17. Me-ness

Me-ness is the fifth basic assumption, adding to Wilfred Bion’s three basic assumptions of psychoanalytic group theory .
The idea of me-ness is that the individual finds the reality of the external world so stressful that they retreat from the group experience to a personal inner reality.

Me-ness does not recognise the group: the group does not exist because it is only the individual that exists. Me-ness breeds individuals who are only aware of their own boundaries and how to protect themselves from external disturbances. The threat is that if the group emerges the individual will be lost. Private issues are paramount, public issues are irrelevant.

The Me-ness individual presents a feelings snapshot to satisfy the group that to show they are concerned with the groups’ feelings. The reality of this snapshot is that it is a dead report not to be contaminated with feelings.

In 2012 there are many external disturbances to deal with: terrorism, recession, austerity, and the breakdown of institutions including the church, the family and financial systems. Market forces dominate western culture creating the singular wealth and power of individuals unfettered by the weakened collective, and unaccountable to the policies of organisations and governing boards.
This environment leads to an emotional insecurity, a perception that security has been lost: instability and randomness is the backdrop to our lives.

How we as individuals perceive and deal with threats is deep in our psyche. What one person perceives as a threat another welcomes as an opportunity. To avoid the threats we seek security. The selling of security is a sly trick in western capitalism. Insurance, pensions, the lottery?
Are we less secure now than we have been before? Or is it perception? Who could blame us?
The selling of the security has never been an external transaction but an internal one. The selling of security heightens our expectations of gaining security, which makes us insecure when it is not achieved.

Politicians, governments, the City, celebrity all subscribe to Me-ness. Their behaviour can be self- serving with a snapshot of pretend feeling (philanthropy / charity work).
In Me-ness avoidance of feelings is key! As written in previous blogs the market thrives on a lack of feeling to remain depressed, and maintain the urge to consume to compensate.
Me-ness and capitalism are mates. Feel the antidote!

Experiences in Groups – Wilfred Bion 1961
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2012
All rights reserved
Disclaimer: This weblog content are the views of the writer and for general information only. This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.

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