Committees are perhaps among the oldest of human inventions, primeval in nature.
So what happened when people with their individual brains came together in their tribal sessions to make their committee decisions?
The committee's main function becomes that of acting as though all those brains added together come up with something better than each of the individual brains would have produced on their own. A strong leader would perhaps seek only formal approval of his decision.
But what happens if a member of a committee hates another member of the committee. Can all the thoughts of those people hating each other be added in? In modern times can the committee report exclude or include the hate factor?
And if two members love each other, can they think about the subject at hand? Can we add hatred and love into the final report.
What happens when several members cannot look squarely into each other's eyes? I'm experimenting, looking into one's eyes but I do not receive a returned look. Does eye contact or eye awareness have some tribal implication, or is it a sign of weakness, the wondering eye of infidelity?
What if one is angry, probably because the person she is angry with reminds her of someone with whom she should be angry? Can then, all these thoughts be put together?
But can the thoughts of individuals be added together in one bundle as a greater thought as though there were one brain composing the bundle?
Instead only small portions of individual thoughts appear during committee sessions and much time is spent on developing the social acceptance of others' thoughts or slightly shaping several of them that are then put together.
These then appear to have some meaning after agreement. But can these thoughts be presented as though they developed in one mind?. How can the independent thinker exist unless she is the leader.
I recognized that a member didn't know that I existed at the last meeting. No eye contact here. She greeted me with enthusiasm this time, at a second meeting, addressing me by my first name. I don't know hers. What happen in between?
I'm going back to this guy who gives all the air of disdain for another member. How to react? Should one start by hating him, returning disdain for disdain?
Enough about this satisfied individual with only disdain for others. He's not the leader. His job is to permeate a higher wisdom. Back again to imagining what the other members are thinking.
The one right across from me. Oh! I know what he's thinking That's naughty.
What's the purpose of this committee again? No, really? Can I actually contribute to that subject?
Does this committee actually have a brain? I'm only conscious of mine when I'm speaking or even when listening.
But haven't we come together for more than mere generalities. Everyone else on the committee seems to have some previously acquired wisdom, offering specifics.
Should I open my mouth again and make a fool of myself by trying to explain the thoughts I had over coffee this morning? It seems that a few already have acquired a common understanding and agreement. But about what?
Scientists will often present their own papers at conventions on a particular subject, each separate from the others. Here we then get a different set of opinions on the subject of the convention.
The convention does not act as one person. More can be gained from these papers individually than if they were to be modified sufficiently to be presented as a commonly based consensus, the resulting thoughts of a committee.
Most democratic governments and their agencies handle most business as commonly based committee action. Where a committee is also responsible for actual and specific results, most discussion that does not move the body in the direction of action is here considered to be of little use.
I've been learning of late, that there are committees and there are committees. Some I attend voluntarily to learn what is going on. I've been made member of others. I find being a member is more difficult, of course, than merely being a participating observer.
But as an observer, I've found that I'm not very influential. But am I anymore influential as a member?
However, I'm reasonably assured that a committee doesn't have a collective brain regardless of how one participates in developing whatever the committee does.
It is the leader that usually advises the committee or informs them as what is going to be done. Not the other way around. The primeval and tribal ways still seem to work.