We see experience as quintessentially subjective, the perception and thoughts of a single individual. But while we take this for granted might it be an error? From parliament and politics, festivals and football stadiums, to weddings and funerals, some of our most significant experiences occur in moments shared in collective experience with others. Crowds can be more intelligent than any of the individuals and more foolish than any of its members. Moreover, language is social, and in using language we adopt the thoughts of others, and we are therefore no longer fully ourselves.
Should we conclude that experience is always shared and mediated through others whether they are present or not? Would a new paradigm in which we view experience as collective and social help bring about a more harmonious society? Or is collective experience and behaviour a dangerous idea that can be used by authority to impose subservience, and subjectivity essential to imagination, liberty, and creativity.
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