iteach Insight &

Collective Effervescence

Bring Back Collective Effervescence!

Let’s Get Together

Have you ever been to a football game, music festival, or a party where the people around you suddenly felt like friends even though you didn’t know them? I don’t know how many times I have high-fived a complete stranger at a football game when our team scored a touchdown. In that moment, we suddenly felt like best buds, why is that? Why is it that when you put people together a connection can be made without ever exchanging words? This shared experience, this connections is known as Collective Effervescence.

The New York Times wrote this article about the Foo Fighters re-opening Madison Square Garden and Dave Chappelle coming on stage to a crowd that went wild:

“In late June, over 15,000 vaccinated people packed in to watch the Foo Fighters reopen Madison Square Garden. When the band brought the comedian Dave Chappelle onstage to sing the Radiohead song “Creep,” the audience erupted in the closest thing I’ve seen to rapture in a solid year and a half.” (You can watch the YouTube video here but be warned, there is some rated R language.)

“No one cared that Mr. Chappelle was off key. They were all participating in an experience that was unimaginable just months earlier. One day they’ll tell their grandchildren about that night, when New York City came back to life and their favorite band performed another band’s song, and they tried to carry a tune with a legendary comic doing lead vocals.”

There is something magical about doing things as a group that transforms and unites us. According to Wikipedia, the definition of Collective Effervescence is: “a sociological concept coined by Émile Durkheim. According to Durkheim, a community or society may at times come together and simultaneously communicate the same thought and participate in the same action. Such an event then causes collective effervescence which excites individuals and serves to unify the group.”

So now that school is back in session, many students will return to the unifying activity that is education and we are excited about it. Yes, there are still some challenges with masks and COVID-19, but, it is important to bring back in-person gatherings in a safe way as much as possible so we can begin to thrive collectively once again.

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