A new programme of work is coming…
I invite the reader to consider this piece as a gentle meander through a field. Where what captures the attention could be encountered as a portal for further inquiry. To be open to the “between-ness” of neither one thing nor the other, but the possibility of an imminent transcendence.
“When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude.”
Wordsworth, The Prelude
As we collectively contemplate and prepare for the return to physical closeness after the lengthy experience of “social distance”, many are sensing their practices in work and life with new eyes. Like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, we could be about to discover that an as yet unknown transformation has been taking place within us.
If the 1990’s British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) documentary series was correct, The Century of the Self characterised and narrated the impact of Freud’s ideas on society to that point; then, it is my proposition that we are entering The Century of the Group, where we will experience the unfolding of the ideas of Bion. He posits our experience of being as an extension and manifestation of an imperceptible whole. This whole is located, anchored and experienced in our unique manifestations in our individual human form as psychic group beings. If we are part of the whole, we cannot split and retain integrity.
This is a call to action, an ongoing inquiry into our lived application of the social sciences in our daily lives at the level of work, community, family and society. Potentially heralding an archaic revival that calls forth and ushers in a new way of seeing and being that undoes the mutilation of the Euro-Christian Inquisition. A rigorous capacity to study and reflect on the current manifestations of our behaviour as a collective symptom, from which none of us are immune. Dr Wade Nobles of University College Los Angeles wrote about the “mimetic infection”, inside all of us, that manifests as ways of thinking, feeling and being that is a direct relationship to the wider social field (culture) from which the individual emerges. Perhaps it is that field, not the individual, that needs analysis.
Grotstein argued that Bion introduced a new way of thinking about thinking and considered the Group as a Whole way of seeing human interactions as a radical departure. It opens up an intense beam of darkness through which light can be shed on the ineffable “O”, which always remains just out of view and always beyond naming.
As we prepare to leave the Foucauldian panopticon at home, entering a world where Black Lives Matter, how might we be transforming our organisations and ourselves through Awakening. Group Relations can be thought of as a portal to study the emergence of the immanent transcendence in our organisations and institutions. A new programme of work, Tavistock Awakening Organisations and The Circles is coming.
Leslie B Brissett
Director of the Group Relations Programme,
Company Secretary & Principal Researcher / Consultant