Doris Lessing's essay "Group Minds," talks about the human nature of belonging to groups. Humans, specially those in Western societies do not like to be loners, but rather enjoy being part of a like-minded group. In her essay Lessing talks about the view most people of western society have about their individuality. Lessing says that people have an urge to belong to groups. She also explains how people are put in uncomfortable situations due to that urge. She also talks about the fact that we have lots of information about ourselves, but do not use that information to improve ourselves.
In this summary I will discuss these main themes from Lessing's essay. Lessing starts her essay by describing the view Western people usually have about themselves. She says that people from the West tend to think of themselves as free people able to do as they please. She says that this type of thinking is a result of the "general atmosphere." Lessing then describes humans as "group animals." Humans want to belong to a group, they even join groups that are not very well defined.
She says that most people do not like to be alone, and those who do are made out to be outcasts. She also explains that people want to be around others that think the same way they do. Even though humans tend to be around those who think similarly, there can be differences that arise between an individuals opinions and the general opinions of the group. She describes how people feel bad when they go against the group. Members of that group even suppress their own beliefs, and say that "black is white" just because the group does.
Many experiments have proven this, and have revealed lots of information about ourselves. Lessing knows that we have a lot of information on the way we act, but never use it to make ourselves better. She wishes that we could simply tell our kids about this, so they don't grow up being pressured, and they can maybe improve themselves and society.