Critical mass of the hive mind
In nuclear fission, critical mass refers to the smallest amount of material needed to sustain a chain reaction. In social dynamics, it describes the momentum required for an ideal or collective desire to become self-sustaining and fuel further growth. A hive mind refers to a collective consciousness that is seen in various insect species, but is also believed to influence how we as humans react to fads and new ideas with conformity. The bandwagon effect shows us that the probability of a person accepting a new belief or trend is proportional to the amount of individuals who have already adopted such.
For myself, I have always thought of critical mass in a slightly more new age sense. As humans have multiplied and extended our influence over the earth, learning and amassing knowledge as we bend elements to our will and propose laws and principles to justify the universe, we have built upon the foundations and sacrifices of those before us. I’ve heard it described as the fertilization of humanity. Each generation provides the manure from which awareness is grown in the next. And with each new addition we come closer to a critical mass of enlightenment.
I don’t know why I have been thinking about this lately, but I do know that this post just sorta came to me. I don’t believe that the world will end on the winter solstice of 2012, or that something supernatural will happen on 11/11/11. But I do get to wondering if as a collective of human beings wanting something better for this world, that it may just be possible that change is waiting in the wings. The One Third Theory tells us that all it takes is one third of a group to adopt a way of thinking for change to come. Are we getting close to a tipping point in the grand scale of human interrelations? How does feminism fit into this, and more specifically Mormon feminism?
After reading Half the Sky, it’s easy to imagine the power of small actions to effect big outcomes. Global feminism is taking off and the critical mass of this awareness is gaining momentum that one hopes it would be hard to stop. But what of Mormon feminism? I am beginning to understand the divide that exists between those who claim Feminism as their working title because they believe in positive change for women in general, and those who use it to imply their desire for social change closest to that of their own experience; the LDS Church. Those that adopt this term cannot understand the rejection of the same by others. But Mormon feminism, as has been relayed and discussed at length by others, contains even more definitions and sub groups by which to align oneself, even though we have no labels for these factions of thought. Perhaps the most prominent distinction is the topic of ordination as to whether women will be held in truly equal esteem in the eyes of Church leadership.
Now, regardless of whether this is something that you consider critical to your own definition of feminism, I would like you to consider whether or not this is an area that could become central to our sub culture as a collective endeavor. Would it even be possible to gain the necessary momentum required to nudge for change (or even consideration of it) at the highest levels without the support of all self-identified Mormon feminists? How many members voicing their desire for change do you think it took before the ban on the Priesthood was lifted? The church around the world represents over 13 million people. If women are conservatively half that number, we have 6 million sisters who may or may not have potential for believing in their own inherent ability to be leaders, healers and self sustaining organizations of women. If their potential as women who could rise above oppression is dependent on the number of women who already believe in their value as an instrument for change, then should we feel encouraged or defeated?
I don’t know. Although the numbers are daunting, something tells me that change is coming and that we should allow the flow of this river to carry us forward towards our own enlightenment. Not just in the US radius around Salt Lake City, but in our collective hearts as women in the gospel. The gospel that means so much more to me than any organization can or should. I think we should take courage in our divinity and our hope for change. Because hope is what will inspire others, and others are what will inspire change.