A Responsive Essay to “Group Minds” Written by Doris Lessing

People by their nature are born dependent on one another. The most obvious fact is that a baby cannot survive on its own during the first years of its life – it needs constant care and support from its parents or other people. Nonetheless, even when we grow up and become mature human beings, it does not make us more self-reliant and independent from other people. On the contrary, interdependency between persons takes place. Over each of the life stages, people establish numerous relationships with other people (friendly, romantic, or professional), and often they are built on the principles of give-and-take. As a matter of fact, this model of behavior has been developed over the years and is inherent in people on the biological level: people are destined to grow, live, work, and play in groups by design.

This very idea is voiced in one of the stories written by Dorris Lessing – “Group Minds.” According to Lessing, hardly any person would truly enjoy being solitary – one may spend the whole life looking for someone to belong together. People are social creatures, and thus their true power hides in their connection to others. People unite in groups and join with someone in order to become more powerful, influential, or stronger. When one belongs to some group, he/ she feels safer and more secure. It is always better to adapt to new environment or circumstances when you are not alone. What Lessing worries about the human race that, as a whole, is exposed to a lot of information, but, at the same time, refuses to use it in order to improve something (the social structures and the whole lives in the end).


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To my mind, Lessing is perfectly right: only as soon as people realize how their own lives are under the constant control of groups, they will be able to strive towards building group minds that promote only improvement and betterment of the society. In spite of the fact that almost every one of us living in the society believes that he/ she is free and independent (i.e. free to make own choices, have the freedom to express one’s mind and feelings), in reality, it is a mistake to think so. In everyday choices people make, they are unconsciously affected by the generally accepted group norms.

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