An interesting problem here comes from sociological observation; sometimes team-groups may merge into conflict-groups. Studies of activity programs for inner-city youth such as those done even as early as the 1930’s invariably resulted in the persistence of a tendency to substitute gang-rivalry in place of organized sports. S. Freud himself once suggested that the wholesale application of team sports could reduce the level of aggression in human society. Even he never appeared to be quite convinced of it however; if rivalry were truly “beneficial” among gangs we might expect street deaths by violence (and the misery that accrues) to be lower in magnitude than it has now become. This is not meant to imply that effective programs for friendly rivalry in team sports has not been forthcoming, they have; but at the same time it needs to be pointed out that within this recurrent tendency much of gang violence appears to represent the effects of an urge to control, and of self-conscious pridefulness.
It was God who first endowed man with self-consciousness. The Lord walked in the garden in the cool of the day and he said, ADAM, WHERE ART THOU? Adam, conscious now of his nakedness, knew where he was trying to hide, just as the Lord knew. Guilt and self-consciousness came into our lives all at once, preceded by sin.
Was the first man and wife duo simply duped by the devil or did they conspire? The serpent did not come right out and say “either believe in me or believe in the Lord”; he offered a substantial inducement-- you can believe in your own powers; eat of the forbidden fruit and you will be like gods! You will know what God knows and you can run your own lives. Before vanity and efforts at cover-up came the urge to be self-reliant, to in some sense be all-mighty.
Difficult as it is for many well-meaning people to accept, there appears to be no such thing as healthy total independence. Pseudo-independence, as noted above, often seems to coincide with early loss of basic trust; to such a child, perhaps abused in some way, depending on outside forces becomes “intuitively” untrustworthy. This reflects primitive and “gut-level” responsiveness. No longer needing to be thought through, it later resides as an anxiety source always on tap. Under these conditions the concept of faith, as taught by the local church or family (themselves now highly suspect by the untrusting one) tends to lay on a kind of veneer that quickly dissolves under any challenge or doubt—“seeds that fall on shallow ground”. One result is vacillating, changeable convictions giving way to confusion and lack of hope, e.g., a giving up of faith and trust, which is the deeper self- defeating motive to begin with.
A reluctance to need to depend on others shows up in various forms during different times and stages of life. One form is of a certain indifference and aloofness where others are concerned. This effect emerges especially in younger individuals during wartime or perhaps just during the battles of everyday life. It may crop up acting as a temporary advantage; we may press onward past the bodies of comrades fallen in the struggle, but they have become somehow faceless and nameless compared to our own unique self-dom. “It can’t happen to me. I have special purposes, and things about to come into my life-- a raise, or a promotion-- besides, I plan to move to another town and build a new and larger storehouse for my crops”.