November 30, 2020

Collective Effervescence and the Election

Myron strongBy Myron Strong

On Saturday, November 7, 2020, the result of the election for the President of the United States was officially confirmed. At that moment, many people across the world expressed a sense of relief as well as a physical and emotional weight being lifted. Regardless of who you voted for, or your feelings about the election, the feeling and sentiment expressed by others was undeniable.

And as I bathed in the joy, I also pondered what it meant. This moment was the closest I have ever felt to what Émile Durkheim called collective effervescence. According to Durkheim, these are events that transcend everyday lives. People experience intense enjoyment by sharing the sentiments and values of a larger collective, because it makes people feel part of something larger. It creates a collective conscience, the common sentiments and values that people share as a result of living together, and they glimpse eternity, as we experience a moment that will outlive us.

As philosophical as the idea may seem, it is not that different from more mundane events. Interactions between minority groups often show kinship between fellow group members even if they are complete strangers. I have met people who identify as Black on four continents across various countries and each time there is a familiarity, connection and shared bond. This of course speaks to the treatment of people and ancestry across the diaspora. The first time I went to Egypt, I was on a study tour with Black and White individuals while at the pyramid of Giza, a guide pulled the Blacks on the tour aside and told us to take pride because this our history.

There is also scientific research that explores global consciousness. The Global Consciousness Project (GCP) network is designed to capture effects of shared experiences that produce or enhance unconscious interconnections. Basically, it studies the subtle but real effects of consciousness. The shift in consciousness creates coherent emotions that are felt by large numbers of people responding synchronously to events. The project tests the hypothesis that major events in the world will correspond to changes in data from a network of random number generators (RNG) placed around the world. In times of major events, random output from our network will become slightly correlated during “global events” that bring us into resonance.

Though there is also a chance that some may react differently, to many the election represented a dramatic social change. It fits Durkheim’s concept of anomie, which states that during periods of sudden social change, some individual members of a society become less connected and result in increased deviance. It occurs when people lose their sense of purpose or direction. There is a loss of direction felt in society when social control of individual behavior become ineffective.

The discussion of a Civil War from some Whites and other threats of violence, point to some individuals’ sense of loss. Though the idea of a divided country is not accurate, it is more about the threat of social change and the idea that COVID-19 stripped many of the coping mechanisms. Having to confront realities around racism and its intersections is part, but the division that Whites see, centers on threats to policies and institutions that have benefited them for centuries.

The swell of global consciousness around the election represents hope that the sums of our fights throughout the centuries but specifically in 2020 will lead to the restoration of many programs, (including civil rights programs, infectious disease task force, climate change, and legal protection for women and sexual minorities) a push for progressive policies, a call for governmental responsibility for the oppression and genocide of its own people, accountability, maturity, civility, scientific research, and hope.

This moment is important, and the shared consciousness felt during the election results potentially transformative. The Global Consciousness Project states on their website:

The goal though is simple, to understand how consciousness shifts encourage us to make essential, healthy changes in the great systems that dominate our world. Large scale group consciousness has effects in the physical world. Knowing this, we can intentionally work toward a brighter, more conscious future.

Comments

That was 'the Awakening of A forgotten Democracy in a democratic nation'. When people are deprived of their rights and their needs...chaos and uncertainty prevails in the society, as well as the economy disintegrating.

Address a gap–that is, attempt to fill in some piece of information missing in the scientific literature.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Become a Fan

The Society Pages Community Blogs

Interested in Submitting a Guest Post?

If you're a sociology instructor or student and would like us to consider your guest post for everydaysociologyblog.com please .

Norton Sociology Books

The Everyday Sociology Reader

Learn More

The Real World

Learn More

You May Ask Yourself

Learn More

Introduction to Sociology

Learn More

Essentials of Sociology

Learn More

Race in America

Learn More

The Family

Learn More

Gender

Learn More

The Art and Science of Social Research

Learn More

« Literature Review vs. Annotated Bibliography: What’s the Difference? | Main | COVID Babies: Boom or Bust? »