This post starts the discussion of Bailey’s Group Five. Some of the characteristics include: Gaining Self-Respect, Enforcers of Status Quo, Cognitive Dissonance.  Group Five is also said to be where the majority of humanity’s consciousness resides according to the Bailey teachings, and is the last stage of Atlantean consciousness.


As we shift to the 4th Plane of the Emotional Plane — Group Five — Amber we will discover that Group Five is similar to Group Four, with some differences. According to Bailey, most of humanity is thought to have its consciousness located within Group Five, then Group Four and Group Three (Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, pp. 25, 499; Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 227)  What then is the most dominant consciousness of humanity at this time, Group Five, like? In Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, p. 206 we learn that Group Five is an extension of what we talked about regarding Group Four. Unlike the more highly emotional Group Four people those in  Group Five have, “steadily increasing interludes wherein the mind can make itself momentarily felt, and thus at times of need effect important decisions.” What Esoteric Psychology, Vol II is saying is that though those in Group Five are still highly involved in social conditioning, they are capable of having more logical, rational, and less emotionally based thoughts when needed. Especially where their most important interests are concerned, that means they are able to make much better decisions. True, almost all of these decisions are still governed by the conditioning and indoctrination of right and wrong behavior established for them by the cultural, social and religious systems they are a part of. And, for the most part like Group Four they remain conformists, or as Esoteric Psychology, Vol II states they are still “largely controlled by the mass consciousness because they are relatively unthinking” (p. 206). By relatively unthinking, I believe this means they find it difficult to have independent thought outside their social conditioning.  Let’s now examine more deeply the qualities of this group.

Gaining Self-Respect

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Michael Robbins in his Egoic Lotus Webinar Commentaries 3 Series at around 1:40:00 emphasizes how Group Five people are “predictable conformists.” Esoteric Psychology, Vol II says it a little less nicely stating that this group can be “regimented and standardized with facility by orthodox religion and government and are the sheep of the human family.” (p. 206) The reference to “sheep” implies that they tend not to question their beliefs or behaviors. Why? To understand this I will once again refer to the writings of Abaham Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs. In my view Group Five members have gone a little further than Group Four members in getting their Safety and Security as well as Love and Belongingness needs met. For this reason they experience the most stability of any previous group. That stability comes about by adhering to time honored traditions of certain cultural, societal and religious norms. And, those who have learned to keep things stable and secure by upholding the norms, start to experience something the other groups before them have not had, respect.

Yes, those in Group Three may have earned respect here and there, but usually they got respect by forcing others to do so through suppression and violence. Because this kind of respect is not earned, it is really submission more than respect. As for Group Four? They may have experienced some respect here and there, but typically it was fleeting like when they won a big prize, were allowed to become “queen for a day,” bought home a good grade, were celebrated at birthday party, or got a small raise. These are more just glimpses of respect were for a moment in time they gain some admiration typically from their family or immediate circle of relatives and friends. Group Five members gain this respect in a different way. They earn it consistently over a period of time, and the circle of those who respect them tends to be larger. In short, their respect comes from having built up a reputation. And, it is not only individuals who can build up that respect and reputation. That reputation can belong to a family name, or even to a guild, a business, or a religious organization of some kind. That means others are investing in that reputation as well, making it even more important that reputation stays protected of that positions of authority, position and respect are upheld.

Referring back to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs chart, you can see then how Group Five begins to have what Maslow calls Self-Esteem needs met. Maslow’s Self-Esteem level is based upon respect, both respect for oneself and respect given to one by others. Group Five members build up their sense of respect and reputations because they become trustworthy, dependable and reliable. Because they have more mind developed than the groups before them, they are able to control their emotional impulses and compulsions far better.  This control gives Group Five members a greater capacity to adhere to the rules and norms given to them by the society, religion, or culture they are living in making them in many ways ideal members and citizens of any family, group, or organization they belong to. Because they can be more relied upon to adhere to group rules and norms, they are far more likely to benefit from and be compensated by the groups they belong to. Compensation can include money, goods, acceptance, admiration, and “love” from others. The more compensation they get the greater the self-esteem, the more love and belonging, the more safety and security they have. All of this brings a great deal of order and stability into their lives.

Order and stability likewise bring a sense of predictability and comfort as they finally begin to understand and benefit from “how things work.” Learning how to bring about order from the chaos of life, brings members of Group Five a feeling of confidence — a word that essentially means con=with and fidence=trust — or a sense of being able to approach oneself and others with a more trusting attitude. That means Group Five people learn to not only trust themselves, they learn to trust the rules and norms of society that have been given to them. Why shouldn’t they? More than any other group before them (Groups One—Four), Group Five members have benefitted, which is why Group Five members get so invested in seeking to keep these rules and norms enforced.

Enforcers of Status Quo

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Esoteric Psychology, Vol II, p. 206 also says about Group Five members that they are “nice people.” Of course it is easy to be a nice person when you have all your physiological, safety, security, belonging, and self-esteem needs met. But, what happens when the status quo is threatened? What happens when people don’t want to “play nice?” What do you do when things start to change? How do you deal with people with have different ideas, norms, and beliefs (cultural, societal, and religious) from you, especially if these people step into your territory and threaten to change and upset everything you have worked to achieve for so very long? Worse, what if the some people inside your culture or society start to change and begin to lose respect for you? What in the world do you do?  At first you can gently try to persuade these other people to change their views to yours. If they are not willing to do this, if possible, maybe you can persuade them to “leave town.” But, if these “outsiders” or “non-conformers” don’t play along the way you want them to, you may have to try a different approach — an approach that isn’t as “nice” as before. In short, you become “the enforcer.” And here is where “nice” people can even become scarily cruel.

Of course Group Five people don’t see themselves that way. They are “good people.” They are not mean, or cruel, or violent the way Group Three people are who just impulsively go around breaking rules. Never mind the fact that Group Three types typically break the rules because they are ignorant of them, or break them out of a survival need, or due to a lack of emotional control and frustration. Group Five members tend not to like these reasons (or excuses as Group Five members might view them) for breaking rules. If a rule is broken it upsets the order; it threatens stability. In the case of Group Five people it can even threaten their self-esteem or reputation. Having compassion for others who break the rules is not particularly something Group Five members are known for. One reason for this is that compassion belongs to a higher order of consciousness as this book will later show. Yes, Group Five members can show “mercy,” which is usually bestowed once the wrong doer sees the error of his or her ways and agrees to comply with the original rules Group Five set for them. But, for the most part members of Group Five simply are not able to put themselves into the feelings, thoughts, or perspectives of someone outside of their group, culture, or belief system. Their minds are not yet developed to that level.

Instead, Group Five types tend to live in a more black and white universe of right and wrong, good and evil. That means those who conform to the rules are good guys, those who do not are bad. Shades of gray and relativistic points of view are not tolerated very well. Rather Group Five members learn that “good guys” follow the norms and rules of the particular family, group, or organization they belong to. That is how you earn respect and develop a reputation. And, yes, sometimes “good guys” do hurtful, demeaning, degrading and even violent things to other people. But, in their minds, Group Five people want you to know that they are really doing these seemingly harmful things to other people “for their own good.” This splitting off of what makes a violent act “good” when a Group Five member does to maintain the status quo, and “bad” when others do the same thing but upset the status quo, is one of the main reasons why Group Five members often do not comprehend their acts of violence as violence. To them a violent or abusive act is necessary in order to “keep the peace.” It is alright to engage in violence so long as you are on the “right side” of the law, war or cause you are advocating. Because Group Five people are so good at justifying or defending their own harmful behaviors, they can have a difficult time admitting to what some may view as their double standards or hypocrisies. Still, because Group Five people very much want to be accepted, respected, and viewed as “good people,” if others start to view them as “bad” or “hypocrites” then can experience a great deal of anxiety and angst, which leads me to the next section about cognitive dissonance.

GROUP FIVE THEMES: Javert, a “Group Five” Enforcer sings about is loyalty to the law and his version of spirituality, which is full of order, predictability and a black-white kind of world. He is seeking out Jon Val Jean, an escaped ex con to take him back to prison. This clip shows the mindset of those in Group Five as enforcers of the laws and rules of the status quo.

GROUP FIVE THEMES: Javert, a “Group Five” Enforcer, finds and confronts Jon Val Jean  an escaped ex con, who has become a compassionate, loving and upstanding leader who has evolved beyond Group Five and its black-white thinking. This clip shows a confrontation between these two evolutionary mindsets.

Cognitive Dissonance

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Cognitive dissonance is defined as the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially in regards to behavioral decisions and changes in attitudes. In other words, it is a failure to walk your talk. It is saying one thing and doing the other. For example, you may preach to others “thou shalt not kill” and then champion a war where thousands, or even millions are slaughtered. You may tell your child as you cause him or her pain through a beating, that you “love them” and this is why you are hurting them. You may view yourself as a faithful and loyal spouse or partner, and then have a brief illicit affair “just this once,” because the person you were with was being distant and you just couldn’t help yourself. “The devil made you do it.” Contradictory examples illustrating cognitive dissonance could go on and on. The problem as I see it for Group Five types, who long ago learned easily how to compartmentalize, isn’t a matter of cognitive (thought) dissonance (clashing or disharmonious elements). For me it is more emotional dissonance that so afflicts Group Five people. Deep down somewhere, they know, they have acted in a contradictory manner. Why? Because they just don’t feel good. And, it is how Group Five people handle this issue of not feeling good that is in many ways so unique to them.

Nun Confession
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Compartmentalization is one method they commonly use. Like Scarlett O’Hara’s famous line in the movie Gone With the Wind, she decides she won’t think about that now, she will think about it tomorrow. Denial is another defense mechanism Group Five people often resort to. Of course the more you deny, the more you are engaging in lying to yourself and others. The more you lie, the more you are likely to get caught lying and especially for Group Five people that could mean a loss of status and reputation. The fear and even paranoia that develops over being exposed for their contradictory behaviors can become overwhelming because suddenly they may not be seen as “good” anymore. To cope with this fear one of two paths is typically taken. The first path is to find a safe outlet to atone for what you have done. To put it another way, you need some safe way to repent your sins and feel forgiven. This is an especially positive spiritual technique so long as it also involves insights into how to evolve spiritually, and is not just a way to let people off the hook without having to grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and behaviorally.

The second path of dealing with the cognitive dissonance, which is not so beneficial, is to harden yourself and dig in further into the false pretense that you are better than others despite your contradictory behaviors. If persisted in this path can lead to the incredibly sadistic tendencies of Group Five as they start to take their own short-comings, faults and hypocrisies out on others by persecuting them or going on witch hunts. In psychology the classic word for this is “projection.” In other words, “It’s not me, it’s you.” And, the more you try to tell me it is me, the more I am “obliged” to hurt you. Because deep down Group Five wants to do the right thing, this path can be altered, but only if others are willing to help educate Group Five confront their misguided thinking patterns and move into more constructive methods of thinking and acting in ways that don’t create so much cognitive dissonance, or help them feel forgiven for their mistakes.

Though the paths of repentance and forgiveness, or taking it out on others, may make Group Five people feel better, frequently they do not. Then another path may be chosen by Group Five people — the path of self-destruction or abuse. Some examples come rapidly to my mind here such as monks who flagellate themselves for not being “good enough.” Or, I am reminded of the character Javier in the book and highly popular musical Les Miserables. Javier is a law enforcement officer in constant pursuit of Jean Valjean who broke out of a prison camp and is on the run. As Javier pursues Jean Valjean, Javier is constantly confronted with acts of goodness and kindness on the part of Jean Valjean including at one point where Jean Valjean saves Javier’s life. Existing in the black and white world mindset of Group Five, Javier simply cannot reconcile his cognitive dissonance that a “bad guy” like Jean Valjean can do so much good. In fact, Jean Valjean has even done more good than any “good guy” Javier has ever known, including himself. To handle the cognitive (and/or emotional) dissonance Javier constantly feels, he makes a fateful choice and decides to end his life by hanging himself.

If Group Five people do not pick the fateful path of suicide, they will continue to try to find ways to handle their cognitive dissonance, which in turn over time starts to teach Group Five people how to handle their frequently conflicting emotions more wisely. True, Group Five members are still a long ways from no longer choosing defense mechanisms such as blame, projection, and denial as a means to protect themselves. But, they are slowly learning how to recognize and cope with the various contradictions of their often hypocritical lives. For the most part they will try to maintain the order, security and prestige they are so invested in. Eventually, however, as Group Five people evolve further up the subplanes of conscious evolution, they learn to let go of black/white, right/wrong, good/bad thinking, feeling, and behaving. For most Group Five people that time to do that is just not now.

GROUP FIVE THEMES: Javert, a “Group Five” Enforcer, in his pursuit of Jon Val Jean, has been caught by those fighting on Jon Val Jean’s side. Instead of killing Javert, which Jon Val Jean could have easily done, he free Javert. Javert finds Jon Val Jean as he is rescuing a wounded man after Javert is freed. Jon Val Jean agrees to allow Javert’s to take him back to prison, but asks for time to save this young man’s life first. Javert is unable to handle his cognitive dissonance between his black-white moralistic thinking following society’s rules, and Jon Val Jean’s relativistic way of being that actually leads Jon Val Jean into a higher state of consciousness and even morality. Unable to shift, Javert kills himself as he finds no other way “to go on.”

Go to Part Two

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