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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

group cohesion

Thinking about religions such as Transcendental Meditation and Scientology, I'm led back to issues of relativism. Are groups really allowed to do what they want? Should we be criticizing and imposing our values?
These questions are partly stimulated by recent press about the protests against the scientologists, and about their disconnection policy. The scientologists argue in favor of group cohesion, saying that they have the right to isolate those who don't fit in.
Reminds me of Jane Jacobs' arguments in The Life and Death of Great Cities about how some social environments have an all or nothing sharing policy. A dynamic group results from public space, in which people can interact while keeping their privacy.

Yes, this is a question I keep coming back to: how can we have the feeling of belonging without too much insularity and closedness?

(Yes, regarding scientology as a religion is a slippery slope. The slippery slope of relativism? Or maybe its just pointing out that I need to come to terms with Transcendental Meditation more directly.)

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Makes me think about the idea that this balance of city life- allowing for both seperation and a resultant connection (another question there too, which is first- the seperate person or the dynamic group) has been lost- is in crisis. The result is a completely dominant city space without room to be an individual. The result again is the need to establish spaces with the values of the individual as the reigning one. A group created to protect against the loss of this form of seperateness.
Just a current thought.