Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The battle between groupthink and original thinking

"ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR... THE CLOCK IN THE KITCHEN STRUCK... twelve. How irrelevantly, seeing that time had ceased to exist! The absurd importunate bell had sounded at the heart of a timelessly present Event, of a Now that changed incessantly in a dimension, not of seconds and minutes, but of beauty, of significance, of intensity, of deepening mystery."
Aldous Huxley, from his book "Island"

   Through his painting “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory” Salvador Dali conveys the message that time does not restrict us. We can travel imaginatively and we can travel in space.
  I'm entranced by the power of Dali's originality, and I wonder about the enigmatic forces that inspired him.
  Dali escaped from World War II.
  In school he was tormented by bullies for being an independent thinker. He had to flee from his father. He was expelled from art school for refusing to acquiesce to the narrow-minded approach of his teachers. When he thought that the Surrealists were judging him and curbing his creative aspirations he did not allow them to rescind his originality: he divorced the Surrealists when he considered himself a Surrealist.
 Salvador Dali pushed groupthink aside to focus on his creative energy. He let go of those who tried to restrain the power of his imagination. Had he stayed with them he would not have painted his original masterpieces. Those who did not understand his vision accused him of being arrogant and greedy.
   One day Dali had hundreds of leaflets dropped from an airplane over New York. He called this his “Declaration of the Independence of the Imagination”.
 According to American standards Dali was a successful artist. It occurs to me, however, that if Salvador Dali had been a woman artist somebody would have slut-shamed her and her works would have been considered irrelevant.
  Ken Robinson's book "The Element" explains how groupthink leads people to conformity and even to mean behaviors that they would not choose without the influence of groupthink.
 "Being in your Element may depend on stepping out of the circle." Ken Robinson.

 Reading about groupthink reminds me of the story "The Artist at Work" by Albert Camus. This story reveals the journey of Albert Jonas, a man who followed his star and remained loyal to his true self.

  I propose the term “group-non-think” as a synonym of “groupthink”. It is self-explanatory.