Sunday, July 17, 2005

Group Acts

Group dynamics are a fascinating thing. There is something slithery about the way we adjust to our particular set of peers and take up our costume for the night. We do each retain an almost genetical personality make-up that transpires through the costume, a specific set of traits that keep us recognisable as ourselves, as 'Rasha'. However, on the whole, we seem to slather and morph into ever-adapting personas according to what the group dynamics require, or ask of us. I am continuously disconcerted by this fact, being noticeably more at ease within one-on-one discourses. Groups always seem much too threatening, as personality readjustments are forced into the equation....
Once I think I have discovered a person and eased myself into a 'viable' relationship (and vice-versa of course), I am always thrown back by the way this dynamic is shifted in the presence of a group. There always seems to be walls that build up between individuals as personas get shaped within dominant/dominated discourses. Always the need to be witty, to be a cut above the rest, to establish a hierarchy. I have noticed this in groups of more than 3 people.
It may be because dialogue is almost always at a very fast pace, bouncing back and forth within the group, and keeping up requires a certain leadership trait: to be heard and acknowledged, one has to deliver with decisiveness and force. One has to make a mark. And the inevitable hierarchy can therefore be formed, as the group struggles to take shape.
This, of course, rarely happens in a (compatible) one-on-one relationship, or even between three people. There is much more room for expansion in dialogue, and authenticity of persona. We still do play a role, since we are social being first and foremost; nevertheless, the costumes are less contrived, and there is more space for the inner to shine through.
I guess I just don't trust groups. The real is always diluted in the mass of frisbeed words and corseted appearances...

1 comment:

Maha said...

Group dynamics 2

In my very own hedonistic self today (which I really hope lasts for at least a few more weeks although not so sure), I have to say that although you have extremely correct things to say about group dynamics, your tone seemed to be a very pessimistic one. Creating an alternate personality and adjusting it in accordance to the group or social situation is in fact very fun and helps you learn a lot about yourself and others. If it’s a group of friends or even acquaintances for that matter, being in group is not always some sort of rat race about who is wittier or stronger or more charismatic. Its about enjoying the dynamics of the group from those who are the sarcastic to those who are na├»ve, loud, shy or serious.