|Scott Peck Quotes||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: BARANSKI (BARANSKIVEAMF1.NL.NUWC.NAVY.MIL)|
|Date: Fri, 8 Oct 93 10:43 CDT|
From: alan_m [at] interphase.com (Alan Murray) Newsgroups: alt.co-ops Subject: Book list Date: Tue, 05 Oct 93 15:55:22 EST Reply-To: alan_m [at] interphase.com (Alan Murray) Organization: The Inter-Phase M. Scott Peck's, _The Different Drum_ has much to say about consensus and I think it is the most definitive of the essence of community among the books available. Here are some notes I've gleaned to give just a thread to those who haven't read it yet. The Different Drum (notes) The meaning of community In our culture of rugged individualism-in which we generaly feel that we dare not be honest about ourselves, even with the person in the pew next to us-we bandy around the word "community." We apply it to almost any collection of individuals-a town, a church, a synagogue, a fraternal organization, an apartment complex, a professional association- regardless of how poorly those individuals communicate with each other. It is a false use of the word. If we are going to use the word meaningfully we must restrict it to a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper than their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to "rejoice together, mourn together," and to "delight in each other, make others' conditions our own." What then does such a rare group look like? Inclusivity, commitment, and consensus Community must be inclusive. (community includes, makes use of and celebrates the differences among people.) Exclusivity, the great enemy of community, appears in two forms: excluding the other and excluding yourself. If you conclude under your breath, "Well, this group just isn't for me -they're too much this or too much that- and I'm just going to quietly pick up my marbles and go home," it would be as destructive to community as it would be to a marriage were you to conclude, "Well, the grass looks a little greener on the other side of the fence, and I'm just going to move on." In community, instead of being ignored, denied, hidden, or changed, human differences are celebrated as gifts. Decisions in genuine community are arrived at through consensus... Realism (consensus and inclusion lead to realistic, safer decisions.) A community of sixty can usually come up with a dozen different points of view. The resulting consensual stew, composed of multiple ingredients, is usually far more creative than a two ingredient dish could ever be. A real community is, by definition, immune to mob psychology because of its encouragement of individuality, its inclusion of a variety of points of view. With so many frames of reference, it approaches reality more and more closely. Realistic decisons, consequently, are more often gauranteed in community than in any other human environment. Contemplation Among the reasons that a community is humble and hence realistic is that it is contemplative. It examines itself. It is self-aware. It knows itself. The spirit of community once achieved is not then something forever obtained. It is repeatedly lost. No community can expect to be in perpetual good health. What a genuine community does do, however, because it is a contemplative body, is recognize its ill health when it occurs and quickly take appropriate action to heal itself. A safe place Once a group has achieved community, the single most common thing members express is: "I feel safe here." (on vulnerability) Even if a conscious attempt is made to be open and vulnerable, there will be ways in which unconscious defenses remain strong. Moreover, an initial admission of vulnerability is so likely to be met with fear, hostility or simplistic attempts to heal of convert that all but the most courageous will retreat behind their walls. Once they succeed (achieve community) it is as if the floodgates were opened. Vulnerability in community snowballs. Community is a safe place precisely because no one is attempting to heal or convert you, to fix you, to change you. A labaratory for personal disarmament As long as we look out at each other only through the masks of out composure, we are looking through hard eyes. "What I hear you saying is that community requires the confession of brokenness." When offered the opportunity of such a safe place, most people will naturally begin to experiment more deeply than ever before with love and trust. A group that can fight gracefully Just because it is a safe place does not mean community is a place without conflict. It is, however, a place where conflict can be resolved without physical or emotional bloodshed and with wisdom and grace as well. Community is a group that can fight gracefully. A group of all leaders ... another of the essential characteristics of community is a total decentralization of authority. Remember that it is antitotalitarian. Its decisions are reached by consensus. Communities have been refered to as leaderless groups. It is more accurate, however, to say that a community is a group of all leaders. A Spirit There is nothing competitive, for instance, about the spirit of community. To the contrary, a group possessed by a spirit of competitiveness is by definition not a community. Competitiveness is always exclusive; genuine community is inclusive. When a group enters community there is a dramatic change in spirit. And the new spirit is almost palpable. Community by design (Community can be deliberately created. Peck lists six facts describing the laws or rules of commmunity, why it is rare, how it can be learned and that any group can achieve it if they know how.) Stages of community-making Pseudocommunity Chaos Emptiness Community Pseudocommunity The first response of a group in seeking to form a community is most often to try to fake it. The members attempt to be an instant community by being extremly pleasant with one another and avoiding all disagreement. What is diagnostic of pseudocommunity is the minimization, th lack of acknowledgement, or the ignoring of individual differences. In pseudocommunity it is as if every individual member is poerating according to the same book of etiquette. The rules of this book are: Don't do or say anything that might offend someone else; if someone does or says anything that offends, annouys, or irritates you, act as if nothing has happened and pretend not to be bothered in the least; and if some form of disagreement should show signs of appearing, change the subject as quickly and smoothly as possible -rules that any good hostess knows. Chaos The chaos allways centers around well-intentioned but misguided attempts to heal and convert. Emptiness Emptiness is the hard part. It is also the most crucial stage of community development. It is the bridge between chaos and community. The process of emptying themselves of these barriers is the key to the transition from "rugged" to "soft" individualism. The most common [and interrelated] barriers to communication that people need to empty themselves of before they can enter genuine community are: Expectations and Preconceptions. Prejudices. Ideology, Theology, and Solutions. The Need to Heal, Convert, Fix, or Solve. The Need to Control. Community When its death has been completed, open and empty, the group enters community. In this final stage a soft quietness descends. It is a kind of peace. The room is bathed in peace. Further Dynamics of Community Patterns of group behavior Bion discerned that... every group has a task. Bion stated that sooner or later all groups attempt to avoid their tasks. He identified four "task-avoidance assumptions" They are: Flight Fight Paring Dependence Flight: a tendency to flee from troublesome issues and problems. Scapegoating is a task avoidence assumtion of flight. (Another form of flight is during chaos when the group attempts to flee into organization, another is ignoring emotional pain.) "The group has apparently not learned to listen to its members' pain." "You keep asking me what emptiness means," "One of the things it means is to shut up long enough-to be empty long enough-to digest what someone has just said. Whenever someone says something painful, the group runs away from it into noisiness." Fight: predominates during chaos. Pairing: Alliances, concious or unconscious, between two or more members are highly likely to interfere with the group's mature developement. (Whispering or romancing or allience for defense) Dependency: The most devastating to community developement and the most difficult to deal with. A community cannot exist if the members depend upon a leader to lecrure them or carry their load, each one of us has no more and no less responsibility than any other for the succcess of our work together." All instructions to the contrary, groups rapidly slip into the task avoidence assuption of dependency. Commitment to community Participants in my workshops are given advanced notice in writing not only that the prupose of their gathering will be to build themselves into a community but also that the process of doing so is likely to be difficult or painfull at first. They are instructed before they arrive concerning the need to stay with the process and ride out the storm. Each of us is responsible for the sucecess of this group," "if you are unhappy with the way things are going- and you will be- it is your responsibility to speak up and voice your dissatisfaction rather than simply pick up your marbles and quietly leave. Community exercises (Tricks, games, gimmicks not reccomended) (Silence, stories, dreams, myths, or ritual may be usefull.) Community maintainace The parameters over which tension will most frequently be experienced as communities struggle to maintain themselves are: Size Structure Authority Inclusivity Intensity Commitment Individuality Task definition Ritual Alan alan_m [at] interphase.com (Alan Murray) Fidonet: 1:112/28
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