We cannot avoid this difficult and theoretical discussion of first principles. The distinction between social and individual phenomena must be defined and shown as real, relative, abstract, etc., as the case may be. We cannot, for example, understand the inter-relations of the group and the unit unless we can form a clear idea of their respective natures. Even the literature of social psychology is not helpful or intelligible to us until the meaning and validity of such conceptions as group mind are definitely established. Hugo Munsterburg, for example, writes: “We compare the social mind with the individual mind. Such a comparison is not meant as a metaphor. It is a true, far-reaching analogy, an account of really corresponding processes.” He then works out the most elaborate parallel, even in regard to “physiological basis.” But parallels never meet, and though this one may be suggestive, it is not helpful to the understanding of the interaction of the social and individual minds—i. e. the psychogenesis of the group and the socialisation of the individual or even in forming clear ideas of these two and their relations. Other writers use group mind as a mere figure of speech, for others again it is a transcendent reality.
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