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Doris Lessing's Group Minds - Movie Review Example

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The subjectivity thus becomes an internalized version of something that dictates our being, be it through commercialization of gender biases or fixating stereotypes and archetypal ideas (blonde-haired women are dumb, fashionable gay man, notions of beauty, etc.). Hence, she highlights that "what is dangerous is not the belonging to a group or groups but not understanding the social laws that govern groups and govern us" (pp 50). Thus, ignorance makes us more gullible and more malleable and makes us helpless against all such invisible forces. The film, 'Good Will Hunting' as a realistic specimen of a young man's struggle with a cornucopia of "expectations" that immediately tries to suck him into a world of performance and group joining politics. This not only threatens his apparent invisibility, and comfort beyond the social gaze, but also makes him realize the utter uselessness of conforming to social orders and institutional snobbery. However, Will escapes all such predicament.
Manipulation, spontaneous obedience, group mentality and responding to social circumstances, as if they were psychological realities or unconsciously imbibing them to limit our intellectual and cognitive ability is what concerns Doris Lessing in "Group Minds". ...
This theory is comparable to Lessing's idea too, since Foucault seem to bring out the concept of an invisible force that gazes without been gazed at and insidiously disciplines the mind. The very starting line of the essay by Lessing seems to hint that very idea of the panopticon, which Foucault uses in this text: "My mind is my own, my opinions are chosen by me, I am free to do as I willThis set of ideas may sound something like a caricature, but it is not so far off how we see ourselves. It is a portrait that may not have been acquired consciously, but is part of a general atmosphere or set of assumptions that influence our ideas about ourselves" (Lessing, pp 49). Thus for group minds to work there must be a sense of freedom that does not allow one to question or believe that they are in control of their destiny and choices. However, the State or Group ensures the internalization of their disciplinary individuality within the bodies being controlled without any direct force. Althusser, like Lessing explains, though somewhat differently how that happens.

Althusser2 in "Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays" held a similar point, where he says that it was necessary to conceive of how society makes the individual in its own image. Capitalist society, generally endows the subject with property and a feeling of being a self-conscious agent. This idea is slowly acquired within the structure of established social practices, which impose on individuals their role through Ideological State Apparatuses, which means an assortment of institutions like family, religious organizations, media and especially the educational system. Thus, these constitute as kind of a 'Panopticon' or disciplinary ...Show more
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Doris Lessing in "Group Minds" problematises the idea of freedom and individual liberty that Western society considers its birthright. She therefore adds a crucial line: "The fact is that we all live our lives in groupsVery few people indeed are happy as solitariesMost people cannot stand being alone for long…
Doris Lessings Group Minds
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