Groups tend to accept or reject ideas as a whole. An individual may accept contradiction and discussion; a group will never do so. At public meetings the slightest contradiction on the part of an orator is immediately received with howls of fury and violent invective, soon followed by blows, and expulsion should the orator stick to his point. Without the restraining presence of the representatives of authority the contradictor, indeed would often be done to death. Group psychology is often simple minded.
Groups are profoundly conservative. Had democracies possessed the power they wield to-day at the time of the invention of mechanical looms or of the introduction of steam-power and of railways, the realization of these inventions would have been impossible, or would have been achieved at the cost of revolutions and repeated massacres. It is fortunate for the progress of civilization that the power of groups only began when the great discoveries of science and industry had already been effected.
Groups are not to be influenced by reasoning. There is only the appearance of analogy or succession in the ideas they associate. Ideas being only accessible to groups after having assumed a very simple shape must often undergo the most thoroughgoing transformations to become popular. It is especially when we are dealing with somewhat lofty philosophic or scientific ideas that we see how far-reaching are the modifications that’s required in order to lower them to the level of intelligence of groups.
These modifications are dependent on the nature of the groups, or of the race to which the groups belong, but their tendency is always belittling and in the direction of simplification. This explains why from the social point of view, ideas are hardly given elevation. However great or true an idea may have been to begin with, it is deprived of almost all that which constituted its elevation and its greatness by the mere fact that it has entered within the intellectual range of groups and exerts an influence on them.
Even when an idea has undergone the transformations which render it accessible to groups, it only exerts influence when it has entered the domain of the unconscious, when indeed it has become a sentiment, for which much time is required. A long time is necessary for ideas to establish themselves in the minds of groups, but just as long a time is needed for them to be eradicated.
- That is why for ideas when reached the group level, are always several generations behind learned men and philosophers.
It cannot absolutely be said that groups do not reason and are not to be influenced by reasoning. However, the arguments they employ and those which are capable of influencing them are, from a logical point of view, of such an inferior kind that it is only by way of analogy that they can be described as reasoning. The inferior reasoning of groups is based, just as is reasoning of a high order, on the association of ideas, but between the ideas associated by groups there are only apparent bonds of analogies.
The mode of reasoning of groups resembles that of the Esquimaux who, knowing from experience that ice, a transparent body, melts in the mouth, concludes that glass, also a transparent body, should also melt in the mouth; or that of the savage who imagines that by eating the heart of a courageous foe he acquires his bravery; or of the workman who, having been exploited by one employer of labour, immediately concludes that all employers exploit their men. This kind of reasoning is highly unconscious.
The characteristics of the reasoning of groups are the association of dissimilar things possessing a merely apparent connection between each other, and the immediate generalization of particular cases. They are the only arguments by which groups are to be influenced. A chain of logical argumentation is totally incomprehensible to groups, and for this reason it is permissible to say that they do not reason or that they reason falsely and are not to be influenced by reasoning. Group logic is non-logical.
Astonishment is felt at times on reading certain speeches in their lowest quality form, and yet they had an enormous influence on the groups which listened to them, but it is forgotten that they were intended to persuade collectivities and not to be read by philosophers. An orator in intimate communication with a group can evoke images by which it will be seduced. If he is successful his object has been attained. Thorough explanations are not worth the few simple phrases to convince a group mind of an idea.
The powerlessness of groups to reason aright prevents them displaying any trace of the critical spirit, prevents them, that is, from being capable of discerning truth from error, or of forming a precise judgment on any matter. Judgments accepted by groups are merely judgments forced upon them and never judgments adopted after discussion. That’s why critical thinking belong to those who retain individuality of thinking and not lose themselves to consensus mind. The power to reason is intelligence.
In regard to this matter the individuals who do not rise above the level of a group are numerous. The ease with which certain opinions obtain general acceptance results more especially from the impossibility experienced by the majority of men of forming an opinion peculiar to themselves and based on reasoning of their own.
- None of us is dumber than all of us. One of us is smarter than all of us. Become as one of the group when connecting with the group, but return to individual secret thoughts when living.
Owner and Founder At The Goddess Bibles A Memoir By Laura Zukerman
Becoming Your Inner Goddess
Goddess of reasoning 🙏😎