Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Group Consciousness

Group consciousness is a mysterious force that negates an individual’s right to personal growth and choices. It defies scrutiny and often deifies itself. In its most innocent form it looks like a model railroad train hobby group, in its most malevolent form, it is the reason for the existence of wars. Star Trek did an episode about this power in an episode in 1969.

Kirk and crew have been lured by a cry for help to the dangerous rim of the universe while at the same time, Kang, a Klingon warlord, has been lured there as well. Klingons end up on the Enterprise. Phasers are transformed into swords and the natural tendency to protect cultural differences escalates into bloody hand to hand combat. Each group is convinced they are right and their hatred for each other becomes their reason for living and killing.

Spock breaks through the emotional forces that have gripped these two factions and realizes that there is an entity on board that lives on hatred and violence. The more they fight the stronger it grows. Spockian logic brings them to their senses and when they put down their swords and begin to laugh with each other, the entity flees from the good, good, good… good vibrations.

Here's a picture of the mysterious entity that invaded the Enterprise and is wreaking havoc on its unwitting pawns.

Kang makes a profound observation, “If Klingons are going to kill humans, we will do it because we want to, not because some entity manipulates us to do its bidding.”

He wants to be driven by his cultural heritage rather than some alien “entity”. My point being that he is still being driven by a group consciousness that swallows his individuality.

Church groups live with this mantra as well. The rallying point is not Jesus but rather their collective group think. How can you test this? Just ask a question that threatens any one of the myriad of core values (other than Jesus) of a church group and see if you are welcomed in Jesus name.

Why would God ordain and endorse so many factions within His body?


Nick Hourd said...


Oldthinkers unbellyfeel Churchianity.
Ungood mans crimethink, goodest doublethinker mans doubleplus duckspeakers.

Okay, so for those of you who are not fans of George Orwell, the above sentences could be roughly translated as follows:

"Those who have formed their own opinions and theology through relationship with God and the study of His Word can not hope to comprehend the security offered by false religion. People who question authority are a threat to society, but those who can spew doctrine without even thinking of the words thy are speaking and the impact that they have on real people are superlatively good for the group mentality and ought to be candidates for leadership."

For more information, read Nineteen Eighty-Four. The similarities are astounding.

Mike said...

You write about following Christ without any particular trappings - groups, cultures, identities.

But is that even possible? Is there such a thing as a religious practice that isn't embedded in a particular time and place?

David Grant said...

Religious practice has more baggage than what I'm talking about.

If the practice is simply left at a willingness to connect with God and others then it is possible. It happens all the time. Connecting without forming a group is as simple as dialoging in a blog or having a great conversation over a coffee or a beer.

Is it rare? Yes. Humans have a tendency to rally around something. Sometimes the rallying is around an anti-something. Even when I write the way I do it could be interpreted as getting people to be anti-institutional church. That would be a yuck kind of goal.

Nevertheless it is possible to align oneself with Jesus without the trappings of a group. In John 6 He pointed to himself alone as the connecting point with His Father.

Why we feel the need to take this connection to the next step of joining together under a group is a perilous human condition and history testifies that it is anything but a divine motivation.