A Road to Consciousness
Of course, a myriad of team building approaches was available, many of which are of a very high quality and which I could bring to their attention. However, time after time I was puzzled by how a group of really talented, dedicated and forward-thinking individuals so often struggled to reach a transformative level of collaboration that was more than the sum of their capabilities, and indeed often fell below even that. To be honest, as a manager, a consultant and even a coach I often found myself contributing to this lack of full-hearted collaboration!
On reflection, I now consider that there is another level of consciousness that can occur at a group level as distinct from an individual level. Similar to an individual mind, the collective mind of a group tends to operate in an unconscious survival mode. However, when this is openly recognised by the group, be it two people or more, it can start to engage in a truly conscious mode, thereby freeing itself from its survival-based limitations, and truly enter a collaborative mind set. Of course, as for an individual, a group’s consciousness needs to be continuously refreshed, moment-to-moment.
I make no claim to expertise in the fields of psychology. My observations are based on my own experiences and my interpretations of my experiences. For some reason I have always been fascinated by the human condition. Maybe because my father, an intelligent, hard-working and wonderful parent, suffered throughout his life with nervous breakdowns (what is now called The Bi-Polar condition). This experience, although at times distressing, had me become okay and indeed interested in how the human psyche “runs the show” in spite of our best intentions.
The writer whose insights resonated most with my experiences as a child, parent, manager and consultant was David Bohm (December 20, 1917 – October 27, 1992), a distinguished physicist and philosopher who summarised consciousness beautifully. He was an American scientist who has been described as one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century and who contributed unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind. His main concern was with “understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole”. He said: “Consider that our ordinary thought in society is incoherent—it is going in all sorts of directions, with thoughts conflicting and cancelling each other out. But if people were to think together in a coherent way it would have tremendous power”.