Group Conscience

What is this thing we call group conscience?

In S.L.A.A. we do not vote nor politic nor coerce others to take our position but rely on spiritual guidance from our higher power for answers to questions which need group decision making.

It is generally agreed that the group conscience strives for unanimity through enlightenment, spirituality and adherence to our Steps, and Traditions.  On sensitive issues, the group works slowly – discouraging formal motions until a clear sense of its collective view emerges. Placing principles before personalities, the group is wary of dominant opinions. Its voice is heard when a well-informed group arrives at a decision. The result rests on more than a “yes” or “no” count – precisely because it is the spiritual expression of the group conscience.

It is suggested that the chairperson call on each member in turn, allowing two minutes for each to speak. No member should speak a second time until all have had their turns; this gives even the quietest person an equal chance. The chairperson expresses his or her opinions only after all the others have spoken.

It is important that the minority voice always be heard; but it should be born in mind that while the minority voice sometime is right, it is just as often wrong. Unless the minority voice is decidedly persuasive, it should be considered in its proper light – as a minority voice. To permit the minority always to influence the majority is to permit the tail to wag the dog.

An informed Group Conscience, as opposed to a vote, is where both sides of an issue are presented, and all alternatives are thoroughly discussed.

The greatest enemy of the Group Conscience is apathy. Often we tend to take the line of least resistance; the “peace at any price” attitude. This allows the members with the most dominating personalities and the loud voices to be our group’s conscience. The group that listens to all its voices with an open mind and has a good understanding of the principles and can be guided in its decision by principles and not personalities.

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