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Groups

  • That I am totally devoid of sympathy for, or interest in, the world of groups is directly attributable to the fact that my two greatest needs and desires — smoking cigarettes and plotting revenge — are basically solitary pursuits.

  • Alone, no one wins freedom.

  • In crowds we have unison, in groups harmony. We want the single voice but not the single note; that is the secret of the group.

  • Resistance to team play seemed to pour like wet cement through my bones, displacing supple marrow, until I was ballasted with my own contempt.

  • Every clique is a refuge for incompetence. It fosters corruption and disloyalty, it begets cowardice, and consequently is a burden upon and a drawback to the progress of the country. Its instincts and actions are those of the pack.

  • In any politics worth the name, 'I' can do infinitely less than 'we.'

    • Joanna Russ,
    • Clara Fraser, Revolution, She Wrote ()
  • There is one thing that humans strive for with every cell, every gene, every nerve fiber of our beings. ... More than Mallomars, more than hot sex, we want to belong.

  • It is in the nature of a group and its power to turn against independence, the property of individual strength.

  • Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together. When we say of somebody that he is 'in power' we actually refer to his being empowered by a certain number of people to act in their name. The moment the group, from which the power originated to begin with ... disappears, 'his power' also vanishes.

  • ... if I had one wish for the feminist movement worldwide, for the democratic movement worldwide, for the humanist movement worldwide, it would be a kind of revolutionary AA, a network consisting of small groups that one could easily find, small enough so that everyone can speak and everyone can listen. We need these kinds of revolutionary cells. It's the soul of the Chinese revolution. It's the soul of the Civil Rights movement. It's the soul of the feminist movement. We need these groups of diverse people with shared purpose, who meet regularly, support each other, and create another reality because right now we're swimming in someone else's reality much of the time.

  • But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts.

  • Everybody knows that really intimate conversation is only possible between two or three. As soon as there are six or seven, collective language begins to dominate. That is why it is a complete misinterpretation to apply to the Church the words 'Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.' Christ did not say two hundred, or fifty, or ten. He said two or three.

  • Cooperation is an intelligent functioning of the concept of laissez faire — a thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.

  • To me, a person's identity is composed of both an 'I' and a 'we.' The 'I' finds itself in love, work, and pleasure, but it also locates itself within some meaningful group identity — a tribe, a community, a 'we.' America is too big and bland a tribe for most of us.

  • Ninety percent of the people in any group are nice, raised to be polite, and have more in common than not.

  • The collective intelligence of any group of people who are thinking as a 'herd' rather than individually is no higher than the intelligence of the stupidest members ...

  • ... when you collaborate with other people, you tend to regard your own individual contribution as the most important.

  • There are self-awareness groups, to help you discover who you really are ... encounter groups, to help you deal with who you really are ... assertiveness training groups to help you stand up for who you really are ... Suddenly, the only way to become an individual is to join a group.

  • The savage hatred I feel for crowds is getting worse, natural enemies that they are of imagination and of thought.

  • What did exclusivity ever have to offer but a distorted, unrealistic view of the world? People who stuck only to their own kind were scared people.

    • Naomi Shihab Nye,
    • "Widening the Circle," in Bart Schneider, ed., Race: An Anthology in the First Person ()
  • Small groups have always been the locus of change. What they do, in a sometimes offhand way, is constellate new cultural forms and give birth to the unexpected. Sometimes the talk is the thing, sometimes the feeling. When we risk talking about something we really care about it's infectious. Like any good infection, such talk can produce heat, a fever of intellectual excitement.

  • ... a group of three isn't such a good idea. Two can be honest with each other. Two can mutually prove what they are made of. The third is the beginning of a crowd. He brings convention to the other two, deprecation of individual worth. His presence makes each of the others lose something of their personality.

  • Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.

  • I alone can do it. But I can't do it alone.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Karen Casey, A Woman's Spirit ()
  • ... no one in a group of three is the same person he (she, it) is in a group of two. No more than he is the same in a group of two as he is alone.

    • Rose Wilder Lane,
    • 1928, in William Holtz, ed., Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship ()