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The “group mind” is one of the most ambiguous, most controversial, and most contested ideas in the whole of social thought. It can be traced back to the notion of Atman, or universal soul, in ancient Indian thought. In its modern guise, the concept derives most directly from German idealist philosophy, where it denotes a collective consciousness that is separate from and independent of the consciousness of individuals

Historical and Philosophical Roots

In broad terms, there are two variants of the concept of group mind. The universalist position, represented in the work of Hegel, suggests that history is the reflection of a universal and unitary spirit (geist) that unfolds according to its own internal dialectic. Human beings are merely agents of this geist, and the nature of ...

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