Group Mind aka Spin-World aka Ideology

Group Mind aka Spin-World aka Ideology

[b]What do the following entities have in common: fascism, capitalism, communism, political parties, and religions? They all have a common characteristic that can be called “group mind”.

What is striking is that members of these entities often undergo a major change in behavior just by being members of such entities. Under certain conditions individuals who become members of these groups behave differently than they would as individuals. These individuals acquire the characteristics of a ‘psychological group’.

What is the nature of the ‘group mind’, i.e. the mental changes such individuals undergo as a result of becoming a group?[/b]

A bond develops much like cells which constitute a living body—group mind is more of an unconscious than a conscious force—there are motives for action that elude conscious attention—distinctiveness and individuality become group behavior based upon unconscious motives—there develops a sentiment of invincible power, anonymous and irresponsible attitudes–repressions of unconscious forces under normal situations are ignored—conscience which results from social anxiety disappear.

Contagion sets in—hypnotic order becomes prevalent—individuals sacrifice personal interest for the group interest.

Suggestibility of which contagion is a symptom leads to the lose of conscious personality—the individual follows suggestions for actions totally contradictory to person conscience—hypnotic like fascination sets in—will an discernment vanishes—direction is taken from the leader in an hypnotic like manner—the conscious personality disappears.

“Moreover, by the mere fact that he forms part of an organized group, a man descends several rungs in the ladder of civilization.” Isolated, he my be a cultivated individual; in a crowd, he is a barbarian—that is, a creature acting by instinct. “He possesses the spontaneity, the violence, the ferocity, and also the enthusiasm and heroism of primitive beings.”

There is a lowering of intellectual ability “pointing to its similarity with the mental life of primitive people and of children…A group is credulous and easily influenced—the improbable seldom exists—they think in images—feelings are very simple and exaggerated—the group knows neither doubt nor uncertainty—extremes are prevalent, antipathy becomes hate and suspicion becomes certainty.

Force is king—force is respected and obeyed without question—kindness is weakness—tradition is triumphant—words have a magical power—supernatural powers are easily accepted—groups never thirst for truth, they demand illusions—the unreal receives precedence over the real—the group is an obedient herd—prestige is a source for domination, however it “is also dependent upon success, and is lost in the event of failure”.

I have read that some consider objectivism to be a cult rather than a philosophy; I asked my self what is the difference between a philosophy and an ideology. I turned to Freud and his book “Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego” for my answer. I discovered that Freud had turned to the Frenchman Gustave Le Bon for an understanding of group behavior.

Gustave Le Bon was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist. His work on crowd psychology became important in the first half of the twentieth century. Le Bon was one of the great popularizers of theories of the unconscious at a critical moment in the formation of new theories of sociology.
English translation Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego, 1922) was explicitly based on a critique of Le Bon’s work. The quotes in this post are from this book.

I have been giving this group psychology thing some thought and I think that radio talk shows, like the Rush Limbaugh show, display group behavior. I also think that these Internet discussion forums display a hint of this behavior.

as do the major media, broadcast tv news, newsweek, time, most metropolitan newspapers…

read the ny times editorial page, that is the source of group think because 90% of all other media gets its marching orders from there…

blinded to gravitas by liberal group think


This sounds like Dawkins’ definitions of memes and their evolution (“The Selfish Gene”). I would add to sources of group think zeitgeists and archetypes (which Freud denies-- “Society and Its Discontents”). The question becomes what is there in intersubjective agreements on human reality that can lead to thinking that is not critical? The need to belong is one answer. Some will kill or die to assert that right.