I began this blog to herald my novel “Sylvie Denied.” As it turned out, the debut happened during a pandemic that caused nearly total sequestering with bookstores closed, book fairs cancelled, library talks non-existent. As we emerged from that period into a changed culture, we in the US had to deal with extreme politics that threatened the nature of governance itself. And there’s now a sense of being veterans from a battle against foes with nebulous outlines, and we now exist within an altered collective consciousness.
“Sylvie Denied” deals with individual vs. collective thought. Its viewpoint is that of a girl growing to womanhood who measures her own thought against society’s. While trying to understand herself and her place in the world, she finds that anyone, anywhere might buy into a toxic collective consciousness.
The power of collective consciousness, or collective thought, is a topic I focused on in my teaching of media and intercultural communication courses, both of which deal with shared beliefs and behaviors. Marketers and politicians draw from these fields while preparing messages to pummel ever more fragmented audiences by adding to the peer pressure born of collective thought.
Collective thought has always existed. You may know it as cultural values, society’s sayings, paths to success, following the crowd, how to conform, “go ahead and eat the apple,” etc. Why is this a problem? Because our combined thoughts create a collective worldview. And that worldview is increasingly based on our material pursuits while omitting anything reeking of the spiritual, like what’s best for the world and what values would help get us there.
Fortunately, in the past five years I’ve witnessed a growing spiritual awakening. Groups are emerging whose members realize the need to relate more authentically, examining how we’d prefer to experience life, improve the world, and address such issues as pollution, inequality, war, poverty, and racism without getting into a screaming match. Perhaps we should try to relate with each other as we did in Kindergarten, before our brainwashing had gone too far, by finding what we have in common and learning how to share. Above all, we need to see each other as fully human rather than embodiments of annoying slogans.
Have you read SYLVIE DENIED yet? I invite you to grab your copy, and please leave an honest review when you do.you do.