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Rosalyn's 4th Posting

I apologize to everyone, especially Lynn for being so late in making this posting. I have literally been buried under a mountain of paperwork at my place of employment, as we are completely revamping and restructuring our Central Files which as my supervisor said "I have taken ownership of". That has kept me away from a computer for some time. I'm not using that as an excuse , it's just an explanation. Again I apologize. Having gotten that out of the way, here are some of my thoughts on the readings:
The Work of Wilfred Bion on Groups – There was sooooo much about each group that resonated with me, but I cannot tell it all, so I will just say that although the people in these groups have been diagnosed with some form of psychiatric problem(s), much of their behavior in the groups mirror that of the rest of society. What does that say about the rest of us who are clamoring to be a part of a group? For example: In the Dependency Basic Assumption group, the members look for an omnipotent and omniscient leader for the magic cure to all their ills. “. . . no one can do anything that is difficult; but the leader can solve all difficulties, if he only will. He is idealized and made into a kind of god who will take care of his children.? But “In failing to be omniscient and omnipotent leader. . . he inevitably arouses their disappointment and hostility.? From my perspective, that is exactly what we do as a society when we elect a President, and when he fails to solve all our problems . . . Because space is limited here, I will just leave that to your own imagination to see the correlation. In the Fight Flight Group – . . .a leader is even more impor-tant. . . the leader is one who can mobilize the group for attack or lead it in flight. . . there is no tolerance for individuality or sickness. Casualties are to be expected. If no enemy is obvious, the leader will surely find one. This basic assumption group is anti-intellectual and inimical to the idea of self-study; self knowledge may be called introspective nonsense.? Does that bring to mind some of our groups today known as gangs?

In the article Followers and Leaders – “For there seems to be a tendency in human beings which becomes aggravated when thy are isolated or faced with unfamiliar situations, to find the exercise of their own powers to mind and will extremely burdensome. Many people hotly deny this tendency in themselves, but it is much more widespread and much more insidious than even sophisticated observers of human nature usually imagine.? For me this was alarming, but not surprising, as it relates very closely to the comments above. I believe the average person does not want to be alone with him/herself, as they have never developed a relationship self, therefore they seek to belong, to be a part of a relationship with an individual or group. As a result we spend the better part of our lives, beginning in early childhood, seek to belong. That is what the prophet Isaiah means when he said: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every-one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.? Isaiah 53:6. We have left Christ (the Good Shepherd) and are searching to find peace and happiness in others. When we can’t find the right or significant other, we move from relationship to relationship, and when that no longer is possible, we turn to things; and when those things no longer satisfy, we try to deaden the pain of loneliness and disappointment with drugs and alcohol. It is only when we hit bottom that we come to realize that nothing temporary can satisfy that which is eternal. Then and only then do we make the climb back up the hill and find Christ waiting there for us, then we find the peace and happiness that eluded us for so long. It is then we realize that we wasted all of our lives wanting to belong when Christ was there all the time waiting for us to join him.

The Bonds of Love – another deep article about dependence and independence and how it leads to domination – “When the conflict between dependence and independence becomes too intense the psyche give up the paradox in favor of an opposition. . . . defining the self in terms of a movement away from dependency. It also sets the stage for domination.? Here again, is the theme or the need to belong. People will give up who they are, just to belong. This is true of men as well as women. We have this innate need to belong because God in his infinite wisdom when he created us put within all of us this need. However, He had Himself in mind as the one who would fulfill all our needs. But all we like sheep have gone astray. . . . and now we are willing to accept anyone or anything just to be able to belong.


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Rosalyn, I appreciate your ability to see Bion's ideas in the groups that we are in every day. I was struck by your comment that in a fight/flight group casualties are to be expected (and accepted as inevitable). Your reflections on the relationship of the individual to the self and our ability to withstand being alone stood out for me. I am interested in your ideas about whether learning circles can help individuals create greater abilities to withstand being alone and develop a relationship to the self that does not need others in such a dependent way?

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