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   PROMOTING A HEALTHY TRANSFORMATION.                           




To gain an understanding of the Transformation in the Group we must first sharpen our perception to develop a clear view of exactly what we are studying. The Group is a creation of individuals interacting in concert with one another and, beyond, the multitude of social trends flowing throughout society. As a description of consciousness may be based on an account of neural activity for each person, or consciousness may be studied as behavior which arises as a result of cybernetic communications between individuals and the environment, the Group may be approached as an organization with the central generative locus in the members, but also in the forms society imposes upon groups of individuals. More completely, however, both of these phenomena, consciousness and the Group, must be approached as mediators. Piaget (173, 175, 176) describes consciousness as arising as an equilibrium between assimilation: the individual’s response, structuring awareness to the environmental situation, and accommodation: the psycho-neurological inclusion of those responses to perceptions of environment including behavior. Analogously, the Group may be studied as the mediator between the activities of individual Group members and the activities of society. Section A of this chapter develops this theme. {Cf. Georg Simmel: “The Web of Group-Affiliations” [Simmel (211)]}.

          The Group itself, however, has certain properties of its own. Like the membrane of a cell, regulating the interchange between the internal and the external environment, the structural dynamics of the Group may be studied in the person-to-person interchange that is the source of ‘group process’ and ‘group culture’. These are the grounds of social development, Group transformation, and individual development. Section B of Chapter 1 explores this subject through detailing the interactional social philosophy of George Herbert Mead.

         Section C explicates the interior depths of the working Group. It is now that we begin to understand, more concretely, what the properties of a Group are and the relations of these properties to our own individual-social development. As we become aware of these deeper foundations of the Primary Group we also begin to understand certain of the processes which make up the transformation demonstrated in later chapters of this study.


Just as a planet revolves around a central body as well as rotating on its own axis, so the human individual takes part in the course of development of mankind at the same time as he pursues his own path in life.  But to our dull eyes the play of forces in the heavens seems fixed in a never-changing order; in the field of organic life we can see how the forces contend with one another, and how the effects of the conflict are continually changing.  So, also, the two urges, the one towards personal happiness and the other towards union with other human beings must struggle with each other in every individual; and so, also, the two processes of individual and cultural development must stand in hostile opposition to each other and mutually dispute the ground.

Thus Freud portrays the relationship of the individual and society in his Civilization and Its Discontents (76:88). As we inquire more deeply into this description, however, both a paradox and an irony emerge. The paradox in the statement is that Freud, from his metapsychological perspective, is giving us all, members of society, a viewpoint toward the individual’s relationship to society. He defines a quality of our social view: our eyes are dull. While apparently addressing the individual, he is addressing all of humanity. The irony is that this view is not entirely an individual’s, not even Freud’s.

            Some forty years earlier Lester Ward, one of the founders of American sociology, draws us a similar picture:

Intellectually considered, social differentiation has been far in advance of social integration. As in the solar system, the outlying members—the planets—have vastly exceeded the central mass—the sun—in the progress which they have made toward the dissipation of their inherent motion and the integration of their constituent matter. So, in society, while individual men have, at different times and in varying degrees, arrived at full consciousness both of themselves and of the universe, the social mass, the supreme psychic center of the social organism, still consists of a chaos of undifferentiated elements in the crude, homogeneous state. So great is this lack of integration in the social consciousness that society as a whole is still broken up into a large number of more or less remote and independent sub-societies, joined together more or less feebly by ties which differ in strength, from those of language and national characteristics in politically dependent states, to those of commerce, more or less irregular, between wide-separated peoples speaking in different tongues.

Dynamic Sociology II (228:291)

The planetary analogy has had a moving effect, stretching back into antiquity, on how the individual has been viewed relating to society. Witness the revolutionary upheaval in the wake of Kepler’s and Galileo’s acceptance and presentations of the Copernican Universe on art, religion, and science. 1   Our purpose here is not so much to criticize these relationships delineated by Ward and Freud as to understand something about this “undifferentiated” “social mass” that the individual “revolves” around.

            These views will suffice to represent our modern Western perspective. It is from the undifferentiated mass that our transformation will develop. The Group, like a crystal forming from a supersaturated solution, will begin to appear.


Carl Jung shares Freud’s Western, European training and psychodynamic outlook. These men’s viewpoints are probably closer than not in spite of personal disagreements. Jung gives us a more specific illustration of confrontation with the undifferentiated mass. During a safari to the interior of Africa he had an experience which he records in his autobiographical Memories, Dreams, and Reflections (113). A native village honored Jung and his party by treating them to a n’goma. He found himself in the midst of a ceremony, exhausted after a long day’s trek, dancing around a blazing fire, although the temperature was in excess of ninety degrees. He was accompanied by an English friend and was acquainted only with the chief of the village who had organized the event. Jung’s description continues:

 It was a wild and stirring scene, bathed in the glow of the fire and magical moonlight. My English friend and I sprang to our feet and mingled with the dancers. I swang my rhinoceros whip, the only weapon I had, and mingled with them. By their beaming faces I could see that they approved of our taking part. Their zeal redoubled; the whole company stamped, sang, shouted, sweating profusely. Gradually the rhythm of the dance and the drumming accelerated.

            In dances such as these, accompanied by such music, the natives easily fall into a virtual state of possession. That was the case now.  As eleven o’clock approached, their excitement began to get out of bounds. And suddenly the whole affair took on a highly curious aspect. The dancers were being transformed into a wild horde, and I became worried how it would end. I signed to the chief that it was time to stop, and that he and his people ought to go to sleep. But he kept wanting “just another one.”

            I remembered that a countryman of mine, one of the Saracen cousins, on an exploratory expedition in Celebes had been struck by a stray spear in the course of such a n’goma. And so, disregarding the chief's pleas, I called the people together, distributed cigarettes, and then made the gesture of sleep.  Then I swung my rhinoceros whip threateningly, but at the same time laughing, and for lack of any better language I swore at them loudly in Swiss German that this was enough and that they must go home to bed and sleep now.  It was apparent to the people that I was to some extent pretending my anger, but that seemed to have struck just the right note.  General laughter arose; capering, they scattered in all directions and vanished into the night.  For a long time we heard their jovial howls and drumming in the distance.  At last silence fell, and we dropped into the sleep of exhaustion.

                 Memories, Dreams, and Reflections (113:271-272)

From this account we have a picture of an individual in a foreign environment, entering into a highly organized social event, attempting to become totally involved, and yet, having to confront a process which he considers to be a loss of identity: “possession”. In response he pulls the direction of the entire group to his own wishes with seemingly admirable success.

Before venturing into the “undifferentiated mass” or studying the “group mind” I would like to refer to an account of a similar trance-dance based ceremony, albeit with a more specific healing purpose. Melvin Konner, a medical-anthropologist with both a Ph. D. and M. D. apprenticed himself for two years to a healer of the !Kung San who live in the Kalahari desert. Konner studies comparative healing technics across cultures, presenting a more detailed account, showing much more purpose and complexity from inside the society, rather than the simpler view of a European visitor [Why the Reckless Survive...and Other Secrets of Human Nature (121)]. Although certain participants do become “possessed” during these dances, this is a predictable, expected part of the event that confers healing powers upon these individuals. Konner presents the preliminary conversation between members of the village including the humorous intimate tongue-in-cheek comments and challenges. Once the women have apparently sensed the need for a Healing, establishing a rhythm with claps and bells, etc., they comment: “Let’s see if these men can dance.”, etc. A television presentation of a similar version of this ritual-ceremony is viewable on episode 106 of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern entitled “Kalahari”: first aired May 3, 2011, Travel Channel: ( The intensity of the experience for both participants and audience is well documented. The melon dance of the women, a fertility ceremony, is also shown as prelude—an important and truly delightful part of the whole event (255).

Let us leave the individual at this point and continue our study by confronting the “undifferentiated mass”.

In Group Psychology and Analysis of the Ego (hereafter referred to as GP&AE ) Freud reviews a number of theories of group formation. Before studying these, it should be noted that the original title of this work is Massenpsychology und Ich-Analyse which literally translates to Mass Psychology and I-Analysis. We are actually dealing with the psychology of the crowd and its effect on individual consciousness, as Freud’s translator, Strachey, points out in a footnote (73:3). This distinction, between the group and the crowd, becomes very important during the course of this study and will be discussed in detail in the third section of this chapter.  

            Freud begins his essay by framing his inquiry, setting his focus: “If a psychology, concerned with exploring predispositions, the instinctual impulses, the motives and aims of an individual man down to his actions and his relations with those who are nearest to him, had completely achieved its would suddenly find itself confronted by a new task which would lie before it unachieved... It would be obliged to explain the surprising fact that under a certain condition this individual, whom it had come to understand, thought, felt, and acted in quite a different way from what would have been expected. And this condition is his insertion into a collection of people which has acquired the characteristic of a ‘psychological group’” (73:6). Freud then proceeds by discussing accounts given by English psychologist William McDougall (The Group Mind) and French sociologist Gustav Le Bon (The Crowd) of the group mind, a concept popular with early twentieth century social scientists and philosophers. Freud continues:

Le Bon thinks that the particular acquirements of individuals become obliterated in a group, and that in this way their distinctiveness vanishes. The racial unconscious emerges; what is heterogeneous becomes submerged in what is homogeneous. As we should say, the mental superstructure, the development of which in individuals shows such dissimilarities, is removed, and the unconscious foundations, which are similar in everyone, stand exposed to view.  

            In this way individuals in a group would come to show an average character. But Le Bon believes that they also display new characteristics which they have not previously possessed, and he seeks the reason for this in three factors.  

            “The first is that the individual forming part of a group acquires, solely from numerical considerations, a sentiment of invincible power which allows him to yield to instincts which, had he been alone, he would perforce have kept under restraint. He will be less disposed to check himself, from the consideration that, a group being anonymous and in consequence irresponsible, the sentiment of responsibility which always controls individuals entirely disappears”  (Le Bon quoted by Freud).

                           GP&AE (73:8, 9)

And what becomes of the individual?

“We see, then, that the disappearance of the conscious personality, the predominance of the unconsciousness personality, the turning by means of suggestion and contagion of feeling and ideas on an identical direction, the tendency to immediately transform the suggested ideas into acts; these, we see, are the principal characteristics of the individual forming part of a group. He is no longer himself, but has become an automaton who has ceased to be guided by his will” [Le Bon (132) quoted by Freud].

                           GP&AE (73:11)


Of the group mind, in particular, Le Bon emphasizes certain properties:

  1) A group is impulsive, changeable, irritable.

  2) A group is credulous and open to influence.

  3) A group goes to extremes.

  4) A group is intolerant as it is obedient to authority.

  5) In a group individual inhibitions fall away and cruel, brutal, and destructive instincts, previously repressed, emerge.

  6) Group members demand illusion and magical powers, especially from their leaders.

  7) A group is an obedient herd which could never live without a master.

                           [Le Bon (132) quoted by Freud GP&AE (73:13-15)]

This is not a pretty picture of a group! For any person with experience of Primary Group relationships this must be an amazing account, a description of a mob. Jung’s characterization of “possession” resulting from extended trance dancing, relates to this sense of sublimation in the group mind with a loss of individuality. In this study we will contrast this type of experience with the affirming tone of a true Group.

          Freud balances this account:

Le Bon himself was prepared to admit that in certain circumstances the morals of a group can be higher than those of the individuals that compose it, and that only collectives are capable of a high degree of unselfishness and devotion. “While with isolated individuals personal interest is almost the only motive force, with groups it is very rarely prominent” (132). Other writers adduce the fact that it is only society which prescribes any ethical standards at all for the individual, while he as a rule fails in one way or another to come up to its high demands. Or they may point out that in exceptional circumstances there may arise in communities the phenomenon of enthusiasm, which has made the most splendid group achievement possible. 

            As regards intellectual work it remains a fact, indeed, that great decisions in the realm of thought and momentous discoveries and solutions of problems are only possible to an individual working in solitude. But even the group mind is capable of creative genius in the field of intelligence, as is shown above all by language itself, as well as by folk-song, folklore, and the like.  It remains an open question, moreover, how much the individual thinker or writer owes to the stimulation of the group in which he lives, and whether he does more than perfect a mental work which the others have had a simultaneous share.

                           GP&AE (73:20)

The review of McDougall’s approach to the group adds a few concrete descriptions of group formation:


Before the members of a random crowd of people can constitute something like a group in the psychological sense, a condition has to be fulfilled: these individuals must have something in common with one another, a common interest in an object, a similar emotional bias in some situation or other, and (“consequently,” I should like to interpolate) “some degree of reciprocal influence” {The Group Mind, [McDougall, (151:23)]}. The higher degree of “this mental homogeneity,” the more readily do individuals form a psychological group, and the more striking are the manifestations of a group mind.

            The most remarkable and also the most important result of the group is the “exaltation or intensification of emotion” produced in every member...

            The manner in which individuals are carried away by common impulse is explained by McDougall by means of what he calls the “principle of direct induction of emotion by way of primitive sympathetic response” [ibid., (151)], that is, by means of the emotional contagion with which we are already familiar.  The fact is that the perception of signs of an affective state is calculated automatically to arouse the same affect in the person who perceives them. The greater the number of people in whom the same affect can be simultaneously observed, the stronger does the automatic compulsion grow. The individual loses his power of criticism, and lets himself slip into the same affect. But in so doing he increases the excitement of the other people, who had produced this result in him, and thus the affective charge of the individuals becomes intensified by mutual interaction...

            This mechanism for the intensification of affect is favored by some influences which emanate from groups. A group impresses the individual as being an unlimited power and an insurmountable peril. For the moment it replaces the whole of human society, whose punishments the individual fears, and for whose sake he has submitted to so many inhibitions. It is clearly perilous for him to put himself in opposition to it, and it will be safer to follow the example of those around him and perhaps “hunt with the pack.” In obedience to the new authority he may put his former “conscience” out of action, and so surrender to the attraction of the increased pleasure that is certainly obtained from the removal of inhibition.

GP&AE (73:21-23)

McDougall also gives us five principle conditions for raising collective mental life to a higher level:  


1) There should be a continuity of existence in the group.

2) The individual members should have an idea of the function, capabilities, composition, and nature of the group.

3) The group should be brought into interaction with other groups.

4) The group should possess tradition, custom, and habit.

5) There should be a definite structure expressed in the specialization and differentiation of the function of its constituents.

[McDougall (151) quoted by Freud GP&AE (73:24)]

While Le Bon’s and McDougall’s initial descriptions of the group seem to criticize its influence as detrimental to the individual, with these later principles we are approaching our goal of true Group relationships.

Freud’s own viewpoint regarding groups largely reflects his purpose of psychoanalytic treatment of individual persons and, therefore, usually focuses on object-relations toward groups rather than the group as an entity. Nevertheless, certain features of the group are emphasized in his monograph:

 1.  After a discussion of hypnosis, its relation to love, and then crowd dynamics, Freud concentrates on the concept of “identification” which, in psychoanalysis, is a technical term. Identification describes the earliest expression of emotional ties with others. Identification begins in the family of origin and orientation. The child first identifies with the parent of same sex, learning to relate to the opposite sex parent. This experience leads to the formation and, ideally, the resolution of the oedipal situation. For our purposes, we shall summarize these findings by noting that the way people become members of a group reflect their early family experiences; the understanding of structural and even power dynamics of a group reflect family patterns (73:46). This process of the way groups come to form, as described by Freud, is detailed in the following:


2.  The emotional quality of the identification affects the nature of the tie with the leader of the group. Freud continues:

We already begin to divine that the mutual tie between members of a group is in the nature of an identification of this kind, based upon an important emotional quality; and we may suspect that this common quality lies in the nature of the ties with the leader.  Another suspicion may tell us that we are far from having exhausted the problem of identification, and that we are faced by the process that psychology calls “empathy (Einfühlung)” and which plays the largest part in our understanding of what is inherently foreign to our ego in other people. But we shall here limit ourselves to the immediate emotional effects of identification, and shall leave on one side its significance for our intellectual life.  

                          GP&AE (73:50)

3.  A primary group of this kind is a number of individuals who have put one and the same object in the place of their ego ideal and have consequently identified themselves with one another in their egos. (Freud's Italics)




GP&AE (73:61)

Freud is referring to the relationship of members to the leader who may be the actual person who leads the group or a more Ideal Leader (Freud’s term) who is not present in person.  The examples of groups and their Ideal Leaders that he cites are the army with its general and the church with Christ.  The leader who is present becomes the representative of the Ideal Leader.  The sergeant is here for the general and the priest is Christ’s representative (73:33).  Continuing with Freud’s features of the group:

    4. This identification with the Ideal Leader is a form of love but is purely emotional as any sexual striving has been repressed. The impulsion of sexuality strengthens group bonds (73:34-35)..

In my own (T. K. W.) observations, I have found it interesting and even surprising, to witness the anger and sometimes outright psychopathology that surfaces in group members’ behavior when the leader abjures from taking the traditionally expected role of leader of the group. This has also been described and reported on by group researchers including Bion: Experience in Groups (19), Rogers: On Encounter Groups (193), and various T-Group leaders: Bradford, Gibb, and Benne: T- Group Theory and Laboratory Method (21). To be fair and to give a more complete account, these non-leaders continue to allow group processes to evolve and ultimately, often personal growth enhancing dialogue develops by and between members, as reported by many participants as well as these reseachers. While leading groups of psychiatrically hospitalized patients, I have allowed psychotic individuals to share their ideas and perspectives. Although I retain the role of leader and limit the number of participants who are functioning in a confused state, I explain to other Group members what is happening in nondiagnostic common language—being aware of any fear or anxiety that may be experienced—I find that this helps move the community process forward. What, at times, seems to me like fairly weird stream-of-consciousness comments are responded to by Group members as if they were normal declarative statements leading to a creative change of direction. The other patients in the Group take this opportunity to establish communication in an open, mileau hospital unit. Their response is often more sensitive and empathetic than we so-called healthy individuals normally make.

    5.  Inhibition of sexual impulsion preserves some of the sense of individuality for group members. Full release of these repressed sexual feelings would result in what Bion describes more recently as a “fusion experience” in which the group dissolves in pairing relationships (19:63). Freud suggests that inhibition of this impulsion may also be the origin of sublimation:

Moreover, those instincts which are inhibited in their aims always preserve some few of their original sexual aims; even an affectionate devotee, even a friend or an admirer, desires the physical proximity and the sight of the person who is now loved only in the “Pauline” sense. If we choose, we may recognize in this diversion of aim a beginning of the sublimation of the sexual instincts, or on the other hand we may fix the limits of sublimation at some more distant point.

                    GP&AE (73:91)

    6.  There develops a relationship with the ambivalent qualities of love and destruction, this tension resulting from differential repression. Freud sees this situation as symbolized by what he calls: “the scientific myth of...the primal horde” (73:82).

Here we have a view of the original leader of the human group as father, possessing absolute power over the members of the family, especially sexual control of the women. The sons join together to overpower and kill the father. They, then, devour his flesh—a rather graphic acting out of the introjection process. The sons, then proceed to set up their own hordes, thus identifying with the father. In memory of the primal father, he is “...exalted into the creator of the world and with justice, for he had produced all the sons who composed the first group” (73:89). Freud reports on and details this theory with anthropological evidence (largely influenced by Darwin’s speculations about the development of human culture) in Totem and Taboo (72). Although, while Freud admits the sketchiness of this evidence, referring to criticism from a “not unfriendly” English anthropologist, he contends that this picture represents the psychological structure of the group, inferring the potential violence held in check in members’ bonding, as well as the structure of power in the group. This hierarchy is upheld and maintained by new actual leaders, each of the sons, acting as representative of the Ideal Leader.

            In the “Postscript” to GP&AE Freud expands theoretical scenarios regarding the source of the Ideal Leader for both the soldier and the member of the church. While the general is the soldier’s “Ego Ideal”, it would be considered improper, even a source of ridicule, for the soldier to assume the “identity” of the general. The Christian, in contrast, may be called on to develop the “Identity” or “Mind of Christ”. In an even more mystical view, closer to the experiences of some of the subjects William James describes in Varieties of Religious Experience (106:Lectures IV and V), the Christian may even be called on to perceive Christ as present—here, now, among us.

Violence, represented by the oedipal and primal horde myths, suppressed or repressed, commonly surfaces in identity struggles and crises. Erik Erikson (see Ch. 6, forward) researches normal and extreme dependency difficulties that adolescents have with their parents. Control of rage and destructive behavior can become important for persons of any age, a force in whole societies and cultures, dealing with what leads to authoritarianism, oppression, revolution, and even war. My wife Joline and I discuss the McAfees’ observations. She points out that Wallace identifies “undue dependency” as a source of resentment, anger, hostility, and destructive response. His experience researching Alcoholics Anonymous alerted him to these dynamics of compulsive behavior along with the related hostile act of “enabling”: encouraging this “undue dependency”. Edna also describes developmental identity struggles of children and adolescents from her practice as a school psychologist. Family therapy researchers referred to later in this chapter detail these issues.

In another topic of the the “Postscript” Freud conjectures that followers of the poet, the youngest son of the horde and favorite of the mother, consider matriarchy older and more basic psychologically, than patriarchy. The youngest rebels and leaves the horde to fare on his own. Erich Fromm, a social philosopher as well as a psychoanalyst, develops the topic of matriarchy. He has written numerous expositions, as well as critiques, of Freud’s works, often emphasizing political implications and comparisons with Karl Marx’s studies. Fromm sees the primal horde myth as an incomplete and one-sided description of social formation. His criticism is derived from 19th Century Swiss anthropologist J. J. Bachofen’s concept of “Mother Right”:

In his (Bachofen’s) theory of the matriarchal society he assumed that mankind went through a stage, preceding that of the patriarchate, where the ties to the mother, as well as those to blood and soil, were the paramount form of relatedness, both individually and socially. In this form of social organization...the mother was the central figure in the family, in social life and in religion. Even though many of Bachofen’s social constructions are not tenable, there can be no doubt that he uncovered a form of social organization and a psychological structure which had been ignored by psychologists and anthropologists because, from their patriarchal orientation, the idea of a society ruled by women rather than men was just absurd...

            While Freud saw in the incest fixation only a negative pathogenic element, Bachofen saw clearly both the negative and the positive aspects of the attachment to the mother figure. The positive aspect is a sense of affirmation of life, freedom, and equality which pervades the matriarchal structure. Inasmuch as men are children of nature, and children of mothers, they are all equal, have the same rights and claims, and the only value that counts is that of life...the mother loves her children, not because one is better than the other, not because one fulfills her expectations more than the other, but because they are her children and in that quality they are all alike and have the same right to love and care. The negative aspect...was also clearly seen by Bachofen: by being born to nature, to blood and soil, man is blocked from developing his individuality and his reason.  He remains a child and is incapable of progress.

The Sane Society (78:47-48) 2


Although Freud has given us quite a detailed account of the trends of relationships that take place in a group, several approaches are not satisfactorily developed. Freud deals almost exclusively with the bonds between each member and a central member, the leader. Freud only hinted at the between-member group bonds when mentioning empathy. His view describes members as being held in tension by their relations to the leader which are manifest expressions of latent family roles. Although members may empathize with one another, it is through this tension with the leader that the individual member relates to other group members. Freud sees empathy covering and controlling (sublimating) tensions and even controlling violence as identified in studies of oedipal conflicts and the primal horde. 

            In reviewing theories of Le Bon and McDougall, Freud emphasizes how group members both lose individuality but gain a certain strength and energy that comes with numbers. There are both dangers of loss of identity but a transcendental creativity as demonstrated in cultural development which includes language, religion and ethics, arts, science, literature, and even the ways that daily life is pursued and maintained. While individuals are productive sources, culture provides templates. Conversely, individuals are the source of this expression of culture—authors of these templates. Expression often requires collective cooperation.  

            The Group may function at a more personal level, representing culture in a fashion that the individual can participate with directly. Creative individuals may disagree with this description—how helpful culture is or how much of a hinderance—but in this discussion we have launched into a major issue that is a source of repeated Group dialogue. The individual members of the Group may even be introduced and encouraged toward creative development. Freud himself leaves this question—identifying the sources of creative expression—unanswered, at least in GP&AE. He discusses these issues in other essays, for example his various studies of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Moses. He does comment, briefly, on the mythical source of poetry in the “Postscript”. The youngest son of the horde escapes, thereby beginning a solitary journey. He may develop into an original thinker: the poet. In his solitude he is able to access his muse—poetic inspiration. (At this point in our conversation, Joline would bring Robert Grave’s White Goddess into the conversation.)  

            Fromm adds a description of the matriarchal dimension as the foundation of culture. The group is a representative of this culture, a type of crucible in which a structure of interpersonal communication develops. The matriarchal trends are sources of positive support. Later in this study the issues around the description of this support as “unconditional” will be discussed. At this point, however, we have to recognize that Fromm understands matriarchy to offer positive creative support at the expense of differentiation and independence.

          Without going into the detail of analyzing the various permutations which are possible sublimated family relationships (son-father, son-mother, daughter-father, daughter-mother, sibling-sibling, each a la Freud or a la Fromm) we may summarize that various elements of primary family relations enter into group formation. A dynamic tension is set up between father and mother and offspring, each with their distinct qualities and drives toward incest, nature, rootedness, support, belongingness, freedom, equality, growth, and individuality. These unconscious trends and the control or development thereof compete for prominence in group formation. Bonding and tension with leaders as well as other group members crystallize as structure of the group. We may assume that the place of a member of a group in that group, i. e. how he or she relates to other members and the leader, even the role that person plays in this microsociety, reflects the role of that person in their family of orientation.

Although an analysis of this structure could be developed from these contingencies, there are other aspects of the relationship between individuals and society that affect groups and group members to be looked into before continuing. We will return to the topic of group formation in subsequent sections of this chapter. However important these forces are, they do not exhaust the ways a group comes to form. In Section B the person-to-person factors will be explored through the social psychology of George Herbert Mead. There is also an unclear differentiation of what constitutes a group, a crowd, a mob, society as a whole, or, for that matter, a family. The study of the foundations of the Group in Section C through the topic of the Primary Group will bring these issues to light along with historical sources to some of our modern Group developments. The third section of this chapter will explore this area.

          Finally, much of what has been said about the quality of the individual’s relationship with society or the group, has been negative or, at best, critical. A vital topic for our participation in a Group centers on how the Group transformation may be directed toward healthy communications for the Group participants. This subject is the topic of the next chapter.


Existential theologian Paul Tillich develops and expands some of these cultural themes. In his Terry Lectures: The Courage to Be [hereafter CtB (221)], he presents a different, though not necessarily contradictory account of social group formation. While Freudian theory is largely developed as a means to understand and treat individual neurotic responses to social tensions and stress, Tillich considers his ontological study of courage and anxiety to relate to universal issues. He presents groups, societies, and even whole cultures as being structured by members in order to deal with the major “ontological” issue of anxiety in regard to existence: “being and nonbeing”. While anxiety about the uncertainty of life is an important focus, Tillich also identifies fate, meaning and emptiness, guilt and condemnation, as topics which humans must face. I will focus on the lecture that Tillich titles “The Courage to Be as a Part” (221:86); participation in the face of ontological anxiety. 3  

Three types of existential anxiety are described: 

1) anxiety in the face of fate and death; 

2) anxiety in the face of emptiness and meaninglessness; 

3) anxiety in the face of guilt and condemnation.

While the roots of neurotic anxiety can be traced to conflict in primary family relationships, ontological anxiety is an inherent part of human existence.

...anxiety is the existential awareness of nonbeing. Anxiety is finitude, experienced as one’s own finitude. This is the natural anxiety of man, and in some ways of all living beings.

  CtB (221:35)

An understanding of human existence involves consciousness of individual character; it also must include relational aspects. We are individuals who live in the world and participate with other people:

Ontological principles have a polar character according to the basic polar structure of being, that of self and world.  The first polar elements are individuation and participation.  Their bearing on the problem of courage is obvious, if courage is defined as the self-affirmation, we must answer: the individual self which participates in the world, i. e. the structural universe of being.

  CtB (221:86)

Two inseparable sides of this self affirmation are distinguished:

•  ...the self as self...separated, self-centered, individualized, incompatible, free, self-determining...

• ....self is self only because it has a world, a structured universe, to which it

belongs and from which it is separated at the same time...individuation and participation.

                      CtB (221:86-88).



These ontological descriptions are:

...concepts which characterize the individual self (lying) below the difference of valuation: separation is not estrangement, self-centeredness is not selfishness, self-determination is not sinfulness. They are structural descriptions and the condition of both love and hate, condemnation and salvation...

            The subject of self-affirmation, is the centered self (italics added, T. K. W.).  This is the mark of this and no other self, which can be destroyed but not divided.

CtB (221:87). 

This self, however, exists in relation:

But the self is self only because it has a world, a structured universe, to which it belongs and from which it is separated at the same time. Self and world are correlated, and so are individualization and participation. For this is just what participation means: being part of something from which one is, at the same time, separated.

                  CtB (221:86-88)

Participation, then, takes individuals beyond themselves.

In all these cases participation is a partial identity and a partial nonidentity. A part of a whole is not identical with the whole to which it belongs. But the whole is what it is only with the part.   

                              CtB (221:88)

In joining with others, humans both create and gain experiences of existence that they cannot have alone. Tillich presents the political state as illustration, relating social structural themes of various epochs of civilization to responses to the three different types of ontological anxiety. The statements here will refer to the most general category of the individual’s participation in a social group as a response to the threat of nonbeing.

The power of being a state can be shared by all its citizens, and in an outstanding way by its rulers. Its power is partly their power, although its power transcends their power and their power transcends its power. The identity of participation is an identity in the power of being. In this sense the power of being of the individual self is partly identical with the power of being of his world, and conversely.

                            CtB (221:88-89)

But, because this social existence is a part of the self as a potentiality: The courage to be is essentially always the courage to be as a part and the courage to be as oneself, in interdependence” (221:89-90). We shall meet various expressions of this concept of interdependence throughout our investigation as well as the apparent paradox of Primary Group relationships: as an individual’s membership in a Group develops, their individuality also develops. This is an especially important maxim of Wallace McAfee and a cornerstone in his approach to leading therapy Groups. This aspect of social relations will be further clarified in the next section of this study when the genesis of the self in light of self-other relationships will be discussed.

          Tillich details specific methods that have been used to deal with each of the three types of ontological anxiety:

Man as the completely centered being or as a person can participate in everything, but he participates through that section of the world which makes him a person. Only in the continuous encounter with other persons does the person become and remain a person. The place of this encounter is the community...His participation in nature is indirect and mediated through the community insofar as he transcends nature by knowing and shaping it...

            ...His self-affirmation is a part of the self-affirmation of the social groups which constitute the society to which he belongs. This seems to imply that there is a collective and not only an individual self-affirmation, and that the collective self-affirmation is threatened by nonbeing, producing collective anxiety, which is met by collective courage.

                           CtB (221:90-91)

Tillich identifies and characterizes different ontological approaches to the threat of nonbeing as developed in different social historical epochs:

            In primitive society full membership is signified by participation in rituals in which the individual faces and overcomes pain and death. Meaning is derived from the traditions of the community. Guilt is experienced as a deviation from the rules and institutions of that community (221:92).

            Although Tillich does not go into detail at this point, an important relation exists to many cult, fraternal, and secret society rituals of membership as well as the more complex stages of participation discussed in the next few paragraphs which re-enact this stage symbolically as initiation rite. Religious rituals of the initiate dying to the old ways and being reborn to a new purified life which, in the case of cults, includes membership, are discussed in the topic of Catharsis enlarged upon in Chapter 4 as developed in Psychodrama. These initiation rites may include pledges to defend the cult with one’s life, weapon (sometimes symbolic, sometimes real) exchange, even sharing of blood (When I was in a secret society during Boy Scouting this was actually practiced with finger-pricks—all ending in the Age of AIDS, although scary stories of what the present Chief used to do to initiates with a knife continue to be shared. I hope that I am not assassinated for revealing too much—just joking!), vision quest—hunting and receiving secret name, personal words, ritual, or information from a totem, being “born again”, even including the dedication ritual of baptism [Cf. Jung, et. al. Man and His Symbols (116), Psychology and Alchemy (114), Campbell. Masks of God (27) ]. There are also women’s rituals centering around fertility, birth, and other ceremonies. (Joline told me a little about Grecian robes and candle processions in DeMolay.) Being a man, I am not privy to most of these, although I did assisted in the births of my two sons, the ‘secrets’ that I may have learned were closer to being a Guide accompanying my wife on an extremely cosmic journey of which I could only participate vicariously. The amazing part of this experience was both times my new-born sons’ eyes popped open with seeming recognition! Riane Eisler and Carol Gilligan discuss these women’s rites. Cf. also Janet L. Jacobs: Women, Rituals, and Power and “The Effects of Ritual Healing on Female Victims of Abuse: A Study of Empowerment and Transformation.” Sociological Analysis, 50.3 (1989): 265-279.

          The feudal community of the middle ages, on the other hand, was characterized by the focus on guilt and condemnation.  While the church offered an antipode against death and meaninglessness with its traditions, sacraments, education, and authority, the recognition of personal guilt before God was a requirement and sign of membership (221:94).

          Tillich characterizes the modern movements of fascism and communism as “neocollective movements” in which “anxiety in the face of fate and death” is faced and overcome in the collective force of terrorism and the sacrifice of life that the individual is called on to make so that the community may survive. Meaning for the individual is identified with meaning for the collective. Guilt is the result of the sin of attitude or action which undermines the collective (221:96-103).

           Western European and American societies are described as “democratic conformism”: the means by which the individual participates in the “creative process of the universe” (221:108). These are approaches to dealing with anxiety about being-nonbeing by means of the exclusion of death from daily life and the belief of the continuity of life after death (221:110). (It should be noted that this was written in the early 1950s before the trend of bringing fantasized and dramatic death into our homes with television was fully realized. Possibly this newest method of dealing with death could be called desensitization through constant exposure, exemplified by the inevitable high speed—high stress car chase and apocalyptic shootout!) 4

            Tillich describes guilt as an anxiety with deep roots in the fabric of America’s history of Puritanism and evangelical-Pietism. Guilt as experienced by members of American society, is defined as “...shortcomings in adjustments to and achievements within the creative activities of society.” Rather than forgiveness of sins, a new beginning is demanded and attempted. We see here an emphasis on conversion and being “born again” (221:111).

           This trend will probably change as people recognize that there are certain limits to growth potential, at least in the biospheric range of our planet. The new beginning, then, may be translated from America’s tradition of geographic expansion to other fields, possibly new interests in society and the mind, protection and understanding of the environment or, on the other hand, denial and magical beliefs with a concomitant rising of tension with anxiety—as above so below. The importance of evangelical-pietism to the development of group culture will be the center of discussion later in this chapter.

           Finally, Tillich describes how a source of meaning for Americans and Western Europeans relates to the rate of production. Then, when limits to productivity are reached we may expect questions of the meaning of life to emerge (221:111-112). Anxiety may be a predictable response to demands both children and adults experience as our society reaches its environmental and production limits. While new directions may develop, the transitional periods are experienced with great turmoil. At the time of this revision (late 2014), this anxiety seems to be expressed in economic terms through discussions in the media about recession, inflation, unemployment, loss of manufacturing, debt crisis, monetary devaluation, for instance, and on a more immediate level, home foreclosures, fuel costs, and food shortages. Drought and catastrophic flooding: extreme weather, evident around us, while scientific studies demonstating environmental limits by predicting these events and crises, as well as possible corrective actions, have been ignored, at best, and openly denied or attacked at worst. {This type of extreme denial in the face of overwhelming evidence, fits better the Freudian [Sigmund and especially Anna in Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense (68)] description of desperate avoidance of awareness of what is happening.} There is also discussion in the media about whether we should take these issues seriously or fill our attention with (sometimes entertaining) trivia and gossip. From a therapeutic point of view, looking directly at anxiety gives us a source of orientation; avoiding it may generate a great deal of activity in a very chaotic fashion with more problems created in time. Immigration conflicts and terrorist acts, fueled by drought and resource limits in other countries, as well as present (2014) related struggles to limit carbon emissions and global warming, at least partially with the development of alternate energy and renewable resources, relate directly to these issues. “Tell me where it hurts yuh honey, and I’ll tell you who to call.” (Bob Dylan: from The Mighty Quinn.)       


Some rather intricate generalizations regarding social formation have been presented. We human beings gather together to generate power over that that we cannot control alone. We organize our associations along lines derived from biologically rooted experiences of family and, stretching back in time, the historical experiences of the human race. These define both our cultural and political structures. How our social groups are organized, including the distribution and application of social power, reflect our methods of dealing with existential questions of ‘being’ and ‘nonbeing’.

            Nevertheless, as we look forward toward our Transformation in the Group, we can readily observe that individuals do not relate to society all in the same manner.  Some members of society seem to lead their lives much more securely, with a greater degree of health. Part of the vagueness that exists in many of the writings of theoreticians of psychopathology and mental health is their reluctance to give a clear standard of a mentally healthy attitude toward society. Alfred Adler, however, presents us with a clear description which we may relate directly to group participation.

          Adler views the disturbed individual as suffering from an “inferiority complex” in which he or she feels like less of a person than others (2:50). To compensate for this deficit, a person often attempts to gain power and prominence over his or her peers. This act gives rise to the “superiority complex” in which a person’s life is lived out in the “guiding fiction” of either gaining special favors from one’s fellows through disabling symptoms, or striving to be better than one’s fellow, often by undermining them (2:73). Adler’s psychotherapeutic treatment goal is to encourage the disturbed person toward the development of “social interest”, an experience of concern for the improvement of all humankind rather than raising oneself above others (2:29-40). In 1933 Adler wrote a paper comparing the tenets of Individual Psychology, as he named his approach, to the viewpoint of the Christian religion, to be published with an essay by Lutheran Minister Ernst Jahn. Adler had to leave Germany in the early 1930s due to his and his wife’s socialist activism and Jewish heritage—his psychological dynamic upset the submissive followers of a truly narcissistic-autocratic national leader. (Tillich also had to leave Germany in similar circumstances.) He later converted to Christianity. In this paper entitled “The Psychotherapy of Christianity” Adler writes:

Just as from the religious viewpoint it goes without saying, as we have shown, that man must know himself to be before God in order to become a member of society in the highest sense, so in Individual Psychology the erring human being stands before the common sense and what is recognized as the “right” ideal of an ultimate society, the measure of all purified action...Since failure in life is due to error, it is also understandable that occasionally, in rare cases, a person may free himself from his error if, in spite of it, he has remained strong in the spirit of the ideal community. In religion this may happen, as Jahn points out, from the contact of the self with God. In Individual Psychology, during its mild barrage of questions, the erring person experiences grace, redemption, and forgiveness by becoming a part of the whole...The drama of the human soul which is redeemed through the grace of Christ from sin to freedom may very well apply to the person who is on the way to the ideal human community.

The Psychotherapy of Christianity (2:284-285)

I would like to focus on the process which is shared by many psychotherapists and counselors as well as religious practitioners. In Individual Psychology the therapist stands for the “...‘right’ ideal of an ultimate society...” The therapeutic agent helps the patient through a process of re-evaluations, then “...grace, redemption, and forgiveness...becoming part of the whole... ”  This is encouraged through a “mild barrage of questions”.  A Group is a natural environment for this process, standing for the ideal community and becoming the therapeutic agent.  The clarification or development of a moral standard is mediated by the Group.  The member then evaluates his or her personal attitude and behavior in light of this standard. We will meet many clinicians throughout this study with parallel approaches.


The theories of Freud, Fromm, Tillich, and Adler have given us perspectives about the genesis and structure of community. Their orientations are primarily centered in the relationship of a single person with society. Although a good deal is discussed on a universal or even cosmic level, there is little exploration of another major topic which is vitally important to Group formation. This is the interaction that takes place between people. This interaction forms the relationships from which the interpersonal Group develops as people meet other people. When we come to know others and they come to know us, our sense of ourselves is enhanced. This transformation is the topic of the next section.


In this section I will survey the social psychology and social philosophy of George Herbert Mead. His perspective is important to our investigation and necessary for our understanding of terminology, theory, and techniques described later. Mead’s view is influential in the philosophical outlook of Wallace McAfee, whose approach to Group transformation, in turn, is a major influence on this study.

          Mead contributes insight into three important processes of personality development, all resulting from interaction of people with people: 

1) Development of reflective intelligence and its necessity in the evolution and exercise of choice; 

2) Development of the mind;  

3) Genesis of the self. 

1) Reflective intelligence and choice:  Mead terms his philosophical outlook “social behaviorism”, and, corresponding with this name, develops his approach by initially focusing on the behavior of the organism. In describing human beings, however, he finds the behaviorism of Watson far too constricting to give an adequate picture (154:103). 5   While he develops an entire Philosophy of the Act (the name of one of his books) he makes a point that behavior is more than just acting.  It includes, for humans, an awareness of the act.  The following is from a collection of his papers entitled Mind, Self, and Society (hereafter MSS ) :

...the experience of the act would then be the sensation of what was going on; in consciousness as such there is an awareness of what the organ was doing; there is a parallelism between what goes on in the organ and what takes place in consciousness. This parallelism, of course, is not a complete parallelism. There seems to be consciousness corresponding only to the sensory nerves. We are conscious of some things and not conscious of others, and attention seems to play a very great part in determining which is the case…

                              MSS (154:22)

Although we are not entirely conscious of our perceptual experience, our awareness corresponds, in some ways, to our sensations by which we experience our environment.  Mead continues:

Now, put on one side the organism and its environment as a common object and then take what is left, so to speak, and put that into the experience of the separate individuals, and the result is a parallelism; on the one side the physical world, and on the other side consciousness.

                              MSS (154:32)

Our behavior, then, is a portion of our own perceptual environment and is, therefore, registered in consciousness. Here we see the basis of social communication:


The gesture is that phase of the individual act to which adjustment takes place on the part of other individuals in the social process of behavior.  The vocal gesture becomes a significant symbol...when it has the same effect on the individual making it that it has on the individual to whom it is addressed or who explicitly responds to it, and thus involves a reference to the self of the individual making it.  The gesture in general, and the vocal gesture in particular, indicates some object or other within the field of social behavior, an object of common interest to all individuals involved in the given social act thus directed toward or upon that object.

MSS (154:46)


When in any given social act or situation, one individual indicates by gesture to another individual what this other individual is to do, the first individual is conscious of the meaning of his own gesture—or the meaning of his gesture appears in his own experience—in so far as he takes the attitude of the second individual toward the gesture, and tends to respond to it implicitly in the same way that the second individual responds to it explicitly. Gestures become significant symbols when they implicitly arouse in an individual making them, the same response which they explicitly other whom they are addressed; and in all conversations of gestures within the social process, whether external (between different individuals) or internal (between a given individual and himself), the individual’s consciousness of the content and flow of meaning involved depends on his thus taking the attitude of the other toward his own gestures.

                   MSS (154:47)

It is this ability to reflect on our actions, developed through the mediation of others, that is the basis of our ability to choose our own behavior.

Reflection or reflective behavior arises only under the conditions of self-consciousness, and makes possible the purposive control and organization by the individual organism of its conduct, with reference to its social and physical environment...

                             MSS (154:91)

Our initial behavior leading to choice is our power of discrimination:

Man is distinguished by that power of stimulation which enables him to pick out one stimulus rather than another and so to hold on to the response that belongs to that stimulus, picking it out from others, and recombining it with others...

            ...(combining) not only the responses already there, which is the thing an animal lower than man can do, but the human individual can get into his activities and break them up, giving attention to specific elements, holding the responses that answer to these particular stimuli, and then combining them to build up another act...

            We can directly control the sensory but not the motor process; we can give our attention to a particular element in the field and by giving such attention and so holding on to the stimulus we get control of the response.  That is the way we control our actions; we do not directly control our response through the motor paths themselves.

                             MSS (154:94)

The sensations derived from the experience of our environment are then combined as part of the central nervous system, leading to our neural-muscular responses, to synthesize meaningful behavior.

Where we have to determine what will be the order of a set of responses, we are putting them together in a certain fashion, and we can do this because we can indicate the order of the stimuli which are going to act on us.  That is what is involved in the human intelligence...


We get the attitude, the meaning, within the field of our own control, and that control consists in combining all the various responses to furnish the newly constructed act demanded by the problem...


The central nervous system makes possible the implicit initiation of a number of possible alternative responses with reference to any given object or objects for the completion of any already initiated act, in advance of the actual completion of that act; and thus makes possible the exercise of intelligent or reflective choice...                   

                           MSS (154:96-98)

2 ) Development of mind:  The process described above—reflective awareness of our own behavioral interaction with others, exercising and giving rise to choice—is at the center of the development of the mind:

Mind arises in the social process only when that process as a whole enters into, or is present in, the experience of any one of the given individuals involved in that process. When this occurs the individual becomes self-conscious and has a mind; he becomes aware of his relations to that process as a whole, and to the other individuals participating in it with him...aware of that process as modified by the reactions and interactions of individuals—including himself—who are carrying it on. The evolutionary appearance of mind or intelligence takes place when the whole social process of experience and behavior is brought within the experience of any one of the individuals implicated therein, and when the individual’s adjustment to the process is modified and refined by awareness or consciousness which he thus has of it. It is by means of reflexiveness—the turning back of the experience of the individual upon himself—that the whole social process is thus brought into the experience of the individuals involved in it...which enables the individual to take the attitude of the other toward himself, that the individual is consciously to adjust himself to that process, and to modify the resultant of that process in any given social act...Reflexiveness, then, is the essential condition...for the development of mind.

                                                                                                                           MSS (154:134)


3) Genesis of self:  Following this development of mind, we find that each of us has a view of our self that is acquired through this social interaction.  Mead describes how the self forms:


The self has a character which is different from that of the physiological organism proper. The self is something which has a development; it is not initially there at birth but arises in the process of social experience and activity, that is, develops in the given individual as a result of his relations to that process as a whole and to other individuals within that process...

            It is the characteristic of the self as an object to itself that I want to bring out. This characteristic is represented in the word ‘self,’ which is a reflexive, and indicates that which can be both subject and object. This type of object is essentially different from other objects, and in the past it has been distinguished as conscious, a term which indicates an experience with, an experience of, one’s self.

 MSS  (154:135-137)

Mead asks how individuals can get outside of themselves to view themselves as objects—the reflexivity leading to the formation of self. His answer:

The individual experiences himself as such, not directly, but only indirectly, from the particular standpoints of other individual members of the same social group, as a whole, to which he belongs...

 MSS (154:138)

After a self has arisen, it in a certain sense provides for itself its social experiences, and so we can conceive of an absolutely solitary self.

                    MSS (154:140)

We are only touching the surface of the process. Mead goes on to elaborate an orderly developmental analysis of the genesis of the self. The earliest formation of the self is a “conversation of gestures”, a type of communication which humans hold in common with other animal life. For this conversation to take place there must be some type of cooperative activity between the conversees. This can be traced to neural mechanisms and the evolution of species as social beings (154:42).

            Development of meaning and symbolization arise in this process. In this way each individual has a common understanding of the gesture exchanged. This gesture may be a physical act or the emotional tone of a vocal exchange. For a person to communicate to another, he or she must evoke a particular emotional response in the observer.

            Activity of the individual in a social group is then likened to the activities of play and the game. As an individual develops roles to fulfill the rules of the society an orientation develops toward the self:

Another set of background factors in the genesis of the self is represented in the activities of play and the game. Among primitive people, as I have said, the necessity of distinguishing the self and the organism was recognized in what we term the “double”: the individual has a thing-like self that is affected by the individual as it affects other people and which is distinguished from the immediate organism in that it can leave the body and come back to it. This is the basis for the concept of the soul as a separate entity.

            We find in children something that answers to this double, namely, the invisible, imaginary companions which a good many children produce in their own experience. They organize in this way the responses which they call out in other persons and call out in themselves. Of course this playing with an imaginary companion is only a peculiarly interesting phase of ordinary play. Play in this sense, especially the stage which precedes the organized games, is a play at something. A child plays at being a mother...a teacher…a policeman; that is, at taking different roles...

                           MSS (154:149-150)

Then, at a later age, the child is involved in an even more complex organization, taking roles that constitute a part of an organized game.

If we contrast play with the situation in an organized game, we note the essential difference that the child who plays in a game must be ready to take the attitude of everyone else involved in the game, and that these different roles must have a definite relationship to one another.

            This organization is put in the form of the rules of the games. Children take a great interest in rules. They make rules on the spot in order to help themselves out of difficulties. Part of the enjoyment of the games is to get these rules. Now, the rules are the set of responses which a particular attitude calls out. You can demand a certain response in others if you take a certain attitude. These responses are all in yourself as well...

            The game represents the passage in the life of the child from taking the role of others in play to the organized part that is essential to self-consciousness...

                     MSS (154:151)

The game, with its particular structure and rules, is the prototype of community. How we learn to play our games shapes how we become selves in relationship to other members of our culture and society. The game develops when each of us can understand the roles of others and understand the roles that we play for others in our community. 6  

Mead summarizes:

What goes to make up the organized self is the organization of the attitudes which are common to the group. A person is a personality because he belongs to a community, because he takes over the institutions of the members of the community into his own conduct...

            After all, what we mean by self-consciousness is an awakening in ourselves of the group of attitudes which we are arousing in others, especially when it is an important set of responses which go to make up the members of the community.

                          MSS (154:162-163)

Mead discusses the specific relationship of each self to the larger group mind (although he does not use this particular term):

...the organized structure of every individual self within the human social process of experience and behavior reflects, and is constituted by, the organized relational pattern of that process as a whole; but each individual self-structure reflects, and is constituted by, a different aspect or perspectives of this relational pattern, because each reflects this relational pattern from its own unique standpoint; so that the common social origin and constitution of individual selves and their structures does not preclude wide individual differences and variations among them, or contradict the peculiar and more or less distinctive individuality which each of them in fact possesses.

                           MSS (154:201-202)

We once again meet a variation on the theme important to Transformation in the Group: individuality, indeed, our very personal sense of our self is a formation of group process as that process is reflected by our individual selves, the members of the group.  To become a member of a true Group is to become more of an individual, and a true Group is made up of individuals. 7  

The individual’s relationship with the group has been traced through the forms of society: the undifferentiated mass, then the structural foundations of social organization to the relationship one person may experience with others. This investigation has taken us to the far-flung regions of the nature of religion, the state, the family, individual and group mind, decision, and consciousness. We have still not clearly defined the group or the nature of the transformation we seek. In the next section I will clarify these issues. 


Charles Horton Cooley describes what he terms the primary group :

...human nature is not something existing separately in the individual, but a group nature or primary phase of society, a relatively simple and general condition of the social mind. It is something more...than the mere instinct that is born in us—though that enters into it—and something less...than the more elaborate development of ideas and sentiments that make up institutions. It is the nature which is developed and expressed in those simple, face-to-face groups that are somewhat alike in all societies; groups of the family, the playground, and the neighborhood. In the essential similarity of these is to be found the basis, in experience, for similar ideas and sentiments in the human mind. In these, everywhere, human nature comes into existence. Man does not have it at birth; he cannot acquire it except through fellowship (italics added, T. K. W.), and it decays in isolation.

                        “Primary Groups” (40:19)

We are looking for a special quality, developed in face-to-face interaction, sometimes called fellowship, or said to be acquired through fellowship.  Cooley describes primary groups more specifically:

By primary groups I mean those characterized by intimate face-to-face association and cooperation. They are primary in several senses, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and ideas of the individual. The result of intimate association, psychologically, is a certain fusion of individualities in a common whole, so that one’s very the common life and purpose of the group. Perhaps the simplest way of describing this wholeness is by saying that it is a “we”; it involves the sort of sympathy and mutual identification for which “we” is the natural expression. One lives in the feeling of the whole and finds the chief aims of his will in that feeling.

            It is not to be supposed that the unity of the primary group is one of mere harmony and love. It is always a differentiated and usually competitive unity, admitting of self-assertion and various appropriative passion; but these passions are socialized by sympathy, and come, or tend to come, under discipline of a common spirit. The individual will be ambitious, but the chief object of his ambition will be some desired place in the thought of the others, and he will feel allegiance to common standards of service and fair play. So the boy will dispute with his fellows a place on the team, but above such disputes will place the common glory of his class and school.

                      “Primary Groups” (40:15-16)

Cooley’s sociological perspective parallels the thoughts of Mead and Freud, seeing as essential components of the primary group the spheres of intimate associations and cooperation of the family, children’s play groups, the neighborhood, and community groups. These associations form the universal ground of human nature and human ideals.

          Cooley emphasizes the distinction of primary :

Primary groups are primary in the sense that they give the individual his earliest and completest experience of social unity, and also in the sense that they do not change in the same degree as more elaborate relations, but form a comparatively permanent source out of which the latter are ever springing.

“Primary Groups” (40:16)

The most fundamental primary group beyond the family is the “gang” which is important for inducting the child into the wider community.  8

Thus Miss Jane Addams, after pointing out that the ‘gang’ is almost universal, speaks of the interminable discussion which every detail of the gang’s activity receives, remarking that “in these social folk-motes, so to speak, the young citizen learns to act upon his own determination.”

“Primary Groups” (40:16-17)

The neighborhood is both the foundation on which social order is built and a source of stability for its members. Cooley, writing in 1909, could see ominous trends developing in our society as the order of this important organization was disrupted:

In our own life the intimacy of the neighborhood has been broken up by the growth of an intricate mass of wider contacts which leaves us strangers to people who live in the same house.  And even in the country the same principle is at work, though less obviously, diminishing our economic and spiritual community with our neighbors. How far this change is a healthy development and how far a disease, is perhaps still uncertain.

          “Primary Groups” (40:17)

In a similar developmental perspective to Mead, Cooley describes the basis of the Primary Group as being the family, then social gangs of children, evolving in organization, and finally the neighborhood.  In the Group a member is known and recognized on a first person basis by other Group members. 9   He or she also has a say in the Group direction. Intimacy and cooperation are the keystones. Again, the individual exists in relation to the Group. Wallace McAfee often points out, referring to Cooley’s Primary Group: a member’s absence, for instance, would affect the tone of the Group and be noticed by other members. Even the emotional tone that an individual brings to the Group would affect the tone of the whole Group. In our own Group experience we are attempting to develop a Group culture that values intimacy and cooperation, belongingness and determination, for ourselves and one another; this in the wake of family and neighborhood dissolution, the beginning of which Cooley observed a century ago.   10

          One of the characteristics of a neighborhood, for example, is constancy and stability through time. Writing more broadly about ourselves as members of a Primary Group, we change and grow, as does the Group. In the course of our transformation, we Group members are involved with one another, are familiar, even as we change and encourage one another to grow. Intimacy is a growing process, the heart of Group Transformation. Intimacy may include challenge and even competitiveness.

In closing this review of theoretical and philosophical literature I refer to two authorities, presenting two different perspectives of historical sources for Group Transformation. Jerome Frank writing from the discipline of psychiatry and a background of group psychotherapy research (65, 183), and Thomas Oden, representing the traditional viewpoint of religion (164), develop descriptions and summaries, specifically through their studies of antecedents of modern encounter groups, including the cultures from which these groups devolve and describing present day culture of which they are now central features.  


In his fascinating book Persuasion and Healing, Jerome Frank compares many far reaching methods of personal and social change including faith healing, religious pilgrimages, thought reform, and individual and group psychotherapy. He describes the development of encounter groups in light of the history of our society’s primary group sources. Dr. Frank relates how each person constructs assumptions through interactions with others and has a strong need to check the validity of his or her perceptions and feelings against these others. At first, the child is mainly influenced by parents and elders who are assumed to possess superior power and knowledge. In many societies, as a child grows older and becomes aware of the split between the generations, he or she becomes increasingly influenced by age mates. These peers are perceived as being more alike and as having more experiences in common than they collectively have with the older generation. Frank continues with a description of how this developing person becomes a member of his or her immediate social group:

As life goes on he acquires some group memberships by virtue of his position in society and others by voluntary adherence. Both become sources of validation of his own feelings and perceptions and of his self-esteem. A person dreads ostracism by groups to which he hungers to belong and experiences a powerful serge of relief and joy when they accept him. The standard expectations and emotional contagion of such groups can sometimes produce striking and permanent shifts of values and behavior, as in religious conversions, and these same forces can inspire members to extraordinary acts of heroism, self-sacrifice, or villainy of which they would be incapable of acting alone.  One thinks of the atrocities perpetrated by the staffs of the Nazi extermination camps, for example, or the martyrdom of early extreme cases, group standards over-ride even such powerful personal needs as self preservation, as shown by the followers of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, who held themselves to nonviolent action even in the face of threats to their lives.

             Persuasion and Healing (65:262-263)

America, Frank continues, was historically settled by persons who felt somewhat ambivalent toward their fellow human. While pursuing economic and political liberty and a highly individualistic ideal, Americans are also gregarious and are joiners of social, fraternal, and political groups (65:264). On the frontier, while living at relatively great distances from one another, people still joined together at times:

Prominent among such activities were periodic revival meetings characterized by intense emotional outbursts, public confession of sins, and for some participants, intimate sexual activities. Such features characterize some contemporary encounter groups. So it may be that to some extent the American hunger for group activities is an effort to compensate for feelings of isolation and suspicion. At any rate, we have always tried to maintain our own masks while being consumed with curiosity about what lies behind the other fellow’s.

Persuasion and Healing (65:264)

In a similar vein, Thomas C. Oden compares a few of the precepts of today’s encounter groups with earlier activities and teachings which were the heart of Protestant pietism and Jewish Hasidic groups, groups active in past two or three centuries. In his article “How Hasidic, How Wesleyan is Our Encounter Culture?” (hereafter “HHHW”) Oden contends that these religious movements, whose practices were especially popular in farming communities, had strongly reciprocal influences on the evangelical-revivalist tradition in America. Practices similar to the small, community centered pietistic and Hasidic groups have been revived in the modern encounter group movement. 11


The encounter group is a demythologized and secular form of a style of interpersonal encounter and community that is familiar to historians of Protestant pietism (and also of the Jewish Hasidic movement that was parallel to it). Pietism emphasized the here-and-now experiencing, intensive small group encounter, honest confession within a trusting community, experimental mysticism, mutual pastoral care and the operation of the spirit at the level of nonverbal communication.

“HHHW” (164:21)

Oden sees an irony in the modern reaction to traditional language of our Western culture and an accompanying fascination with imported descriptions from the East:

The question occurs as to why the otherwise intelligent proponents of the intensive group experience in the twentieth century have not recognized their Protestant and Jewish pietistic origins. Quite simply, the tradition of emotive and quasi-fanatical pietism has been long out of favor with the socially mobile intelligentsia and cultural avant-garde who form the clientele of the encounter culture. In fact the pietistic tradition is radically in disfavor today with almost everyone, including not only the universities and historians, but also seminaries, and even the churches and synagogues that pietism has spawned. Pietistic words like “revival” and “religion of the heart” and “conversion” and “testimony” are repulsive to self-consciously modern men. The irony, of course, is that although the words are no longer acceptable, all the meanings that those words freighted have been taken right back into the heart of the encounter culture.
            A curious form of dissimulation exists in the encounter culture. If you can convince the encounter clientele that the meditation they are doing comes from Eastern religions, and not from the West, you can proceed amiably. If you can apply language like chakra, satori and karma to your interpretations, instead of using their ordinary Western equivalents (which actually are more in touch with where the clientele is), you will find ready hearers, even though such terms come from authoritarian traditions that would be ipso facto rejected if they were Western. A group leader will probably be more acceptable if he can persuade participants that the “peak experiences” that he is facilitating have nothing to do with Western religion, and if Western, certainly not Protestant, and if Protestant, certainly not Calvinist Puritanism, and if Calvinism, certainly not pietism, against which all the participants understand themselves to be most certainly rebelling. The former Episcopal priest, Alan Watts, can get a hearing if he talks about Zen but not about Christianity. William Schutz is more likely to speak of kundalini yoga than of “the way to the supreme being,” or of chakras than “centers of body energy.”

            Puritanism is doubtless the worst of words in the encounter vocabulary. The irony, of course, is that it is precisely the pietistic wing of the puritan Protestant tradition (so strongly influenced by English Calvinist dissent) that is being reappropriated in current encounter groups. We hypothesize that the deepest roots of the encounter movement are in the least likely of all places: more generally in Calvinism than any other religious tradition, including all other Hindu and Buddhist themes combined.

“HHHW” (164:21-22)  12    

There is a close relationship between the ‘temporary society’ of the nineteenth century American frontier, with its charismatic, itinerant preacher, pietistic, and Calvinistic in teaching, and the charismatic encounter leader of today’s mobile society. 13

           Putting aside Oden’s cultural-religious polemic, he gives us a valuable survey of common features of the encounter group culture and the older religious community perspectives. The Human Potential Movement, as the broader present day culture has been named, has retreats where groups meet, with names like Esalen (named after the local Native-American tribal culture, some members of whom were once occupants of this isolated plateau on the California coast) and Bethel (named after the biblical location where Jacob had his dream of his ladder to heaven), a meeting place in the forest of Maine (136:22).

            Hasidism had similar development among remote Jewish communities of the Ukraine and Poland. The following tenets are shared by Hasidism, pietism, and the encounter movement, according to Oden:

  A. Small Group Format:

There is no particular agenda.  Each and every participant may speak from their feelings 

 and receive counseling from other group members.

  B. The Zealous Pursuit of Honesty:

            Any member may unburden themselves of their secrets.

  C. Focus on Here-and-Now Experiencing:

  Members are encouraged to speak from their present experience. Borrowing from the past is considered to be...a merely formal exercise, and consequently, a deceptive one.”

   D. The Nurture of Intimacy:

            Participants come to feel the shared group experience as a sense of togetherness.

    E. Revival as Marathon.

“HHHW” (164:22-23)

Participants become emotionally overwhelmed with silence, trembling, or crying. I would add to Oden’s descriptions several more exuberant emotions which have been touched on earlier in this study. These are sometimes described as a feeling of the spirit moving a person. This is also the next step in the rebirth experience, often accompanied by ecstatic speaking, dancing, or singing. This may lead to the sensation of being reborn. In the encounter group, participants achieve peak experience, what some Westerners consider to be satori (from Zen—but if you were to claim this to a Zen Master DUCK!), or insight or figure-ground shift, a more Western cognitive-educational, gestalt psychology experience. They often feel releaved of emotional weight or psychogenic symptoms. Participation gives members both permission and a framework to have such an experience. For some religious groups full community membership requires such an experience. In the encounter Group, participants who have peak experience. which may include a major gestalt shift or insight, an ‘ah ha!’ sensation, or various other altered states including a heightened sense of belonging or ‘homecoming’, may be welcomed by the other members as if they had just arrived. These ‘new arrivals’ are often hugged by two or three other of their fellows, or by the entire Group in a swaying, ecstatic fashion. These last comments are from observations of this study’s author while participating in various encounter, sensitivity training, and longer term therapy Groups. A secular-religious quality is a common experience for participants in many of these types of Group events.

            My own experiences include a 24 hour marathon Group during which I broke my toe while involved in numerous cathartic wrestling bouts: the entire group holding a person down while they scream, and fight. (Janov’s Primal Therapy and Bach’s fair fighting were being discussed, debated, and experimented with at that time. Wallace McAfee has a similar procedure that he calls “Controlled Rage”: Group members holding a member down voluntarily under “Deep Relaxation”, while he or she fights and screams, often naming persons from past events.) The value of similar processes and their healing qualities will be studied in more detail in the discussions about Catharsis in the next chapter and in depth in the chapter detailing Psychodrama. I have also observed Christian-Pentecostal church healing ceremonies which seem to be ritually very similar. Differences include verbal invocation in religious groups is mostly biblical language, not so much psychological; however, some evangelical healers actually hit their ‘healee’ in the head (presumably more symbolically or ceremoniously than actually very hard) where the afflicted then fall down, sometimes screaming or speaking in ‘tongues‘, rolling on the ground but then stand up thanking God for being healed. The ceremonies take place in front of a congregation of varied size who may meet the criteria of a crowd rather than a Primary Group—being mostly anonymous—the membership is purely observational with little person-to-person involvement exept receiving Catharsis—both audience and healee. The leaders of the religious organizations often derive authority from their own ecstatic experience (as shamans often do) or education, training in a particular religious organization including ordination. While the leader in an encounter group also derives authority from previous group experience, they may also be trained academically and even licensed by the state to do psychotherapy. These leaders often are challenged by Group members for their own personal expression of authenticity, honesty, and qualities of their expression of the tenets described above, a closer peer relationship.

            One of my most unusual experiences, albeit instructive in the power of mass hypnosis, chanting, and trance phenomena, was participation in a chanting, dancing session in a Hari Krishna ashram. For well over an hour we danced to repetitious drumming and finger cymbals, chanting:

           Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna,

           Hari Rama, Hari Rama,

           Krishna Krishna, Krishna Krishna

           Rama Rama, Rama Rama.

This was sung very sonorously and repetitiously. A pleasant sense exhilaration was achieved. Later in the session, members appeared to dramatize myths of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, being a hero but also trickster. (This is conjecture. I am barely familiar with Hindu religion.) Whether this was a staged performance or these actors were “possessed” is also conjecture, but possibly they were both possessed and inspired.    14

           Although there are certain similarities in the process of group encounter and small religious groups, there are several significant differences which Oden underemphisizes. Pietistic and Hasidic revival took place in a small community. Its associations were characteristic of a Primary Group. Participants were members of communities more stabilized in time-space than a week-end or a week. The charismatic leader traveled to them. They did not travel to a place to “encounter” strangers. Emotional or behavioral gains would be experienced throughout their everyday social milieu. Human potential retreats seem to be more of the tradition of pilgrimages to such places as Lourdes. (In this context The Canterbury Tales becomes a record of Group members recounting their lives in a very entertaining series of personal growth confessions!) Pilgrimages could last longer than a year and involve traveling through foreign and unfamiliar lands and cultures where they likely would encounter strangers, but not, at least purposely, to develop intimate interactions with them. This alienation from the environment would strengthen bonds among the pilgrims. The encounter group processes inspired by The Human Potential Movement continue to develop at present. For example, there are living religious communities which were developed in Catholic organizations but now include Groups affiliated with many varied denominations which even use the word encounter in their titles. (Cf. Wikipedia entry: Marriage Encounter for descriptions and listing. Obviously, some of these new groups, although sponsored by religious communities, have been stimulated by the encounter movement. It is uncertain whether these groups will develop primary community feeling and history by continuing over time.)

            Second, there is a basic difference in emphasis between the two forms. The traditional groups center around certain feelings and actions members develop toward one another. On the other hand, encounter groups see expression of feeling, sometimes anger and hostility as well as care and concern, as the means. “Trust” and increased awareness or ‘higher’ consciousness become the end. Oden finds similarities in following statements by John Wesley and Carl Rogers. While he emphasizes desirable qualities of both types of groups, I find their emphasis to be very different:

They begin to “bear one another’s burdens,” and naturally to “care for each other.” As they had daily a more intimate acquaintance with, so they had a more endearing affection for, each other (John Wesley, 1748).

A climate of mutual trust develops out of this mutual freedom to express real feelings, positive and negative (Carl Rogers, 1970).

“HHHW” (164:22-23)

Both descriptions emphasize healthy qualities that develop among members of the Group. Rogers describes “Trust” as growing from “...freedom to express real feelings...”, while Wesley’s description includes personal interaction and communication: “...bearing one another’s burdens...caring for one another... developing...more intimate acquaintance...and enduring affection for one another.”

          In contrast to the Primary Group, the so-called ‘instant intimacy’ of the present day encounter culture is of the order of an altered state of consciousness. It may be a temporary rush of excitement and feeling, but it may be gone when we come down or calm down. It may be a learning experience that introduces us to transformation. It may even help us glimpse unexpected possibilities, but without the ground of stability, it may also slip away. In psychoanalysis Freud called the on-going process of truly assimilating the sudden insight working through. Our Group may be called in Bion’s terminology a “work group”. With the experience of ‘instant intimacy’, however, we are reminded of Toffler's Future Shock, with its fast friends and mobile life styles.    15

Without the feature of knowing and living with one another, in the sense of watching each other grow over time, and experiencing concern, in a life sense, for one another, not only temporarily but in an ongoing basis, a group is essentially gutted. While the skin may be left hanging on a clean skeleton, there is little life. For this reason, encounter groups without long term extended community seem to be a flash or peak-group (panic?) response to the deterioration of the Primary Group, a process that many in our society sense is taking place. This is not to say that people are not affected by group participation. As a technique of transformation, encounter groups have a real and profound effect. Without the Primary Group experience, however, benefits for many participants do not seem to last. Increased sense of alienation may result from group generated emotional experience with no follow-through or continuity. In Persuasion and Healing, Frank cites a good deal of opinion and research to this effect. In the next chapter clinical evidence and research will be brought to bear on this problem, as well as the important indications that the group experience may not be only positive or benign. Some may suffer from it.

NOTES      Chapter One

1   Cf. Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science (25), deSantillana, The Origins of Scientific Thought (48), and Whitehead, Science and the Modern World (243) for histories of the development of these views that we have come to call Modern. As Charles Raven points out in his Gifford Lectures (187), the early revolutionary impact of biology (16th and 17th Century pre Linnaeus, Lamarck, and Darwin) is often overlooked in our histories of science and philosophy. (Although Whitehead considers his opus to be a philosophy of the organism which he traces to Locke.) Raven’s account includes review of ‘natural philosophy’ and ‘natural history’ as the discipline was called during the late European Middle Ages and Renaissance which is organized and developed leading to natural science. He presents a very detailed historical survey of the various studies in what may be considered the precursors to physical and technological science—creating an intellectual environment in Europe supporting the great names that we usually credit with the scientific revolution. Leonardo and then Vesalius present anatomy, beautifully and in detail, with complexly drawn artistic studies; alchemists, herbalists, and apothecaries also illustrate and describe many species of life as well as experimental processes and the material world that life is dependent on. Expanding on and continuing from Raven’s history, while Galileo is usually considered the wellspring of modern physics, he also has an impact on biology. As he improves the telescope, his experiments with lenses make possible invention of the compound microscope. Although there are several claimants to the initial invention of the microscope in late 16th century Holland, Antoine van Leeuwenhoek—a slightly older contemporary of Newton—first documents life forms that were smaller than the limits of our vision. He observes and illustrates microbes in a drop of water, bacteria, spermatozoa, cells in muscle tissue, and capillaries. In England this was followed by the physiology of Harvey and, in chemistry, Boyle’s Gas Laws—these men even better known in their day, founders of The Royal Society, than the younger Newton (who had yet to write The Principia, study gravity, motion, light, Chair the Royal Society and The Royal Mint.) Two of Galileo‘s major works that shook the geocentric world (besides perfecting the telescope, observing Jupiter’s moons—thereby exploding the seven perfect heavenly body dogma, mapping the side of the moon visible from Earth, mathematization of gravity, placing experimental, measureable method at the center of understanding the physical world view, etc., etc., etc.) were written as dialogues, three (presumably) friends (‘frienamies’?—a small Group) discussing their differing views of the organization of the cosmos: Discourse and Dialogue presenting these differing perspectives: Two New Sciences and Two Chief World Systems, respectively. The Aristotelian view of the organization of the universe as well as Aristotelian logical argument that was current absolute dogma (Bruno had recently been burnt-at-the-stake for promulgating the Copernican heliocentric universe.), is presented then challenged—introducing geometric modeling and a model of our solar system that is formed from mathematical economy (re: Occum’s Razor). We can find out things about the ways of the world beyond what we observe: “The sun’s not going down, sonny. The horizon’s coming up!” (Thank you Firesign Theatre!) Night is the shadow of the earth! Of course, Darwin was inspired by a multitude of studies for decades, if not centuries before The Origin, that had concluded the process of Evolution was the source of changes of life. (This includes his grandfather Erasmus; his father, a country doctor whom Charles accompanied as a child, probably taking evolution for granted.) While Raven criticizes Burtt for his narrow materialistic perspective (187:127), a dialectical debate still ongoing in the philosophy of science. In my own (T. K. W.) opinion and example: to measure and describe physical processes and material accurately and objectively, materialism seems the obvious result. ‘Positivism’, ‘Empiricism’ (per entry on Wikipedia),or ‘Instrumentalism’ are examples of related philosophical approaches for description of sense perception, measurement and experimental procedures. ‘Logical Positivism’ requests or demands objective definition of subjects studied or philosophical statements made.) Perceptual experiential description relies on aesthetic experiences. [The flame test for sodium is yellow, invisible through cobalt-blue glass; copper, bluish-green. Of course a spectrograph can mathematize these colors to wave-lengths, and record the results on computer record without a human observing, but it seems to me—a human observer—that this is all only relevant to other humans observing the results from these machines that are not creations of non-human processes. I fear that I have tripped into a sci-fi level of philosophy of science that leads to an infinite regress or Rube Goldberg device! Later in this chapter we deal with anxiety and the undermining of meaning that also frequent sci-fi themes and human nightmares. (Tell me, what is ‘relevance’ to a machine? 010+010=100?)] ‘Pattern’ may be a bridge between this experiential approach and geometry which describes the structure of nature and thought—mathematics bridging this gulf. Music presents an interesting example. Notation provides a fairly exact visual record. Other musicians read and reproduce an aesthetic experience. Beethoven became deaf in later life but was able to compose masterpieces by sight. Frank Zappa reports in his autobiography that for better than a year he wrote music enjoyably by notation. It was only later that he became curious about the performance, and had to raise $100,000 to hire an orchestra. The result is The Grand Wazoo and other albums that followed. In an other comment about the scientific importance of aesthetics, Stephan Hawking in many of his writings and lectures refers to Beauty as an important quality of mathematical and physical theory. Returning to the Renaissance, a prescience of Evolution is Cudworth’s Plastic Nature. Later in the same lecture criticizing materialism, Raven points out that “Of this mechanistic period in biological science the real state of chemistry was made.” He continues with a survey of history of chemistry which emphasizes mechanism, continues to geology (In a cybernetic manner becoming a major influence for Darwin who took Lyell’s Principles of Geology with him to study on the Beagle.), cosmology, medicine, economics, mechanical invention—all leading to the Industrial Revolution vomiting Capitalism with laissez-faire political economics of grasping possession for the “Inner Directed (Cf. Introduction, above.) and contrasting movements including labor, which promotes the humanization of the means of survival for the vast majority of our fellows (And the struggle still continues today!) (187:134-144). Although referring to the mathematical foundations of these sciences, Raven barely ventures into this field except comments in the next lecture (187:Lecture IX) about social complexities as evolution was applied and misapplied to politics and economics. Survival of the Fittest was a phrase that seems vastly misunderstood as the toughest s.o.b., with the biggest muscles and sharpest claws, on the block, with ignorance of the many other more subtle sources for survival, such as mimicry and camouflage, posturing, false or suppressed scent, multiple reproduction, etc., rather than naked violence. These issues even got me (T. K. W.) in arguments as a biology undergrad student in psychology and sociology classes, circa 1966. Raven’s final comments in his final lecture of Series I relates how science, religion, and our culture in general have created dilemmas which continue to loom over us: “...pioneers of atomic research...can share something of the shock caused when the greatest achievement of human research...was announced to the world in the name of two Christian democracies by the annihilation of a city. If this were the result of their science, if mankind could only use a source of energy, which might eliminate drudgery and transform the whole physical environment, for his own pugnacity, if religion and ethics, statesmanship and sanity were unable to prevent racial suicide...something must surly be done to reinstate a measure of moral control. The scientists of America and Great Britian were not slow to repeat the protests they had made before the destruction of Hiroshima; attempts to mobilize opinion for the formation of sanctions and standard of conduct were with theologians, philosopher, and men of letters was invited...Unfortunately the Churches were no longer ready to respond....Christendom seemed to have nothing to say. All of us who profess to call ourselves Christian stand together under that condemnation” (187:202-203).

           As our present situation has been broached, in our time, Kurt Lewin, Dynamic Theory of Personality (135) describes the psychological impact of the Modern, or as he terms it: “Galilean” view, from the perspective of gestalt and field psychology. Lewin is considered a major creative source for the development of T-Groups and Sensitivity Training [Bradford, L. P., Gibb, J. R., and Benne, K. D. T- Group Theory and Laboratory Method (21)]. Arthur Lovejoy, [The Great Chain of Being (142)] and Aldous Huxley, [Literature and Science (101)] chronicle the effect of the modern view on literature, poetry, the arts, along with responses from these disciplines. Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy and Wisdom of the West (201, 202) describe complex interplays of social views as they contend and influence one another during the three major Western intellectual epochs from ancient, through scholasticism, to the modern scientific-analytic outlook. Thomas Kuhn summerizes the development and various revisions of scientific perspective, which he names “paradigm shift” in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions (122). Although he focuses on the development of scientific theory, “paradigm shift” seems an apt description of historical changes in consensus social reality for whole cultures, applying to many human activities beyond and including scientific perspectives.

           Recent criticism of classical physics develops along lines that Cartesian duelism characterizing philosophy and physics following Descartes such as Locke and Newton, respectively, transforms into a more wholistic [and holistic (these two descriptions are related but different)] approach that does not view the mind and body as separate entities—correlating with the expansive time-space of Special Relativity and the gravity of General Relativity following Lorenz, FitzGerald then Einstein—also the sudden presence of Quantum Physics following Planck, Rutherford, Bohr, Heisenberg, among others. {The philosophical implications of these approaches continue to be actively debated—possibly attempts to revise and understand these theoretical positions. Cf. Fritjof Capra: [The Tao of Physics (28), Uncommon Wisdom (29)] and Stanislav Grof: [Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations From LSD Research (86] for details of a philosophical critique}. Danah Zohar: The Quantum Self: Human Nature and Consciousness Defined by the New Physics (256), presents a strongly colored (Could this be a technical term from subatomic physics?) New Age argument relating the psychology of consciousness to modern physics particularly quantum theory. A summary of her perspective may be exemplified in a brief quote: “What if...we share to some extent, our being conscious with other things and creatures in the universe—perhaps with the universe itself? Such questions become impossible to ignore if we take into account the knowledge of modern biology, or take seriously suggestions by philosophers and physicists like Alfred North Whitehead and David Bohm that even elementary subatomic particles might possess rudimentary conscious properties (256:52). (Incidently, our consciousness is shared by, in fact it is—a part of—the universe!) Kafatos and Nadeau: The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physics (117) present the latest paradoxes in the context of history and philosophy of physics, including possible proofs of Bell’s Theorem challenging “c”, the speed of light, as a basic limiting constant of communication across space-time. Whitehead is almost prophetic when he reviews a history of science, including math, logical deduction and induction, through the Greeks, Romans, Middle Ages, Age of Enlightenment (Locke seems a pivotal mind to him.), to modern science and beyond. Nearly a century ago he writes: “The stable foundations of physics have broken up...The old foundations of scientific thought are becoming unintelligible. Time, space, matter, material, ether, electricity, mechanics, organism, configuration, structure, pattern, function, all require reinterpretation. If science is not to degenerate into a medley of ad hoc must enter into a thorough criticism of its own foundations (245:16).

           Neuropsychological research of the last four decades regarding hemisphere laterality of the brain indicates a physiological basis for a duelism that is more complex and dynamic—relations changing as we change our awareness and attention—especially the quality of our conscious thought—than simple mind-body or mind-matter division. Cf. Robert H. Ornstein and David Galin: “The Physiology of Consciousness” (166, 167)] and David Galin: comparing EEG response of the two hemispheres of the brain to various tasks. [“Two Modes of Consciousness and the Two Halves of the Brain” (80]. Daniel G. Amen’s Change You Brain, Change Your Life: The Breakthrough Program For Overcoming Anxiety, Depression, Obsessiveness, Anger, and Impulsiveness (5), presents a neurological treatment approach based on brain imaging (SPECT) developed in these last four decades. The “Social Behaviorism” of George Herbert Mead which I survey as the vehicle for discussion of interpersonal interaction and development, detailed in the second section of this chapter, seems at first glance to exemplify such a duelism. This is only the introduction of a much more complex theme. Mead’s philosophy is considered to be an example of Pragmatism following Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. His discussion proceeds along naturalistic lines to develop descriptions of reflective intelligence and choice, self, and mind: conversing with other people in a social environment—changing in a developmental perspective with experience and maturity. This is an example of what James refers to as a “Pluralistic Universe” (105).

2   Feminist writers were developing extensive theory and criticism during and since the time of the first writing of this study. (Feminist critiques of psychoanalysis seem illustrated by the odd fact that Fromm, discussing the influence of mothers, would write as if this only lands on sons. He also refers to the ”incest fixation” as if this is the same relationship as maternal care. Here an important, even necessary relationship for nurture and development of the child by the mother is pathologized leading to the debasement of women’s vital role. Although I have maintained cited quotes from other authors exactly, in my own writing I use both genders’ pronouns, i. e., he and she, him and her.) Further discussion will be included in future revision. Cf. Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade (56) for an anthropological discussion of some these issues; Carol Gilligan’s In a Different Voice (81) highlights the educational-psychological issues and especially ethical development, comparing male and female perspectives. She also discusses the Freudian interpretation of favoritism shown by mothers for sons that may be the source of Fromm’s view. Vandana Shiva’s Close to Home: Women Reconnect Ecology, Health, and Development (207) is about exactly what the title implies. On a more eccentric note, for those with a taste for bad midnight movies [Some are great! (Thank you again Firesign Theatre!)], the 1940 potboiler One Million B. C. starring Victor Mature, Carol Landis, and Lon Chaney, Jr. is an interesting albeit kitsch dramatization of these conflicts between patriarchal and matriarchal primal hordes. (With dinosaurs yet!) While the patriarchal horde comes off as autocratic and violent, the matriarchal horde—extended family is probably a better description—is much more humane and loving.

3   Ronald Laing (127, 128, 129) and Rollo May (147) both discuss the difference between neurotic anxiety and ontological anxiety. While neurotic anxiety is essentially a personal experience, ontological anxiety arises as a component of human existence and is experienced especially during times of cultural stress. May writes in The Meaning of Anxiety (147:234): “...The conviction that Western civilization in the twentieth century is permeated by considerable quantities of anxiety (or anxiety-like states) has been expressed in different ways by Tawney, Tillich, Mumford, Fromm, Horney, Mannheim, Cassirer, Riezler, and others. Each presents the evidence and the explanation for the situation from the particular viewpoint of his or her own explorations. The common agreement is that underlying this anxiety are profound cultural changes, which are described in varying terms like ‘the crisis in man’s view of himself,’ or the ‘disintegration’ of traditional cultural forms, and so forth...In the second half of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, the belief in pre-existing harmony—that which had held people together in some kind of community in spite of their competition against each other—had also disintegrated. Penetrating thinkers like Karl Marx, realized that individual competitive ambition does not result automatically in the advance of social well-being. On the contrary, it was then producing feelings of powerlessness and isolation and increasing ‘dehumanization’ (Marx), estrangement of people from each other (Paul Tillich), and increasing self-estrangement. The ideals and social ‘faith’ which had dispelled anxiety now no longer did so; they only worked to allay anxiety in those willing to cling to the illusion which their old ‘faith’ had become.”  This concern was exemplified during the post World War II period by the work of poet W. H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety which also inspired Leonard Bernstein’s 2nd symphony of the same name. May wrote this book, coincidentally, during a year and one-half quarantine treatment for T. B., a similar milieu in which group therapy incubated (May: The Discovery of Being).

          Richard Chessick (How Psychotherapy Heals) compares Freud’s view of the sources of anxiety with Tillich’s. Freud disagreed with the concept of existential anxiety: “The high sounding phrase, ‘every fear is ultimately the fear of death,’ has hardly any meaning, and at any rate cannot be justified.” From The Ego and the Id quoted by Chessick who goes on to describe different ways that neurotic anxiety may be displaced into existential anxiety and concludes that existential anxiety is a sophisticated form that requies high ego strength. [How Psychotherapy Heals (36:128-129)]. This does not contradict the difference between neurotic anxiety and anxiety that affects many (all?) members of the population that May, Laing, and Tillich name “ontological”, often termed “existential”. I would also note that there are other theories regarding the sources of anxiety such as Otto Rank’s Trauma of Birth which he argued with Freud who was skeptical but also respected Rank up to their final break. Rank’ss theory seems to be supported by recent clinical developments, elaborated and demonstrated by the psychedelic psychotherapy research of Stanislav Grof [Realms of the Human Unconscious: Observations of LSD Research (86)], as well as Arthur Janov’s primal experience approach describing post traumatic-like experiences of terror that babies carry into adulthood, catharted through re-enactment during therapy—screaming—reliving the complete sense of abandonment, fear, and danger felt by a traumatized infant (110). In Imprints, Janov studies directly the birth trauma and “Rebirthing” as a therapeutic procedure (111). The topic of the genesis of anxiety will be revisited in chapter 6 with Harry Stack Sullivan’s views on the source of this primal emotion, the basis of psychological crisis.

4  Cf., Shneidman, Deaths of Man, Chapter 15, “Megadeath: Children of the Nuclear Family.” (209).    

            Additional note, 2007: Since the initial writing of this study the threat of “Megadeath” from nuclear sources does not seem quite as perilous, although other horsemen of the apocalypse: famine, disease, and a new rider, ecological collapse are pressing their presence. (2018: Well! Our political “leaders” seem bent on reviving this threat to all life. Why? Not enough Ontological Anxiety in our lives?) Terrorism, associated with “neocollective movements” of the Soviet bloc and Nazi police state when Tillich prepared his study, has developed other strains in other cultures. In the West, leaders of some authoritarian ‘evangelical’ establishments express their concerns and ontological anxieties in the ways that they deal with ‘end times’. Communism is no longer considered a major threat by this fundamentalist Christian culture, although occasionally they may throw ‘communist’, as an insult, at those who hold ideas with which they disagree. Organizational energies of these movements are focused against what they call ‘secular’ forces of their own Western society as well as non-Christian religions. At this time Islam is the focus of most of this concern. Members of these political ‘evangelical’ groups in the West feel that they are preserving and defending a system of values and beliefs that are under assault from both of these domains. Their sacrifice may be in the form of traditional committment to what they perceive as the national defense but also includes apocalyptic scenerios. These are ways of maintaining meaning in the face of limits of production as well as geographical-environmental limits. (Or they are simply after another culture’s energy resources.) I noted that these issues were developing at the time of my original writing in 1977. They have now blossomed into major conflicts on both national and international levels. (I suppose some may see these conflicts as having continued for at least the last 3000 or even 5000 years!)

            The lable of ‘secular humanism’ is also directed by leaders of fundamentalist evangelical organizations toward the study of the natural sciences. Biology in particular is blamed for the very environmental crises that this science researches and warns the public about. The life sciences also discover information about our world that contradicts a literal reading of The Bible. For people with inflexible views, an understanding of the implications of some of the conclusions of scientific research can have the effect of undermining a dogmatic world view thereby developing an existential crisis in their sense of meaning and purpose. Environmental activists have been labeled as ‘terrorists’ and some state legislatures have even attempted to outlaw activism on behalf of environmental protection (true of civil-rights, racial justice activists, also), in attempts to criminalize individuals expressing concern about the future of the human race.

           Continuing our analysis: there are cultural-economic pressures in many parts of the world where people are encouraged to sacrifice themselves even to the point of suicide bombings if they feel that it will help their community survive in the face of assault on their traditions from other cultures. Sam Harris, The End of Faith (85), points out that suicide as a social protest is not limited to Islam. Tamal Tigers of Sri Lanka, who accounted, at one time, for the majority of suicide bombings, are Hindu. The over-mortgaged farmers of India who hang themselves as protest in their fields show us an other example. Rather than social protest they have internalized a sense of shame, blaming themselves for their failure. In suicide, they have indirectly provided for their families, as their wives and children must now be supported by the state. Vandana Shiva has documented how a multitude of corporate-economic wars on the poor have led to such protests. [Cf. Water Wars (208) and Stolen Harvest) (208)]. Agri-chemical corporations have virtually forced the use of genetically modified crops on these peasant-farmers (as similar corporations are forcing entrance of genetically modified food into our own diet) causing decreased yields with disasterous results. Other examples include the Buddhist monks who made a striking impressions during the Vietnam War with self immolation, and present day Tibetan monks in similar protests directed toward China. Harris attributes self sacrifice to irrational belief systems. In contrast, social justice and existential issues would have probably been emphasized by Tillich. It seems that all of these trends combine to present us with a very unstable situation, socially and politically. Examples of fundamentalist ontological movements, in both the West and Asia, develop most strongly in subcultures that have minimal access to the resources of their society such as employment or access to basic means of survival. (This includes food, water, and living space!) This coupled with the lack of an earthly future that would be manifest by social mobility and some political say in their common plight, tells us that the issues of being-nonbeing are felt very strongly. These cultures, from both Asia and the West, assume a reward after death when all the conflicts and ontological tension of living will be resolved. On the other hand their leaders are often very comfortable financially and materially, in this incarnation, and seem to expect absolute support and obediance from their flock. Often their attitudes are encouraged by extremely wealthy corporations and individuals who operate with no sense of restraint or responsibility to the future of the Humanity. The strength of what may be called ontological defenses or even reaction formations is demonstrated by how fanatically the subjected members of these cultures defend their authoritarian masters.    

5     Watson’s radical behaviorism, in which the role of the human mind in the study of psychology and behavior is diminished, was a controversial and widely discussed topic among philosophers and psychologists preceding and during the 1920s, the time Mead wrote his studies. The Operant Conditioning of B. F. Skinner is a more recently discussed prodigy of Watson and, earlier, Pavlov and Thorndike. Bertrand Russell: “On Propositions” (199) and Outline of Philosophy (200), along with Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness (205), written a decade later, while resisting Nazis in the French Underground, present lengthy critiques of this general perspective. In a decisive and succinct passage Russell writes: “If you try to persuade an ordinary uneducated person that she cannot call up a visual picture of a friend sitting in a chair, but can only use words to describe what such an occurance would be like, she will calculate that you are mad. (This statement is based on experiment.) I see no reason whatever to reject the conclusion originally suggested by Galton’s investigations, namely, that the habit of abstract pursuits makes learned men much inferior to the average in the power of visualizing, and much more exclusively occupied with words in their ‘thinking’” (172:293). This topic remains controversial. Many studies in the discipline of Humanistic Psychology include reactions and critiques of this extreme behaviorism. Cf. Maslow (143, 144, 145), May (146, 147), Rogers (190, 191, 193, 94), Carkhuff and Berenson (30). Neurological hemisphere laterality research, summarized by Galin and Ornstein (68, 143, 144), present psychophysiological studies that indicate a neurological source for this intellectual lacuna that Russell satirizes, backing-up the need for a broader perspective. Aldous Huxley reviews these issues with their implications for social control in Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited (99), and The Human Situation (102). This observation is common in classical philosophy: Spinoza, who helped usher in the Age of Enlightenment with his treatise critiquing the use of what has come to be recognized as superstition presenting in popular presentation of biblical prophecy, and revelation, this used to support establishment dogma of authoritarian State and religious organizations in 17th Century Holland: “ I have said, the prophets were endowed with unusually vivid imagination, and not with unusually perfect minds... Men of great imaginative power are less fitted for abstract reasoning, whereas those who excel in intellect and its use keep their imagination more restrained and controlled, holding it in subjection, so to speak, lest it should usurp the place of reason” (215:27). Many of Spinoza’s comments are on the verge of snark, like Mel Brooks’ stand up philosopher (History of the World, Part I). Jewish satire and humor as social criticism has a long tradition. (Remember the ’60s poster: “Lenny Bruce Died For Your Sins!”) Wallace McAfee sometimes comments that it seems many of Jesus’ parables and stories were tongue-in-cheek—demanding insight to really understand—even to be taken with a bit of humor. One of Joline’s favorite examples of Jesus’ snark, while in one instance he is reported as saying, during a rant of highly critical similes: “Alas for you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You are like tombs covered with white ash; they look fine on the outside, but inside they are full of dead man’s bones and of corruption. So it is with you: outwardly you look like honest men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27). But! then from a different reporter of The Good News at another time: “Pass no judgment and you will not be judged: Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned: acquit and you will be acquitted: give and gifts will be given to you...for whatever measure you deal to others will be dealt to you in return ” (Luke 6:37-38). Spinoza’s treatises and his Ethics earned him excommunication from the Amsterdam synagogue! Joline’s favorite religious outlook was what she called The Golden Law: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” She found variations from at least a dozen different religions commenting that this is the point of all religion—all else being commentary.

           The apparent debate between behaviorists and humanists requires a bit more discussion. Reading Watson’s popular writings, it is sometimes difficult to discern a great deal of difference between the therapeutic environment that is the basis of his approach and Rollo May’s for instance. Watson sets up certain structure and technique to deliver his therapy and seems that he would be quite personable explaining his procedures to a client. Both Watson and May seem concerned, probably warm and friendly. On the other hand, Watson writes: “... The behaviorist now affirms that there is no faculty or process of memory—there is only learning, and loss in skill which comes from lack of practice” (231:65). On the other hand, he seems to use fairly common sense language in his writings, including referring to experiences which I identify as thoughts and emotions, stimuli, and remembered situations. But then he asserts: “...You say there is such a thing as consciousness, that consciousness goes on in you—then prove it. You say that you have sensations, perceptions, and images—then demonstrate them as other sciences demonstrate their facts” (231:7). It is true, to do many types of behavioral therapy, focusing on observable behavior and visceral-hormonal reactions, rather than mental experience, is a common approach. In dealing with anxiety, for instance, I sometimes ask clients to breathe deeply and put aside their experience for the moment. As Watson recommends (231:Ch. 3) I focus on the visceral “behavior of the gut” relaxing that inner sensation (note: inner sensation!) of tightness and stress. I have never had a client not seem to understand what I am talking about except patients who have been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia or occasionalyl conversion hysteria. Rollo May, practicing humanistic-existential-psychoanalytic therapy, might, if I dare speak for him, discuss with the client the meaning of anxiety—the situation or type of communication involved, or with whom. In this process clients may decide to change behavior or practice a less destructive response. Herbert Benson, who researches the healing, psychosomatic properties of meditative type of procedures, develops the phrase “remembered wellness” to describe an experience with high healing potential (15, 16). Talking to the client about an anxiety causing situation repeatedly, calmly, even asking him or her to visualize a certain stressful situation while relaxing and allowing the images to fade or float outside of an imaginary bubble surrounding us may lead to a type of desensitization of which behaviorist strongly approve. I have now entered into a complex polemic or dialectic attempting to show how divergent approaches may lead to a synthesis. My final comment is to you, the reader: Like Russell’s attempt to convince his “uneducated person” that she has no mental imagery, if I were to try to convince you that you have no consciousness or memories (assuming you have not recently had a stroke or suffer from Alzheimer’s disease) wouldn’t you consider me a bit off?

6    There are significant parallels between developmental stages Mead describes and the second, third, and fourth stages of Piaget’s studies. The Preoperational Stage has the character of animistic thinking. Concrete Operations centers on rules, while Formal Operations manipulate rules abstractly (173, 174, 176, 177 ). Slavson also presents transcripts of group therapy sessions with children at different ages as well as adults. Subject matter of the discussions in Slavson’s groups all shows increasing complexity along similar developmental lines.  There is an age-related progressive sophistication which may be correlated with these developmental stages in the group members’ methods of dealing with issues such as conflicts, symptoms, dreams, and problem-solving approaches (212).

           Piaget and his associates present a very complex and entertaining picture of the ways children develop rules and ultimately moral judgment at different ages and levels of sophistication: Moral Judgment of the Child (174). These researchers watch boys play marbles, describing how they develop different games, form and understand rules including changing them, and ultimately understand violations and how to deal with these. It is true that Piaget’s work has been criticized as bias toward boys and European culture. For example, there are no girls in this study. (Girls were included as I played marbles as a child and they were very competent players, probably better at some intricate shots due to their superior fine muscle co-ordination than boys, who could, of course, blast the whole circle with a ‘boulder’ and their gross muscle activity and short patiance.) The children begin by learning the names of the marbles, different structures of playing fields, and names of different games. As they mature they develop playing skill and learn the rules of the games. Finally they become interested and focused on making and changing rules: “ will happen that one and the same game (like the Square game) played in the playground of one and the same school admits on certain points of several different rules. Children of 12 to 13 are familiar with these variants and they generally agree before or during the gave (sic—mistake in the book) to choose a different usage to the exclusion of others...they undoubtedly condition the judgment which the child will make on the value of the rules” (174:16-17). Would that we adults could manage such smooth transitions in our political “games”. Carol Gilligan discusses the issues of Piaget’s singular focus on boys (81). She reviews Kohlberg’s research on moral development (expanding on Piaget) then develops her own study presenting stories which illustrate ethical dilemmas, comparing response from both boys and girls. She finds that boys tend to focus on the problem that an individual faces including issues of justice, while girls take into account the effect on others and the society as a whole: ‘ethic of care’ compared to an ‘ethic of justice’. Martha Stout summarizes Gilligan’s work and elaborates on this difference with anthropological research of Miller and Bersoff comparing American moral development with Hindu Indian. They find the latter focused on interpersonal responsibiltiies while for Americans this is “occasion for personal decision making” (216:177-178). Ruth Benedict presents similar cultural contrasts leading to description of cultural relativism with her and other anthropologists’ field research early in the 20th Century describing Pueblo, later Kwakuitl and the Dobu of New Guinea. She names these differences with Nietzsche’s apppellations: Apollonian, emphasizing logic, order and calm, contrasting with Dionysian, in which wild abandon, originality (ecstatic experience) is valued [Patterns of Culture (13)]. A possible example of exclusion of non-European examples in Piaget’s studies, which might be rationalized as a naïve 1940s and 50s provincial French-Swiss attitude, is their comment that marbles “ now played in different parts of the world a (it is actually played by negro children” (174:15). *SURPRISE!* I would assume that marbles may have been invented in Africa! Wikipedia seems to indicate Babylon and Mesopotamia, but there is also evidence of marbles all over the World including Australia.

7     Twentieth Century philosophy has studied the synergistic development of social and individual consciousness. Henri Bergson presents the biological basis of this process: “...the tendency to individualize is opposed and at the same time completed by an antagonistic and at the same time complementary tendency to associate, as if the manifold unity of life, drawn to the direction of multiplicity, made so much the more effort to withdraw itself on to itself... Hence, throughout the whole realm of life, a balance between individuation and association” Creative Evolution (18:259). He then traces this tendency from microbial life, through and including multi-cell colonial organisms, to higher animals, and ultimately humans (183). In Democracy and Education John Dewey inquires regarding this relationship: “We have seen that a community or social group sustains itself through continuous self-renewal, and that this renewal takes place by means of the educational growth of the immature members of the group. By various agencies unintentional and designed, a society transforms uninitiated and seemingly alien beings into robust trustees of its own resources and ideals” (50:10). Robert Heilbroner presents a contrasting vision in his popularized introduction to the history of the development of economic thought: The Worldly Philosophers: “For the economists waited on the invention of a third solution to the problem of survival. (Heilbroner’s lyrical description of the first two “solutions” is “...the pull of tradition or the whip of authority.”) ...the development of an astonishing arrangement in which society assured its own continuance by allowing each individual to do exactly as he saw fit—provided he followed a central guiding rule. The arrangement was called the ‘market system,’...each should do what was in his best monetary advantage... the interplay of one person against another resulted in the necessary task of society getting done” (98:20-21). Dewey, in contrast, seems to be very skeptical of the health of individuals who hold such a rugged stance. He is quite critical toward those who consider dependency to be nothing but a problem to be overcome: “From a social standpoint dependency denotes a power rather than a weakness; it involves interdependence. There is always a danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual. In making him more self-reliant, it may make him more self-sufficient; it may lead to aloofness and indifference. It often makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to develop the illusion of being able to stand and act alone—an unnamed form of insanity, which is responsible for a large part of the remedial suffering of the world (50:44).

8    The term ‘gang’ seems to have been recently co-opted to refer to violent street or prison ‘gangs’. Addams and Cooley were, at the time of their writings, referring to the spontaneous social formation of children. This gang was considered a positive, even necessary developmental experience. Like ‘group dynamics’, it seems that ‘gang dynamics’ can be misused by sociopathic personalities to promote authoritarian violence. I have observed members of these anti-social gangs while teaching Adult Basic Education classes for inmates of the California prison system (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation). The appeal to prison gang and street gang members is similar in some ways, on a primative level, to early neighborhood gangs of children. In the case of prison gang members, there is a regressive element as inmates are chronologically adults. Reasons for membership in these gangs include identity, social structure (rules), a certain degree of ‘concern’ from leaders (parent surrogates), a place in society (meaning), and, above all, protection. The price is high, however. Membership requirements include being a ‘soldier’ or ‘mule’ in a very rigid, authoritarian organization where a gang member would be expected, even ordered by their ‘shot callers’, to participate in criminal, often violent activity. While healthy childhood gangs help the individual deal with developmental tasks, criminal gang members are frozen at certain stages of maturation. They continue to act and be treated as Pre- or Concrete-operational or latent stage children. As adults they are dependent on their ‘leaders’ for a sense of identity and direction that goes beyond the physical protection and safety that may be needed for survival. In contrast, in the spontaneous neighborhood gangs that Addams describes, healthy developmental organization helps members individuate and grow. Cf. description of development of group membership by Jerome Frank in the next section. Also see footnote 1 of Chapter 2 for discussion of the difference between a Group experience and a crowd or herd. Cf. Jankowski:   Islands in the Street: Gangs and American Urban Society (109). A student inmate described to me how his gang leaders ordered him to attend school and study in his cell. This is part of gang discipline, something that he had not received from family, in a more humane, supportive manner, on the streets.

9    Hereafter, I will use the word “Group” to designate a Primary Group in which members know one another as individuals. This is an important distinction that is often emphasized by Wallace McAfee in contrast to use of the word by Tillich, Freud, Le Bon, and McDougall which is much more general and may indicate a crowd, any gathering of people with some common focus but not necessarily toward becoming acquainted with one another. You may have noticed that I capitalized the ‘G’ in my previous references to Group when I was referring to a Primary Group or my own Group, as well as other Groups,with the qualities of Tranformation. 

10    An issue which has been somewhat avoided (repressed?) should be broached at this point. This is the shadow or negative side of these developmental interactions. We all grew up in families, neighborhoods, and went to schools where everyone did not get an even break. Many of the comments that I have cited regarding “community” assume beneficial effects. This is not true for many members that become stuck in negative roles. While I have alluded to social organizations that have had damaging effects for members, I have commented little about these members who are often the receptical of these problems. Systems and family therapists point out and document the ways that individuals’ psychological stresses and pathologies are often responses to primary group, community, and family pathologies. Once an individual is established in a social role of ‘scapegoat’, established as ‘a loser’ or ‘nerd’ [note that this role has more recently come to indicate certain advantages (if not dates) at times.], even ‘diagnosed’ as schizophrenic, autistic, bipolar, ADHD, delinquent or mentally ill—the identified patient—healthy transformation may necessarily involve perceptual, as well as behavioral change of all members of the family or community. It is not uncommon, during family therapy, for the person who seems the most troubled, initially, to improve, and other family members develop issues that, then, must be addressed. Cf. research following Ackerman, Psychodynamics of Family Life (1); Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (13); Berger, Beyond the Double Bind: Communication and Family Systems, Theories, and Techniques with Schizophrenics (17); Haley, Strategies of Psychotherapy (88); “Research on Family Patterns” (87); Uncommon Therapy: the Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H. Erickson, M. D. (89); Conversations with Milton H. Erickson (91); Laing, [Politics of Experience (129); Politics of the Family (130)]; Watzlavick, Beavin, and Jackson, Pragmatics of Human Communication (237); Whitaker and Napier, The Family Crucible (240). The Milan school of family therapy centered around Mara Selvini Palazzoli, greatly influenced by Bateson, Haley, and other members of the ‘Stanford schizophrenia project’ [Family Games (167) and Paradox and Counterparadox (168)] even treats or prescribes therapeutic exercises to apparently healthy family members (Sometimes interpretations are even given to referring doctors.). This activity precipitates some radical relational shifts in these families, resulting in improvement of the identified patient and often freeing the other family members to also improve their lives.

11    Back, Beyond Words (11) and Ruitenbeek, The New Group Therapies (170) cite or have also done studies where similar encounter-religious parallels are drawn. It is probably also significant that Carl Rogers’ early inspiration and interest in counseling and psychotherapy, according to his biographer, came from his experiences in YMCA self improvement groups (101).

          Martin Buber, who is described by different sources as a representative of Jewish existentialism, Zionism, scholar of Hasidism, raised by his grandfather in an Orthodox and Hasidic tradition, presents in I and Thou perspective that exemplifies these, including Jesus’s attitude that was the foundation for Christian processes of personal interaction—the ground for beneficial Group qualities in these frontier religious communities:

     When I confront a human being as my You and speak the basic word I-You to him, then he is no thing among things nor does he consist of things.

           He is no longer He or She, limited by other Hes or Shes, a dot in the world grid of space and time, nor a condition that can be experienced and described, a loose bundle of named qualities. Neighborless and seamless, he is You and fills the firmament. Not as if there were nothing but he; and everything else lives in his light.

                I and Thou (22:59)

     Jesus’ feelings for the possessed man is different than his feelings for the beloved disciple; but the love is one. Feelings one has; “love” occurs.

                I and Thou (22:66)

12    While I am referencing Oden’s comparison between encounter groups and small groups centered in religious communities of European-American origin and culture, his East-West comparative  metaphysics seems to me to be inaccurate. Chakras probably can be correlated to “centers of  body energy” although the underlying organization may differ between West and East. Karma and satori are ideas or processes that involve a different sense of time and social consensus than is the common experience of Westerners. If there are Western equivalents, they are not obvious. Maslow is usually identified as the developer of studies of peak experience. His examples are mostly Western, although he gives a few examples from Asia. [Cf. Religions, Values, and Peak Experience (143) and The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (145).] (There seems to be a strong corollary, although not a complete identity, between peak experience and various types of altered state and trance experiences referred to in other parts of this study.) I will leave further discussion to the fields of comparative culture and religion. Because Oden refers to Alan Watts I too will refer to him for this topic: Cf. The Way of Zen, The Joyous Cosmology, The Surpreme Identity, Psychotherapy, East and West, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who  You Are, In My Own Way: an Autobiography among many others that he has written on this subject. 

13    Evangelical organizations (referred to in footnote 4) are presently (2007, 2016) involved in attempting to shape the direction of society in the United States and probably throughout the world. While this type of activism appears to be on the ascent, similar militant organizing has undoubtedly taken place throughout most of our history. This type of movement seems to be, at least partially, a reaction to the counter-culture described by Oden. Evangelicals are often organized around charismatic leaders. Small group dynamics are not part of this scene. Development of ‘mega-churches’ represents a trend away from intimate community, although they may promote Sunday schools and Bible study classes that can be more personal. These classes usually focus on religious teaching, however, and members’ benefits may be more of a by-product. (Cf. McDougall’s evaluation of the sense of strength and belonging as motivation to “run with the pack” in Section A of this chapter, above.) In a recent study of this approach to combining politics and authoritarian religion. Chris Hedges makes two important distinctions. In contrast to the political-‘evangelical’ organizations, the older, traditional evangelical and fundamentalist religions focus much more on personal morality or what he terms “getting right with God”. On the other hand, religions presently attempting to exert absolute political power are referred to as “dominionist”, reflecting their desire for totalitarian governmental control. Hedges describes the ‘mega-church’ study groups that he attended as engaging in a process that he likens to thought reform, i. e. forced confession and re-programming to adherence to values imposed by charismatic leaders. The members learn which of these values to promote to be one of the elect, bound for heaven, and which are associated with the devil or treason in the political realm. They are then subjected to intense examination of their personal beliefs and even thought processes [Cf. Chris Hedges’s American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America (95), and Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the Twentieth Century (172)]. Further investigation of this particular brand of social cult phenomena is beyond the scope of this study except to point out the difference between healthy social organizations that promote critical thinking and individual development in contrast with organizations that demand totalitarian conformism.  

14    Joline and I attempted to ‘rescue’ a former student who had dropped out of college, joining an ashram of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, given the car parents had provided with complete dedication to this organization. The men had shaved heads except for a long lock of hair tied by a ribbon, and dressed as if in India as the other members did. The environment of the ashram was truly other-worldly. Besides dressing in Indian fashion (at least as would be shown in movies—I have never been to India), cooking and eating Indian food, they were taught by wandering mendicant monks, who traveled the string of ashrams, sitting on the floor rocking as they recounted stories from the Mhabharata and specifically the Bhagavad-gita, in very monotonous droning voices after extended community dancing and chanting. Our friend did not leave at that time but contacted me twice several years later to inquire about becoming a psychotherapist. The first time the dress was that of a devotee; the second fairly conventionally American in appearance. I asked about the ashram adventure, but the question was dodged, only describing it as interesting. It was not clear to me how much of the devotee remained. I also spoke later to an other member who had become a mother while in the same ashram. She and several other mothers had formed their own communal household ‘family’. Although male members were still involved in support and even socially, they did not live with the women and children. It was not clear whether this was a typical social organization for other ashrams or even typical of other families with children within this ashram. These are examples of phenomena of the late ‘60s—early and late ’70s of what Jacob Needleman termed the “New Religions”. Harvey Cox wrote about this in Turning East: Why Americans Look to the Orient for Spirituality, and What That Search Can Mean to the West. Cox himself was raised in a Pentecostal tradition, as he discusses in a book about Baptist religion, one of many treatments about modern approaches and problems.

15    Cf. Carl Rogers’ statement: “I believe there will be possibilities for rapid development of closeness between and among persons, a closeness which is not artificial, but is real and deep, and which will be well suited to our increasing mobility of living. Temporary relationships will be able to achieve the richness and meaning which heretofore have been associated only with lifelong attachments” (192).