Monday, March 9, 2015

Collective Consciousness, Mob Mentality, and Personal Energy

Yesterday was a funky day; I realized that it wasn’t just for me, but for so many others. But I have something to say about it (as with everything else). Before I do, I’d like to start off with this (don’t worry; there won’t be a test later):

The idea of collective consciousness began initially as a part of studies done of transcendental meditation and the ‘unified field’ consciousness within a group, but has since been picked up as being viably scientific. Studies have not only been done on families, countries and the more common groups but also on the stock market, marketing and trends in consumer behavior. Other variations (and not as much of a stretch as one may think) are peer pressure, the (mistaken) perception and current popular references of lemmings, mass hysteria, and even in the ideas of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and ‘misery loves company’. Mob mentality is the term used to define the negative of the herd mentality, the cooperative behavior of groups.

What do all of these have in common? The fact that each group shares a particular belief or set of beliefs that arise out of a shared set of emotions. The emotional base is the energy behind all of these collectives, no matter the size.

There is energy in emotions. The energy that comes from individual people’s emotions combine to create a larger field, a collective. The stronger the emotions, the stronger the energy. Scientific data aside (and there is plenty), this can be proven simply by walking in a room where two people were having an argument. They may have immediately stopped when you walked in but you are aware that they were arguing, even if they smiled at you in greeting. Why? What’s the common phrase? The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. That is a direct reference to the energy outside of and created by the two people arguing that is palpably felt by others. Collective consciousness occurs when others around are experiencing emotional energy that matches or has a frequency close to that energy they come into contact with. If the energy matches, they can join together; if the frequencies are close enough, they can be ‘persuaded’—so to speak—to follow, and the field gets bigger. If you were already experiencing negative emotions when you walked into the room, theirs would feed yours and you would leave feeling worse. If your energy was more positive, you would be able to brush it off without a thought.

In many of the negative cases the emotional base is fear (fear of exclusion, fear of being singled out, fear of being considered different, fear of harm, etc.) and/or greed. Love and happiness are equally strong emotions. But the magnetic attraction of energies happen only when their frequencies match. For comparative purposes, the widely-used opposite ends of the scale are fear and love, with every other emotion being somewhere in between. We either make a decision based on fear (the fear of the repercussions of any other choice, what we perceive to be the lesser of two evils, fear of leaving a comfort zone, etc.) or love (something that we know will make us feel happy).

The so-called lemmings, the people who wish to keep up with the others, those who are accused of being easily swayed or influenced or ‘not having their own mind’ are still following the pull of their own energies based on their emotional states. This is not to say they are victims or easy prey, so much as they are unaware of their own base beliefs and feelings and of their true ability to control them.

Collective energy has no boundaries. It can be carried and spread across everything, time and space included. Anything that carries emotion is a conduit for energy. Even words. Sometimes, especially words. The power of words is carried in the emotions they evoke. The art of persuading people has to do with either being able to tap into their current emotional state or having the ability to raise or lower their emotional frequencies to create a desired belief. You can easily convince a person that a situation is unfair even if he or she has no active part in it if that person is already in the state of feeling unfairly treated by another, unrelated situation.

Think about it. Fighting the man. Voting for the underdog. Oppression and subjugation. Family feuds that stretch across generations. Sympathy pains. All—and more—are carried and strengthened by a knowledge and acceptance of the emotions underneath, even by secondary participants.

I often refer to music the “Universal Leveler”. It brings people together because of the emotions it evokes. Music has the ability to resonate with our emotional energies, and can both raise and lower them. We’ve all seen the many videos on YouTube set to Pharrell’s Happy. People have separate playlists for romantic dates and working out. How many times have you heard someone say, “This song gets me pumped!”? How do you feel when you hear Amazing Grace? What about We’re Not Gonna Take It? What’s it like being in a bar and hearing that song?

Another point about the art of persuasion and emotional energy: mob mentality starts with one person who has negative emotions about a situation (sadly, this could even be just the one person who is never happy who feels better when everyone around is also unhappy, or gets pleasure by taking people down). That person finds someone who feels the same way, and then another.  Persuasion comes in when the group is being built deliberately. Here is where peer pressure begins. Mass hysteria comes out of a concerted effort to fan the flames of emotion.

Notice the trends on social media. What happened with ebola? (Side note: what happened after its diversion was no longer needed?)

Two people arguing on the same side, as in complaining about a current situation together, will create a separate collective that can build just by inviting another person of the same opinions as theirs to their cause. Like the old Faberge Organics Shampoo commercial, “and they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on…”

Verbal persuasion does not rely only on select words, but the tone behind them. The tone sets the emotional base. How the first sentence is spoken can make the difference between a debate and an argument. Constructive criticism or a difference of opinion can be taken as a verbal attack based on the quality of how it is delivered.

What adds to a negative collective is often misunderstanding. This is not exclusive to those who were a part of the origin of the group; in many cases situations get inflamed by someone who joins late who is misinformed, does not have all of the facts or does not understand the whole situation, but because his or her own emotional base matches the general feeling he or she will pick up the torch and set everything around on fire. These people are specific targets of people looking to persuade a larger group, for whatever reason. Lemmings and mass hysteria, anyone?

How does one go about destroying a particular collective? Go after the weakest link; the one whose emotional base isn’t as defined as the rest. A marriage isn’t ruined by an outsider; there is really no such thing as a home wrecker. If the emotional commitment was equally strong on both sides, there is no thought of temptation. We all know the adage about the grass being greener on the other side.

A happy person cannot be persuaded by anyone; they make choices based on how they feel. One large problem is is that not everyone is happy. When you are in a negative place it can feel so very hard to get out of it. And jumping on a bandwagon of other unhappy people for a united cause is a pleasant diversion from facing and dealing with our own unhappiness or unrest. That way, we can outwardly express the emotions we feel, but on someone else’s lawn.

But emotions can be controlled, or at least modified a little at a time. Smiles are contagious, tears can be contagious. Tension and anger are also contagious, even if the causes are different. But it’s the emotions that determine participation in anything.

Why don’t night owls and morning people view 5 a.m. the same way? Why do I want to hurl a snowball at my lovely friend, Tina, who expresses joy at every snowflake that falls?

The emotions around the events are different. They will not combine.

Collectives are wonderful when they spread positivity, and destructive when not. Isn’t it better to use our energies on building rather than breaking down? Re-building can take a lot more energy and sometimes more time than we have. Wouldn’t we rather use our powers for good?

Before we react or join in any collective—we are not drawn in or persuaded to join; we are invited and we have a choice in whether or not to accept that invitation—that is in any way incendiary we need to make sure that our emotional involvement is tied to a full understanding to avoid things being destructively blown out of proportion. And sometimes, even if we have a small opinion about an event, we need to let it be fought out by the actual participants and stay out of it (unless, of course, it is your intent to control a desired outcome).

--here I will take a break, and laughingly and self-deprecatingly repeat Alex Fletcher’s line from the movie Music and Lyrics:

“I have great insight. I’d use it on myself only I don’t have any problems.”

Yes, that was self-directed snark. I am not attempting to get anyone to believe that I have everything under control, especially my emotions.

We all need to pay attention to where we put our energy, and whether or not we are concerned with construction or destruction. We need to understand how and why we feel a certain way about anything, and what emotions underline our opinions. Whether or not our scales are tipped towards fear or love.

If we have been a part of something destructive (it doesn’t matter the size of the role we played), we need to take a step back and re-examine the situation and see if we want to re-build.

If the choice is to give up, examine why you feel that way, too, with the understanding of which way your scale is tipping. Keep in mind, leaving a situation for dead will leave a sour taste in your mouth that you will savor at every thought of it. That energy will carry on (and so on, and so on, and so on…). Who knows where else you will be influenced by it.

(Uh oh. Here comes the fucking cheerleader)

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, even after destruction can come a stronger rebirth, a stronger unity. As long as we breathe there is hope, right? Just as negative energy can bring us down, positive energy can raise us up. Even if you look at that selfishly, if all you care about is how you feel, it is still in your own best interest to put your energy on the collective side of positivity, so that that energy keeps coming back to you.

We can rebuild. Always.

Today is a new day; now is a new moment.

Let’s just blame yesterday on the needless Daylight Savings.

(How do you feel about that?)