There are many different species on the planet some of which are solitary and some of which are gregarious. The latter are called social animals and depend on each other to deal with problems in life. Humans belong to the latter category but due to their intelligence, they also value independence. Social living necessitates cooperation and team work so each individual becomes a member of various groups throughout his life. Yet not all the effects of groups are as advantageous as they may seem; group membership can work to the detriment of the person involved as well as to his advantage.
The benefits of being a member of a group are undeniable. The first obvious advantage is socialization and learning to interact with people be it for work or play. Childhood cannot be imagined without friends to play ball with for instance. Skills learnt in the playground carry on in to the business world helping individuals to work together to complete a project and derive pleasure from the process. Friends are made in groups as like minded individuals come together. Peer pressure can help with personal betterment too by encouaging more socially acceptable, morally correct and developmentaly appropriate behavior. For example, members of a basketball team will encourage good eating habits and discourage alcohol and drugs. Yet not all groups are as innocent as they look.
There are many disadvantageous aspects of groups as well. Groups can crush the individual making him obey arbitrary rules of the group. For example, street gangs engage in illegal acts and petty crimes when young people are involved and later turn to violent crime. Young people living in the same neighbourhood may be drawn into the gang and become involved in crime through pressure from the group. A lot of the most infamous drug cartels, terrorist groups, religious fanatics can also be categorized as groups but membership is most certainly not to the benefit of the individual. The individuality of the person can be crushed in a regular, harmless group as well if the said individual is timid by nature. To sum up, nothing in this world is black and white; most things are grey.
In conclusion, group membership can be the best experience ever or cost one one’s life. It is important to judge the purposes of the group correctly and get involved if such a relationship will be benefitial. Children should heed their parents or their elders who should in turn provide guidance. Adults should use their common sense to derive as many benefits as possible from group membership and avoid the pitfalls.
Provided by: The Oracle