beneath the surface

I’ve been reading an amazingly useful book, called Individuals, Groups, and Organisations Beneath the Surface by Lionel F. Stapley. How I wish I’d read this before now – but hey ho, better late than never. It’s an introduction to some basic concepts in psychology, in respect to how people function with others.

I offer the following passage for consideration, as it jumped out at me when I read it. Perhaps it will resonate with you too:

Roles that are taken up by group members are a function of the group-as-a-whole and the behaviour of a person in a group has more to do with the group than it does with his individuality. I should stress that I am not here referring to formal, allocated roles, but to roles that members of a group unconsciously take on as a result of beneath-the-surface processes. In other words, any role taken by an individual member of a group may be considered to be a group role, one that is a function of group dynamics…. These group role dynamics are to be seen as a manifestation of the group-as-a-whole.

An example might be the way a group of women might represent an unconscious dynamic in a group concerning a perceived or actual gender conflict within the group. At the surface level, in terms of what was being discussed in the group, there might be little if any indication of the unconscious processes that were occurring. But at a beneath-the-surface level the unconscious formation and clustering of the women may be seen as a response to the underlying dynamics. By physically and psychologically coming together they may be defending against an unconsciously perceived attack by the men in the group. At some point in the process this unconscious activity may be triggered into conscious activity. Here we can see how the sum of the group-as-a-whole is different from the individual group members.

Food for thought, laid out as a banquet on the table, and to which you are invited.

Today Alex posted this article on Ragged Online that I’d written for him – well, no: I wrote it for myself. It took me one step further on my path and as I said to him, I’ve had angels dropping books at my feet (like the one above) which are wee gifts of serendipity. I will be writing more here in the days to come – but must step out of the clay pit now and attend to other work.

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