Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph Blog ‘Group Think’ versus Individualism – Dr. Ellen's Blog

‘Group Think’ versus Individualism

Posted on August 18, 2016 By

Human collectives of all kinds are prone to a “group-think” mentality that values consensus and conformity, and harmony, above all else, while at the same time that they discourage creativity and individuality.

A group-think mentality discourages unpopular opinion-making by individuals, and  it instead encourages a collectivist form of decision-making that celebrates consensus.

Sound familiar?

Examples of Group-think

We see evidence of group-think at all levels of public life: in labor unions, in congress, on boards of directors, in medical and legal societies, in committees, in academic departments within the university, in college student collectives, in research publications, in the military, even in the judiciary.

Workers of all persuasions spend most of their time today on teams of one kind or another, often in open-plan complexes that are expressly furnished for group interaction.

Group processes clearly predominate: as reflected in group learning, group praying, group brainstorming, congressional caucusing, group-focused advertising campaigns, health collectives.

And large groups like the mainstream media and Hollywood even exploit a kind of group delusion. They do this through the use of propaganda that deliberately manipulates reality, thereby allowing a larger, over-riding agenda to move invisibly forward through their constituents.

Of course, the media and Hollywood are not without their own group-think delusions, and American political parties, as well.

Consensus-building dominates and overrides in any domain of life where dissenting viewpoints are actively suppressed.

And consensus-building ultimately leads to corporatism, bureaucracy, regulatory pressure, cult science, climate science, propagandizing, belief coercion, a ONE WORLD ideology, political correctness, mass delusion, mob hysteria, dictatorships, oppression, fascism, even world wars.

This process is most effective when the masses are clueless and distracted, and poorly educated, which in my opinion is the very definition of tyranny.

What is the best path to follow?

The best path is to work alone, to work independently, to create in solitude where the mind is free to machinate without the pressures of consensus. Join groups where the individual expression and creativity is celebrated.

We need privacy. We need room to think expansively. We need to work through the options at hand without someone looking over our shoulder to see that we are conforming to some collective norm.

After all, great scientists, great writers, great musicians and artists work alone. Their productivity and creativity depends, not on conformity, but on soulful stirrings and self-absorption.

”Unanimity” is an illusion perpetrated by collectivists whose primary  goal is to control; and the way they exert control is by putting pressure on dissenters and rewarding fellow believers. They are society’s self-appointed “mind-guards,” if you will, folks who push for conformity to foster their belief that they know best.

Take the Challenger disaster: it is a classic example of where high level NASA officials disregarded an engineer’s expressed concerns for the sake of a launch timetable. And we all know how that worked out.

Was the Bay of Pigs another example of group-think? If we put our mind to it we can probably come up with a great many examples.

How about the decision to topple Muammar Gadafy? Or how about the swooning hysteria in 2008 when we elected America’s first black president? One wonders what that was all about.

I am reminded of the movie “12 Angry Men,” a courtroom drama whose outcome was considered a foregone conclusion despite the jury’s Constitutional responsibility to a young man charged with murdering his father. The assumption of “reasonable doubt” stood in stark contrast to an overriding mood in the courtroom, including on the part of the judge, of the “open and shut” nature of the case being considered.

Give me my own piece of a puzzle to work with any day! And celebrate others who do the same…