Collective consciousness

I really need your help here, guys. What do you think of the concept of collective consciousness? I don’t know if there is an official definition of it, but in its most innocent (read: non-new-agey) form, I have been given cause to wonder. I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to present, but it is in sufficient quantity that it cannot be ignored. I find this especially at the restaraunt, and other workers there agree there is something to it.

I will go for months with no mention of Stella Artois, and then suddenly five people request it. I will have one day when people pay all in cash; another day all with credit cards. One day everyone will want to have a margarita- with patron please. On a given day I will have two requests for rice as a side dish when it is clearly not on the menu, or several people will come in asking about a certain ingredient when I haven’t heard that question for several months. Another day it is only black people in the restaraunt. Other days the whites are out and about. Sometimes people will even come in wearing similar things. One starts to notice patterns like these.

Some of these can be explained, certainly. Everyone wants hot tea when the weather cools, people watch their weight just before bathing suit season, and on pay days people are more likely to spend money. But others mystify me. Is advertising really that strong that three gentlemen who must have watched the same sports program with the ad for Bud Lite will come in and ask for it? This can’t possibly be a conscious decision then.

I do know the power of the subconscious very well. My good friend CBM and I were mindlessly watching some commercials late one night when suddenly he declared “I really could go for some cookies right about now.” I thought he was joking. We had just seen a commercial for Pillsbury cookies. However, he blankly stared when I said, basically “duh…” and told him what had happened. He never remembered the commercial. He just knew that he wanted cookies.

Perhaps advertisements or other media sources plant subconscious signals. But can that really explain all of the trends? Can it explain a dearth of business people for a month, and then an overwhelming influx of them? Can it explain how people desire rice, or how people are rude one day but extraordinarily sweet others? Perhaps there is a collective consciousness shared by everyone?

It’s not as pagan as you might think. There is the concept of the unified Body of Christ, and what affects one person affects all. What do you all think? Is there such a thing as collective conscious, or subconsciousness?

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One Response

  1. I think a simpler explanation for all of these is confirmation bias. If you work enough days in a restaurant, and people pick their drinks at random, there have to be some days where everyone orders a margarita; it’ll happen eventually. Not only that, but people could have all ordered any drink, and you would have found that notable. If you flip a coin a thousand times, it’s likely that you’ll find streaks of ten heads or ten tails in a row.

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