Let me describe an encounter I after had in Florida at a Tai Chi seminar I attended. I was one of a group of twenty – strangers, all – who were becoming put by means of our paces collectively and instructed in a distinct type (A choreographed series of movements). We came from all more than the US, and all we had in frequent wa our interest in Tai Chi.
The session was led by a master, demonstrating the movements from atop a park bench. We copied his actions, and from time to time he would come down and make his way amongst us to verify on our progress. What was striking was that as soon as we no longer had the master to comply with, everyone in the group would get stuck trying to repeat the sequence at exactly the exact same point!
With assist from the master we would make some progress, and then get stuck again – when far more, all at the same point. What I did not at initial recognize was how a group of people, all learning the same type at his or her own pace, could all get stuck at the same point when we no longer had the master to follow – it didn’t make sense. The only explanation I have is that the group mentality exerted a stronger influence over us than did the master. We were struck by a kind of mob-mentality, performing according to the strength of the group, not our personal individual strengths.
And bear in mind that the phenomenon I describe took location among a group of strangers. A related effect would be much more pronounced in a group of folks who knew every single other effectively. To act in this way is clearly innate to human beings – it is element of the way in which our species is programmed to function. No individual is exempt from this – whether or not we think about ourselves outsiders or insiders. When conscious of the phenomenon we could be in a position to counteract it to a point, but we can never ever hope to escape it altogether. Even if we have been to succeed in performing so we would nonetheless be defining ourselves in relation to a group – those who do function under the influence of mob-mentality, and by defining ourselves in this way we would locate we had been unable to escape the influence of such groups upon our lives.
The advantages afforded by belonging to a group do not come for free. There is a cost to spend and that value is not a tiny one. In addition, the a lot more a particular person identifies with their tribe the significantly less they function as an autonomous person. Alternatively, they grow to be an extension of the group. Inside a tribe the conversation is no longer betwixt men and women but rather among two appendages of one collective consciousness.
We use all sorts of devices to identify ourselves and denote our tribal loyalties. These range from tattoos and piercings to military dress uniforms. Similarly, the distinctive pinstripes and ostentatious neckties of the stockbrokers are as telling as the leathers of a motorcycle gang member when it comes to tribal affiliation.
So vital is this sense of identity to the way we see that globe that the first time we meet somebody new we invariably judge them according to the appearance they present, and associate them with one tribe or yet another. If we cannot think which tribe they belong to we are at a loss, and label them “odd” or “exceptional”. These first impressions colour our judgement, leading us to declare total strangers to be great or evil, of higher or low status etc.
By objectifying every person in this way, we are not experiencing them in their fullness, but only via that narrow sliver which conforms to our personal tribe’s view. They in turn are returning the favour and doing the very same to us. They are objectifying us as we are objectifying them
When we objectify other people in this way we are subconsciously treating ourselves as objects also. As a outcome we shed the capacity to type relationships and act in a non-clinical way towards these about us. Our relationships turn into false, if not fraudulent, and this is the expense of our tribal life style. Regardless of whether it is worth it is the query that remains for all of us to answer as we see fit.