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Collective Consciousness- An Innate Retort

Disregarding Individual Conscience for the Welfare of Bound Commonality


Initially Published in Data Driven Investor


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Every individual is born with a particular realm of consciousness and beliefs. Even though within a given society, we may all share the everyday collection of shared beliefs, thoughts, and moral attitudes, which operate as an amalgamating force within, no two souls embrace precisely the same set of values and said elements. The latter is called “Collective Conscience,” also referred to as “Collective consciousness.”

Generally speaking, Collective Consciousness is not about what some people may recognize as moral conscience but is merely about understanding social standards. As for “collective,” as the French sociologist Émile Durkheim described in his The Division of Labor in Society in 1893, it is not about reifying or hypostasizing the concept. In contrast, it is “collective” utterly in the understanding that it is common to many individuals amid social entertainment.

In contrast to Collective Realization, individual conscience is about personal values. In other words, it is a cognitive course that evokes emotion and rational correlations based on an individual’s moral viewpoint or value conformity. Conscience is often portrayed as leading to remorse when a person commits an act that conflicts with their moral values.

Individual Conscious vs. Collective Consciousness

According to Durkheim, the collective conscience is the result of the everyday habits, traditions, and expectations of traditional and primitive societies and comparing those to what we typically see in a community. He assumed that society endures because unique individuals feel a sense of solidarity with one another. That is why people build cooperative associations and work together to achieve community and utilitarian organizations.

We, as selves, internalize our common individual values and attitudes and make the collective consciousness a reality by doing so. We reaffirm and propagate it by living in ways provided by the group with which we live. Then again, to form solidarity, everyone in the society or group must give up one or more of their ingrained habits and norms. Therefore, the more diverse the community constituents, the more persons must give up to maintain that collectivity.

But- How much we as individuals are willing to sacrifice our individual values for the mutual support of others?

Based on the theory of Praxeology, It is exclusive in the distant course of its queries that cognition of human participation in society is based on the assumption that humans engage in purposeful behavior, as opposed to a reflexive response like sneezing and involuntary reaction. This methodological individualism has been vehemently attacked by various metaphysical schools and disparaged as a nominalist misconception. According to the contenders, the concept of an individual is an empty abstraction, and the natural man is assuredly perpetually a member of a social totality. Meaning- they see it inconceivable to assume the existence of a man parted from the rest of humanity and not connected with society. In short, the supporters of the collectivist doctrine feel human as the soul is the outcome of social evolution.

At least theoretically, bodies come together as progressive groups to share resources and knowledge. It is a way of explaining how a whole community comes along to share similar values.

Society counts various collective groups, such as the family, community, organizations, regions, nations. The groups possess overwhelming capabilities to think, judge, decide, act, and reform. Such factions have the power to conceptualize self and others and self’s actions and interactions and reflect on others. For instance, during the second world war, the Jewish populations of Bulgaria and Denmark survived the holocaust, whereas the majority of the Jewish people in Slovakia and Hungary did not. It is, therefore, reflective of the fact that different social behaviors vary according to the altered collective consciousness between realms. This illustrates that differences in collective consciousness can have practical consequences.

Members of a Society with Similar Traits make the Strongest Collective Bond.

Realistically, for a collective system to prosper the most, if it does, its members must possess the highest shared values. Even such an ideal may be close to practical for old societies and have the uniform profiles of shared attitudes and preferences like middle eastern and Asian nations. Nonetheless, it becomes more unpractical in new and diverse societies such as the United States.

Durkheim concluded that social union, or the durability of ties people have to their social groups, was a key steward in social life. He saw society as a living organism, in which each organ (The person) plays a particular role in keeping the being alive. He even went further by saying that the socially aberrant constituents of society are also necessary for the prosperity of that social structure, and punishments for deviance assert entrenched cultural values and norms. That is, the sentence of a crime reaffirms our moral consciousness.

However, Durkheim was troubled with evidence that modern society was in the process of social disintegration. And that- the cultural adhesive that retained fellowship together was declining, and that people were becoming more divided. The latter confirms that as the means for travel became affordable and straightforward, communities started diversifying. Hence the “Social Glue” of shared traits and values begins losing strength. Therefore, Durkheim’s philosophy of collectivity starts falling apart. In fact, in his 1893 book- The Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim argued that as societies became increasingly populated, more intricate, and more complicated to regulate, the underlying basis of collective solidarity within the social order faded.

To understand Durkheim’s Collective Conscience, we must recognize that individuals perform all actions. A collective operates perpetually through the mediator of one or several individuals whose efforts are narrated to the joint as the trivial origin. Hence, the social collective has no presence and actuality outside of the individual members’ efforts. The life of a mass is experienced in the functioning of the individuals enacting its collection.

Often, Collectivists encounter insuperable impediments. One such obstacle has to do with the fact that- a person concomitantly belonging to various collective entities, only except for primitive tribespeople. Therefore, They can merely solve the problems fostered by the multiplicity of coexisting social assemblies and their concomitant antagonisms through methodological individualism.

Traits are Unbounded- so is the Obligations for Collective Conscience

Human characteristics and values are unlimited yet can still be shared if the group consists of uniform background.

One important factor that aids groups to outperform individuals on decision-making assignments is their reliance on each other. Confident yet interdependent factions (or Cooperative groups) make more reliable decisions than negatively symbiotic (competitive) or individuals. That is expressly true for complicated tasks. Because when group members cooperate, they often generate fresh ideas and solutions that they would not have arrived as individuals. Nevertheless, Collectives can only make effective decisions; however, its framework emanates with a “collective” membership environment. Furthermore, it is essential to realize that these contingencies are not perpetually met in authentic groups. In fact,- one example of a cooperative process that can lead to poor decision-making is the phenomenon of “groupthink.”

Groupthink transpires when an association comprises comrades who may be very competent and proficient in making high determinations. Nevertheless, concluding ends up making poor judgments merely due to a flawed group process and intense conformity pressures. The latter is probably the upshot of the feeling of solid social identity, which in turn forces the member (Unconsciously or consciously) to give up his or — her opinion amid the social bonding. The intricacy of all is that assemblages suffering from groupthink become reluctant to seek out or talk about their judgment discrepancies, or the group members do not express contradictory views. For the reason that the group constituents are hesitant to put forward ideas that contradict those of the leader or to bring in strangers who have other information, meaning- the group is prevented from making a fully informed decision.

Grouping in Collective Conscience is by Profiling

Realistically speaking- there are no Collective consciences without some form of profiling of common individual traits. But- almost all of us who live in a socioeconomically developed world are aware of the buzzwords like racism, sexism, male chauvinism, and their particular resistant groups such as “ANTIFA,” “ME TOO” movements. Organizations, as such, have been formed to address some of the problems associated with discrimination and abuse of a specific group of people sharing particular profiles. However, although the intention of creating associations through collective conscience is to fight another, yet the “negative” collectivism, the result seems to drift in an unintended direction. Some examples of such are bureaucratizing, politicizing a purely value-based concept (Irrespective of the conflicting nature of those values). Politicizing human values and their conflicts, particularly in a society as diverse as the United States, will not only fail to solve the problem but may even exacerbate it through flaring resentment and tension amid the constituents. Profiling human endeavor is never a positive thing, even in the venue of a legitimate cause.

When is Collective Consciousness Enough?

Excessive collectivism is empowering yet often counterproductive. Its utility is minimal, despite being efficient under societal uniformity. But- collective consciousness is becoming even more prevalent, giving rise to new factions with various missions that leadership often prevails to facilitate groupthink.

Individual consciousness, coupled with collaboration, may have its challenges. However, it is more flexible and liberating to us all. As controversial as it may sound, maybe it is time to draw the line on where to stop putting our faith on one hundred percent Collective conscience and utilize it wisely if we select to do so!

#CollectiveConscience #society

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