Dorris Lessing, in her article” Group Minds” asserts that human beings are naturally structured on one another. From the earliest days, they begin to rely on other human beings for support and survival. As it grows up and becomes wiser, it doesn’t emerge as independent because it forms relationships that comprise giving and taking from others. Family, friends, community, and culture play a crucial role in the decision-making of an individual. They accustomed to it due to the fact they are biologically designed to operate in groups. The number of people that revel in being solitaries is significantly few. Being in groups satisfies the sense of belongingness and empowers them to be extra creative and adaptive. The overall concern of Lessing is that humans can access a great deal of information that is available to improve their social groups and structures but they are not willing to do so. To her, obedience is a deeply ingrained behavior tendency or a potent impulse that can override ethics, sympathy and moral conduct. This essay justifies Dorris Lessing’s argument that societal progression can be enhanced by shifting from the naturalistic tendency of sticking to the opinions of the group that one belongs.
According to Lessing, the western governments tend to withhold information that they consider’ hard;’ about human behavior from education systems as a strategy of encouraging people to continue obeying slogans, leaders, rhetoric and group emotions (Behr et al, 1996). The asserts that the western system of learning is such that learners perceive themselves as free to do whatever they are willing to do but in reality, their actions and behaviors are guided by group mentality. However, she does not demonize group mentality itself. Instead, she criticizes the lack of opportunity to contemplate the rules about the natural behavior of humans in a calm, emotionless, dispassionate and disinteresting way to improve institutions and lives. She blame the social laws that govern the groups and the individuals themselves. The society has sufficient knowledge about conformity do something but they choose not to do it. People need independence o to yield to conformity more effectively as opposed to the traditional strategies that ensure every group members dances to the tune of the entire group without questioning. In general, people succumb to external pressures to conform despite that in ordinary cases, they argue that their decision-making is individualistic.
The society believes that people are free individuals with a capacity to think and speak for themselves but in real sense, people are unconsciously influenced by groups. Children go to school together, fanatics watch their favorite matches together, political debates are held in social halls where people sit in groups, and others meet to hold prayers. People have an idea that they are individuals but they cannot do away with their group minds. The idea of individualistic life is set on culture but the ideal behavior and thoughts are set by families, media, workers, and strangers. The opinions that people make evolve from the influence of others. Living and congregating in groups is natural once people join groups, they thinking changes in conformance with that of the group maintaining individual opinion while in group is significantly hard. They never challenge group opinions and affirmations because doing so can lead to a collapse of the entire group (Felps, Mitchell & Byington, 2006). The idea that individuals can hardly maintain their person while they are in a group is correct. Individuals can challenge the beliefs, viewpoints, and opinions of the group, but in doing so, they usually fence intense criticism and can attract anger.
In my opinion, Lessing is not asking for too much for the progression of species. The current scenario where people are limited to thinking and behaving in accordance with groups, they cannot identify the level of control that social groups and structures have on their lives. If they could do so, then they could have begun examining how to build group minds that promote love for one another and betterment of their lives. For example, obedience to traffic laws occurs because they respect for authoritative figures and fear of punishment, but in reality, they aim at avoiding unfriendly gestures from fellow drivers. In politics, a Democratic member of democratic party-dominated congress that votes against the opinion of the Democratic president, the other Democrats can beg him to change the opinion. Failure to do so attracts negative name such a traitors and communists and can even encounter violence from others. Inability to stand for their beliefs emanates from the desire to conform to the group. Such conforming can make people change their minds and beliefs. Even in circumstances when people understand that they are wrong, they can continue following through with the group mentality. Standing firm on personal belief turns out to be significantly hard when people are in groups because they believe that people with authority and groups are bound to be right and the role of the members is to follow their wishes.
People obey without thought, when they agree with others. Despite that disobedience is severely punished, it can be a better course to choose for personal safety and maintenance of moral values and courses (Rest, 1989). Perceiving those with opposing opinions as fools implies that the majority are unwilling to change. Demonizing those that hold an indifferent opinion is a precursor to impending change. It requires a single member to speak his mind for the entire group to change their viewpoints about the entire decision of the group.as conscious and rational beings, humans can use the positive mind of the group positively to renew the condition of others.
In conclusion, Dorris Lessing’s argument that shifting from the group norms can build the society is valid. As a matter of fact, emotions and thoughts of an individual are greatly influenced and governed by collective attitudes. While being group belongingness is static, better group minds can be built by clarity, love and progressive intents. Associating with groups is inevitable but limiting one’s thinking to the group’s viewpoints limits group and individual growth. Ordinarily, people have bias, emotions, and prejudices towards various decisions in the society. Some opt to avoid what they want to do because they seek to authorities told them to do so, while others agree with wrong ideas because everyone else agrees with them. To make the idea of western freedom a reality, it is important to allow everyone to choose actions and behaviors that are indifferent from others. Ding so can allow everyone to develop self-understanding and trust so that they can make their own decisions.
Behrens, L., Rosen, L. J., & Behrens, L. (1996). Writing and reading across the curriculum. Longman.
Felps, W., Mitchell, T. R., & Byington, E. (2006). How, when, and why bad apples spoil the barrel: Negative group members and dysfunctional groups. Research in organizational behavior, 27, 175-222.
Rest, J. R. (1989). Development in judging moral issues. U of Minnesota Press.