Collective Consciousness

Let’s begin with some reflection. I’d like you to recall the last time you were in a public place, such as a café, a restaurant, or a crowded train station. What did you observe? Pause for a moment and consider it. In this essay, we’ll look at a perspective on the world that I believe will help you understand the intricacy of the interconnected world in which we live.

Imagine yourself as a dot on a piece of paper; this is who you are in the big picture. Your views, life experiences, and perceptions all shape who you are. They come together to build your consciousness. Let us now place a few additional dots around you to represent your family. Individuals in your family have separate consciousnesses, but because they share experiences, they now have a shared consciousness. Birthdays, graduations, births and deaths, and so on are all regular life events that everyone in the family will remember. This is the collective conscience of a family, or more broadly, a group of people. We shall continue to generalize until we have a collective consciousness of humanity.

Let us now draw a box around your family, followed by a few nearby boxes with dots. This represents the neighborhood. People in the neighborhood have similar experiences, which are determined by a variety of characteristics such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity, shared or conflicting values, and so on. Each neighborhood possesses its own consciousness. A village, town, or city is formed when many of these neighborhoods are combined together. When several such villages, towns, and cities are combined, they form a province, and when numerous provinces are combined, we have the modern nation with well-defined borders.

The nation’s collective consciousness is molded by past and present events, as well as its vision for the future. These events might be positive, such as major achievements, or negative, such as wars, famines, epidemics, acts of terror, and so on. The consciousness of many such nations together constitutes humanity’s collective consciousness, which extends back throughout time.

The framework we’ve looked at offers a highly humanistic perspective on individuals and humankind as a whole. We’ve looked at a pretty static picture of collective consciousness in which individuals are represented as dots, but in the next sections, we’ll look at a more dynamic view in which the dots move around to interact with other dots. Like in previous sections, we’ll begin with one dot, the individual, and work our way up to a collection of dots, the nation.

Assume that each dot is now colored according to its national flag and moves freely, interacting with other dots. The very first dots to come into contact are those within the family. As a dot moves further away, it may come in contact with dots from its own neighborhood, from another province, or from a different nation altogether. When a dot interacts with another dot, an exchange of ideas occurs. As a result, there will be dots with similar ideas and those with differing ideas; one will come across others who have similar beliefs. These ideas can be political, religious, economic, moral, or any other topic on which one has an opinion. In other words, dots with similar consciousness prefer to attract each other. Finally, a nation is a collection of many consciousnesses that function as one. However, spontaneous interaction among groups of dots with no organization produces friction and chaos. As a result, guiding principles must exist to determine how consciousnesses interact. These compose the nation’s constitution. We can now begin to conceive of a nation’s laws as principles influencing migrating consciousness, and are themselves created from the collective consciousness the nation. The interaction among nations, either for war or for trade, can be viewed as interactions among consciousnesses of that nation and just as laws govern interaction among individuals, they govern interaction among nations.

As a result, you, the reader, have your individual consciousness as well as a connection to the wider human consciousness. Your deeds and the life you build will be indelibly inscribed in the memory of time.

In critique of my own train of thought, I’d want to point out that the framework I provided is overly simplistic and fails to account for the endless variety of existence. For example, it does not discuss the life of an orphaned child. However, in its defense, the model may be expanded to explain it as well.

Thank you for reading my pseudo-philosophical post. I’d like to reiterate the question: what do you see when you stand in a crowded area?