The Pros And Cons Of Group Mentality

1072 words - 5 pages

Group Mentality: Advantages and Disadvantages

The idea of a “band mentality” has been around since before humans have existed. In chimpanzees, our closest common ancestor, the group follows a dominant male, while interacting among the group based on who they like or dislike. Early humans were separated into small bands of hunters for both protection and aid in killing prey. The most experienced hunter led the attack, and it was important to have people who accepted his opinion and listened to him. Humans, in small groups of friends or family, still show this sort of band mentality. They will interact based upon who shares their same interests and feelings about the other people in the ...view middle of the document...

19). In his article “Band Mentality and Large Group Mentality”, Mikio Ohgushi, outlines the development of the band mentality and the large group mentality, and how they differ from each other. He describes his perceptions on the “older, organic, and non- hierarchical band mentality”, and the “newer, abstract, hierarchical, and impersonal large group mentality” ( Ohgushi, 1998, p.1). He states that in prehistoric hunting tribes the band mentality was useful because the members of the band were close from personal experiences, and shared similar goals. The bands were small, so that the groups could “provide enough food, and still have the protection of numbers” (Ohgushi, 1998, p.1). This mentality disappeared, for the most part, when larger and larger groups of people began to form, and we had to develop “a new way to organize ourselves as a functional group” (Ohgushi, 1998, p. 1). He says that in a large group society “people divert from instinct in order to make us feel at ease in the large group” (Ohgushi, 1998, p.2).

Tavris believes that people in large groups are more likely to shun responsibility, and just go along with what others are doing. Ohgushi also feels that as groups become larger that people must be unified under a powerful leader, who projects the image of caring, but is at a distance from the group ( Ohgushi, 1998, p.2). This detachment causes the individual to disregard his feelings in order to go along with the group. Tavris agrees on this subject. She says that when people in large groups are faced with a morality issue, they often disregard their personal feelings, so that they do not go against the rest of the group, for fear of ridicule, embarrassment, or rejection by the group (Tavris, 1991, p. 18). Ohgushi thinks that large groups cause us to “diverge” some of our basic instincts, such as hunting, the band lifestyle, and parental obedience (Ohgushi, 1998, p.2). He says that our hunting instinct has been diverged into making war, our band mentality has remained only among our family units, and parental obedience has been used to create parent-like leaders (Ohgushi, 1998, p. 2). Tavris believes that we have used our...

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