Reviews for The Group Spirit Mechanism
Distilledfx chapter 1 . 3/1/2010
It took a lot to penetrate your style of writing but once I got into the swing of things I began to understand where you were going with this. I'll critique your writing later but I'll offer my thoughts on the subject here.

I get the feeling that this isn't a satire, but a "straw man" argument. I don't like the idea of losing my place and identity to a hive mind like society, and your strange choice of overlaying this on a school environment is refreshing instead of (as I suspect others would have) using it in the context of the first paragraph. I think it's funny that people who wave the "you can make a difference" and "freedom of expression" flags are also the ones who sympathise with communism or socialism. They wear their Che t-shirts without realising he was a Marxist. That said I think that you could have stepped up the light heartedness in the concept- it might have made it an easier read and made the second paragraph more comically extreme instead of the paranoia vibe I got.

On to the writing, as I said it was a bit difficult to read, particularly early on. You use (and repeat) a lot of large terms that I think could have been presented a little more efficiently. It seems counter productive to just flatly blurt out "Marxism" and "collective philosophy" and create a flat feeling part and then go the opposite route and explore the theme with depth in the second. Maybe boiling the first part down to a few key parts which act as your narration or a framing device would have been smoother. Although if you wrote this in school (as in the Author Notes) this is pretty solid work.
Punslinger chapter 1 . 11/25/2009
You misquoted Marx. It should be: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." The important question is: who will decide what one's abilities and needs are? Marx and other would-be Communist dictators belived they were wise enough to know what was best for their followers. Such collectives were not associations of individuals with free will, but extensions of the leader's will and ability to enforce it. Stalin's enforcer was the Great Terror which crushed the Soviet people into submission by murdering and enslaving countless millions.

But free enterprise capitalism allows the individual to join a group voluntarily and work within it for his own benefit as well as fulfilling its goals. Thus "team spirit" is part of a student's education in how to function with others with minimum friction and maximum achievement. At least, that is what schools are supposed to do.