“My life is its own definition. So is yours.
Let us leave the priests to their hells and heavens, and confine the scientists to their dying universe, with its accidentally created stars. Let us each dare to open our dream’s door, and explore the unofficial thresholds, where we begin.”
-Taken from the poem “A Psychic Manifesto” by the late author Jane Roberts upon completion of “Seth’s” ideas which culminated in the book, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events – 1979
The other day I was having a brief discussion with a representative of a company with whom our business (my husband owns a telecommunications firm) had just been awarded a “plum contract.” I had a couple of quick questions for him relative to the public relations surrounding our recent win, of which I had asked him to weigh in on the award. He quickly cut me off and said, “I am not allowed to have anything to do with such a request. I only do as I’m told…”
Now being an entrepreneur, both as writer and as marketing executive for our company, I’ve fortunately been afforded the opportunity of not having to conform to the typical rules of corporate life. For that matter, I’ve never felt the incessant need to conform to what we call consensus reality at all, feeling on some level that mass thought and the ideas that preoccupy the mind are but a relative notion, at best. It’s a complicated affair, I suppose.
As human beings; biological creatures of belief and habit, our inevitable trajectory from birth thrusts us into a world of assumptions, albeit presented as facts. Our parents, our teachers, well being as they may, and all the systems that proclaim “authority” engenders a perception that their truth is the truth and therefore it is needless to question. When these “truths” are disseminated and repeated on a grand scale: our sciences, religions, history, etc., perhaps through redundancy alone, or with the assumption that there are no other choices to create from, they become adopted by the mind as reality.
We’ve all heard the popular, although now clichéd phrase “think outside of the box,” – an assumption that with relative reason, one can deduce that reality has been largely packaged, but with all its bows and ribbons, as neatly wrapped as this box may be, it’s not the only present under the tree. In fact my husband and I have our own phrase of which we say often, “There is no box” – sort of Zen in its approach, although instinctively appropriate.
A term first popularized by William H. Whyte, Jr., who in 1952 wrote an article in Fortune magazine in which he said, “Groupthink being a coinage – and, admittedly, a loaded one – a working definition is in order. We are not talking about mere instinctive conformity – it is, after all, a perennial failing of mankind. What we are talking about is a rationalized conformity – an open, articulate philosophy which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well.”
Groupthink or consensus ideology has domineered its way not only into the corporate world, but in virtually all aspects of modern life. As writer/philosopher Neil Kramer stated in his essay, The Path of One, “Collectivism is rewarded over independence; compliance over distinctiveness.” And so, if one seeks “reward” in one’s life, one must conform to collectivism.
I’m not going to get into the unraveling of the philosophy behind group-mind or the myriad examples of how this matrix of reality has lured the masses into a collective thinking pattern – I’m sure many of you have reasoned out its framework on your own. Rather let’s look at why now more than ever, we must awaken to our individuality in order to understand, interact with and benefit from “an infinite spectrum of experience,” gleaned largely from our individuality.
The Paradox of the Collective and the Individual
Author Michael Talbot in one of his last interviews before his untimely death in 1992 spoke of physicist David Bohm’s metaphor about individuals, liking them to whirlpools in a stream. When you look at little whirlpools forming in a body of water, it is impossible to abstract out the whirlpools from the water. They are part of the continuum of the stream and therefore part of the whole. Like whirlpools, “we are beings without borders, we are a continuum of everything else (and therefore part of the collective), but that doesn’t take away from our uniqueness. We have identity; we just don’t have distinct borders.”
This metaphor, although paradoxical as it may be to our discussion here, is poignant nonetheless in elucidating the subtleties of the “we are all connected” vs. “I am an individual.” The fact is that both are true. But it is in the understanding and supporting of our individualism – our uniqueness, including and especially our thought processes; that which we have always had total freedom in shaping, that can free ourselves from the grip of groupthink. This understanding may be what is needed to bootstrap us out of the proverbial “box” and into a Universe that is far more fluid, intelligent and infinite than we could have ever imagined.
That said, it is indeed beneficial in understanding our interconnectedness to each other – to all things, in fact. In so doing, we will begin to create new rules of reality, ascertain greater wisdom – from each other, from nature, from the Universe. And now, as we appear to be on the threshold of a planetary shift in consciousness, groupthink just won’t do! Fortunately, the shift that is occurring before our very eyes and souls has yielded an awakening for some – a recognition that individual discernment is necessary to evolve. Free and unencumbered thought and feeling is an innate faculty. Nonetheless, far too many are still adhering to the old paradigm of group thought. In order to “go with the shift,” we must shake off our previously fed concepts of what “is” or “isn’t,” and stare consensus in the face and say, “I will determine what is true, real and noteworthy.” This is where real reward begins to reveal itself.
“Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson from his Essay “Self-Reliance.”
As daunting as it may seem, given the social, cultural and political fortifications that have habituated man toward a fixed worldview, it is imperative that we re-examine, question and thus reshape what it is we believe, and proudly but humbly exert our individuality in the process. We will no longer be doing “what we’re told” but living who we are!