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Individuality in groups

Individuality in groups – current formula of social behavior – is the balance of personal needs and demands of collective safety.
“You need to put your crown on a hook; otherwise it will grow to your head and turn into antlers…”
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Individuality in groups – current formula of social behavior – is the balance of personal needs and demands of collective safety.

Reduction of essential resources and complication of life support systems leads to the need to enhance the collectivity of actions. The growing communicational connection and transparency (publicity) of every person’s life are significantly constricting the boundaries of “personal world” and dictating stiffer requirement regarding the interactions in groups of any level.

This tendency is in contradiction (conflict) with one of the most basic human needs – to show one’s individuality and uniqueness (self-awareness).

The possible solution to a contradiction like that can be a social system that can be described as “Individuality in groups”. At the same time the higher is the self-awareness of individuals, the more they are trying to personalize themselves in the framework of an existing collective space.

This means that modern society starts to split based on the principle of social involvement. And the more self-aware is the subject (person), the higher is its request for personalizing (customizing) of its world that exists inside a social system of a grander scale.

Existing technologies already allow us to effectively personalize our own space (in the broadest spectrum), at the same time staying inside the limits and norms of a collective system. So the growing communicational ties of humanity are acting both as a resource to show individuality and as a restricting factor.

It’s stated in two formulas:

  • “your genius lies inside the unique scale of past and future geniuses of humanity”
  • “more individual power means more responsibility towards the group”.

Let’s imagine the life of humanity on Earth as the life of an apartment building. Only few centuries ago essentially different families were living in these apartments and on these floors, corridors and staircases were very narrow, long and dangerous… Sometimes the inhabitants of one apartment were conquering other apartments, mercilessly killing all the aborigines, and deporting the rests of them to “maintenance parts” and making them live according to new rules. But at the same time the variety of lifestyles and traditions of different apartments and floors of this big house was preserved. It was made possible, first of all, because of intermittent connection between different enclave-apartments with low carrying capacity. Also – a fir amount of free space in most of the apartments. About one hundred years ago this building changed: corridors became wider, apartments were connected by phone lines, neighbors started seeing each other and communicating more often. “Collective restricting factors” appeared: now you can’t just come into the next apartment and kick its inhabitants. The necessity to “keep the appearances” and explain your actions to your neighbors appeared.

Nowadays our apartment building is more cramped and interconnected – there are TVs, monitors and cameras in every apartment. TVs and monitors are showing us movies about the lives of other apartments (including bedrooms and toilets), and cameras, set up in our apartments, show the Big world what’s going on in our place (bedroom and toilet). Now you can see that your neighbors have more food in their kitchen and it’s better than yours. And other neighbors have a separate room for every family member, while in your home everyone sleeps on the floor, and only the head of your family has his own office with bulletproofed door and his own balcony…

This model (as any other) is very simplified, but it allows us to see how much the world have changed and how its “collectivity” started to change. The opportunity to see what’s going on in any other part of the planet and give your opinion about this creates the necessity to have new principles of collective interaction. At the same time the need to manifest and underline your individuality – distinction from others – is still one of the basic need both for a person and a a group of people.

And significantly increased speed (and density) of feedback (world’s reaction to actions of a person or a group) allows us to correct and tune quiet big collective systems of action up to the level of a country.

Systems like this are called “Three S” – “Self-organizing self-developing systems”.

Experiments in the field of “Three S”, conducted by Reputation Lab, show that such systems normally appear on the foundation of unique mindset and collective goal setting, in terms of which every participant of a system has enough space for self-fulfillment. And uniqueness of every participant creates a multi-vector effectiveness of a group (complimentarity).

These are dynamically-balanced systems where its very important to keep up the balance of personal and collective. Systems are inclined to fall apart when individual goals and needs start to prevail over collective ones. And vice versa, when collective goals prevail over personal ones, system “collapses” – it aspires to take the position with the minimal level of potential energy: either falls apart of “cools down”.

Simulation of collective processes was carried out in the scope of groups of 30–100 people with different age-profession-social spectrum, with common positive (developmental goal) and negative (external threat) motivation to unite.

In the Big world we could observe how in the social experiment named USSR the society of “collectiveness and equality” very quickly reached the state when collective system didn’t have enough energy for future development and even existence. В конечном итоге она распалась на целый веер коллективных систем меньшего масштаба.

From other side, projects of society of “individuality and equal opportunities” – for example USA – nowadays are mowing fast towards enhancing the level of collectivism and lowering the level of personal freedom.

So nowadays we need to formulate new principles of collectively-individual interactions that will succeed yesterday’s opposite options of collectively orientated “society of total equality” and individually oriented “society of equal opportunities”.