There is merit to the notion of collective consciousness and the power it has over mass groups of people. Carl Jung spoke volumes on this topic. The definition of collective consciousness can be found in Wikipedia and many studies have expanded the subject matter. Collective consciousness in Durkheimian social theory (The Division of Labour in Society (1893) Rules of the Sociological Method (1895), Suicide (1897), and The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912). He argued that in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness (conscience collective in the original French). In societies of this type, the contents of an individual’s consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness. The totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society forms a determinate system with a life of its own. It can be termed the collective or creative consciousness.
In Suicide, Durkheim developed the concept of anomie to refer to the social rather than individual causes of suicide. This relates to the concept of collective consciousness as if there is a lack of integration or solidarity in society then suicide rates will be higher.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_consciousness
Alan Lanza was just another victim of our society. In family systems theory, we learn that the IP or identified patient (usually the one everyone else in the family blames all of it’s problems on) is just the one who is brave enough to act out enough in order to show that the rest of the system is not working. Well, the system failed him as well as all those lives he took through his mental anguish. (Remember the young man was only 20 years old and not fully complete in his developmental stages). The solution is social change, that is more inclusive to all of it’s inhabitants. Blame-shifting is not the answer, it is only another aspect of our societal problems. Truly wise men search their hearts to find solutions and no longer find it useful to dwell on the problems.
When we understand the power of our own collective consciousness’ and the vital part we play in our world, we will be more capable of effecting a positive change on all of humanity in it’s entirety. Remember, it was through our collective consciousness that we placed the first Black President into office. We can certainly do more.
As stress and tension build in collective consciousness, the resulting social incoherence agitates individuals and groups within the society. According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “All occurrences of violence, negativity, conflicts, crises or problems in any society are just the expression of the build-up of stress in collective consciousness. When the level of stress becomes too acute, it erupts into crime, violence, war and social disorder.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanne-ball/collective-consciousness-medit…
Therefore, here we can see that there are many contributors to violence in societies. When there is no justice, there exist a serious unrest in the collective consciousness, which can act as a sort of spiritual volcano waiting to erupt. It effect’s our waking life as it does our unconscious life. Perhaps the shooter in his unstable state was experiencing the harshest part of the feelings of unrest within our society. We have to remember his age and what he must have been exposed to or not exposed to. It is urged that people please lay there judgments aside and think in a more collectively constructive manner.
Especially, since to think otherwise will only create more of these incidents. If we would put our minds together towards the simplest solutions, which are found in the “golden rule,” we would realize that we already have the answer to the problem. Understanding is the key to world peace. Through understanding we would become more tolerant of others, more filled with grace and compassion, we would lose our judgments and look for truth, we would stop the nonsense for God’s sake! Through positive collective consciousness, love would overcome evil and the force of it would fill the earth as water fills the seas.