How many of us have felt sad about losing a childhood friend as we grow older, or sad about losing another close relationship in our life, either through divorce, or more commonly, through drifting apart of former friends? Why is this happening?
The answer can be found in “group-think,” another name for blocks of energy.
Different types of groups create blocks of mental energy that move around influencing social and moral values, political ideas, and religious beliefs. When only one member of a couple undergoes a religious conversion, it places great strain on a marriage. When a child either marries someone unacceptable to the family, or declares he or she is gay, this can place a great strain on the parent-child relationship. When friends move to a new place, take up new interests, or join new groups, friendships can wither away.
We all belong to a variety of group-think blocks, generally without even realizing it. These are imposed upon us, as children, by our family of origin, our environment, our culture and ethnicity, our neighborhood and schooling, and by our language and country.
As we grow and change throughout our lives, we try out new groups to see if we fit. These new groups and ways of thinking sometimes cause a lot of stress in the people around us, who may not like those ideas. New ideas and lifestyles can rupture relationships, ending in divorce or disowning, in more extreme cases, if the other partner or friend is not willing togive the new ideas a try. Some relationships can survive these changes, but many cannot.
When looking for friends and/or life partners, it’s easier to connect with people when we find several group ideas that intersect with our own. Consider the list below. Some of the ideas are complete opposites, while others fall along a continuum, with many positions in between the extremes. Being a good conversationalist, asking leading questions and being a good listener, enables us to discover unexpected things we may have in common with others.
As you read the list, consider where you fit in each group, and consider where the your own interests, and those of your partner and your friends fit. People who get along well are more likely to have friends who share several idea groups. Or, they might share groups that are contiguous to their own group on the continuum, as opposed to being at opposite ends of the spectrum. The more opposite idea groups you and your partner fall into increases the likelihood of divorce or rupture within a family, or among friends.
Productivity and hard work–maximal free time to lie around
Animal rights–pet owners and carnivores–animal abusers
Fatalists–self-determination and taking responsibility
Heavy readers–occasional readers–non-readers
Enthusiastic Parents–reluctant parents–militant childless
Big Industry Supporters–Environmentalists
Belief in equality of opportunity–equality of outcome
Spiritual and Relaxed–Dogmatic and Uptight
Health and exercise–moderate effort–extreme indulgence
These are just a few examples of groups where one finds people thinking in blocks which project powerful mental energy.
In American culture, it’s quite easy to change groups. In other cultures, it can be much harder. They may not accept someone changing their job, moving to a new town, much less a new country; divorcing, changing religions, or many other examples.
When a person moves into a new group, it can be very threatening to those in the former group. For example, if a child raised in a family that is interested in big business joins an environmental cause, or a gay child who appears in a straight family, or a child marries a foreigner, or someone of a different race, or moves to another conuntry, parents may not be able to accept it. When one member of a childfree couple decides they now want to be a parent, this can lead to divorce. Similar, less drastic, situations happen with our friends, as we find new interests and move into new groups. this is why people come and go from our lives.