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Collective spirit and action

Snow picture for collective spirit post

When it snowed last week, I got out of bed to take this photo out of the window. Why am I writing this? You’re not interested in my nocturnal pursuits are you?  But you are interested! It’s part of your survival strategy!


We all try to survive as best we can and we do that better if we act collectively rather than independently. We are interested in each other and have empathy for each other. We have rules that make this collective survival strategy work, an unwritten code that says everyone must try to fit in. People who don’t fit in, who behave differently to the code are shunned and criticised. We get angry with them to force them out into the wilderness, they are no longer welcome in the tribe.

This is a primitive code of behaviour has been made more sophisticated with time. In Victorian times, codes of behaviour or etiquette were written down. The code of behaviour for upper and middle classes was so important to maintain a way of life that people wrote books about it. That code of behaviour even requires people to know what spoon to eat their soup with.

Anger is a very primitive emotion, but it underpins the primitive code of behaviour. We signal our displeasure at the deviancy of others from acceptable behaviour by becoming angry.

To me the world seems an angrier place, the accepted rules of behaviour are being broken and people are getting angry. We are all empathic towards each other and are aware of the problems others have. We learn to cope with our own tribulations by observing others. We try to be fair to others and have a sense of fairness as part of our empathic nature. People in power in  the world are less emotional, less empathic and that can produce a tendency to ignore fairness and make society very angry. This can lead to turmoil and even war.

Here in the United Kingdom, there seems to be a seething anger towards those in power. Not just the government, but to all those with power. The overpaid executives who people are told run our banks and companies, but in truth these companies survive because of collective action. Someone once said a good company will run itself; that is true because we can work together. This myth that we need leadership however still prevails. The tribe needs a chief to tell it what to do. Does it really? When the head of a family leaves the house, does the family fall apart?

There have been many protests of all kinds since the collapse of the world economy. The collective spirit of humanity is angry because the system failed; those corporate leaders failed. We can expect the anger to fester until the people get justice. In the UK, that might happen at this year’s General Election, but with the wrong result we could see riots in the streets.

What do you think, are you in tune with the collective spirit? Please use the comments box to share your thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter for updates.

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