, poisonous thoughts, untrue formulated ideas, idle gossip of a destructive kind, the imputation of motives, the unspoken jealousies and hates, the frustrated ambitions of group members, their resentments and their unsatisfied desires for prominence or for recognition by the leader or leaders, their desires to see the leader superseded by themselves or by someone else and many other forms of selfishness and mental pride. These produce results in the physical bodies of the leader or leaders and often in the emotional bodies. The responsibility of the group member is, therefore, great and it is one which they seldom recognize or shoulder. It is hard for them to appreciate the dire effects when one person is the target for group criticism and when the directed thought of a number of persons is focused on one or two individuals.

The more highly evolved the group leader, the greater the pain and suffering. First ray people who have naturally a “technique of isolation” suffer less than many for they know how to shut off these directed streams of force and how to deflect them and – when they are not deeply spiritual people – they can return them to their originators and thus wreak havoc in their lives. Second ray persons do not and cannot work this way. They are naturally absorbers and magnetically attract all that is in their environment which is directed towards them. That is why Christ paid the penalty of death. He was killed, not only by His enemies, but also by His so-called friends.

You might here ask. What can a leader or a group of leaders do in these unfortunately normal and usual circumstances? Nothing, but continue in the work; retreat within themselves; speak the truth with love when occasion occurs; refuse to become bitter over the pain which the group occasions and wait until the group members learn the lessons of cooperation, of silence, of loving appreciation and a wise realization and understanding of the problems with which all group leaders are faced in these difficult and individualistic days. That time will come.

Then there is the reverse of this problem and one that must be faced by many group leaders. In this reverse situation, the leader is overcome and (if I might use such a phrase)is “smothered” by the devotion of certain of the group members. Group leaders can be almost annihilated by the personality love of people. But this is not of such a poisonous nature as the difficulties above referred to, for – though it is handicapping and leads to many forms of difficulty, misunderstanding and group reaction – it is along the line of love and not of separation and hate. It produces what is esoterically called “the crippling of the one who seeks to serve and the binding of his hands and feet.”

One other difficulty I will touch upon for it is important in so far that it is a group activity, carried forward as a whole and is not the act of one individual or a small handful of individuals within the group. I refer to the way in which at this time a group drains the life of its leader or leaders. The umbilical cord (speaking symbolically) is seldom cut between the leader and the group. That was the major mistake of the groups in the Piscean age. Always they remained attached to the leader or – when aroused to hate or dislike – they violently disrupted the tie and severed the relationship, causing much distress and unnecessary suffering to the group as well as to the leader. In the New Age the cord will be cut early in the life of the group but the leader or group of leaders will remain for a long time (as does the mother of a child) the guiding inspiration, the loving protecting force and the source of instruction and of teaching. When this is the case, the group can proceed upon its way and live its life as a self-directing agent even when the leader passes over to the other side or there is a change in leadership for some good reason or other.

According to the general flow of group life and activity so will be the effect – emotional and physical – upon any sensitive group member; the more frequent the physical contact between the group members the more definite will be the group problems and difficulties, however. Groups in the New Age will be held together by a subjective link and not so much by the emotional reaction induced by outer contact. I would ask you to ponder carefully upon this last paragraph for it holds the clue to the successful working of the new groups. It is from group life and group atmosphere that much infection arises, leading to difficulties of a physical nature. Disease is largely of group origin and the mystics and sensitive of the world most easily succumb. In these early stages of true group work, the difficulties which arise from group contacts are frequently of a purely physiological nature and are not so deep seated as those with which we have earlier been dealing. This is a point to be remembered. Physical trouble and disease is not of so serious a nature as psychological.

——————–

Excerpted from:

Esoteric Psychology II – Chapter II – The Ray of Personality – Problems of Disciples and Mystics

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

The Problem of Clone-think

When many people of roughly similar mentality get together, they tend to attract others of similar mentality. What results is an aggregate of people who start to exhibit Clone-think. The cloning isn’t perfect but all diversity in thinking tends to fade. The problem is that clone-think is self-reinforcing, because there is no diversity of view clone-think deems itself inviolably accurate. It doesn’t occur that clone-think is a property of institutionalisation. Everyone who does not have clone-think is simply wrong and badly so.

It is nigh on impossible to get through to the mind of anyone who is caught and held fast in clone-think. The membrane surrounding clone-think is not permeable and the aggregate of clones has a high mass and therefore inertia. Because of this, if it is moving in one direction it has terrific momentum and cannot be deflected from its “chosen” course. Clone-think is right and that is the end of that! How dare you question the unfailing omniscience of clone-think!

Clone-think is property of group mind.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever encountered clone-think?

Am I a part of a group that may have this problem of clone-think?

How would I know?

Memento Mori

From time to time groups of people turn on a single individual in a nasty way and make them prey for the hunt. The group may not understand how exactly that came to pass.

—————————————————

 

I can still smell

That infectious cordite

As we hunted you

With our whispers

 

As we boldly corralled

And chased

And hounded

With our magazine of justifications

 

And as you ran

So erythrocyte scented

The mantelpiece called out

Of its gaping vacuum

 

How proud we were

At your stumble

Your quiver

And your fall

 

What brave

How powerful

And magnificent

We are

 

And now the cabinet

Collects a sepia dust

That shine, that tarnish

Our Albatross slain