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Thread: Scapegoats

  1. #21
    only bites when provoked Array
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    What's interesting is that based on my background and mindset, the only type of group I desire to be part of is a diverse one. These are generally larger, more formal than the tribal group. Large metropolitan areas, large universities, professional organizations, etc. function with a set of formal guidelines that apply to all impersonally. They tend to examine the basic common denominators needed by all. Diversity creates a different type of interpersonal boundaries than the tribal group. It creates a hands-off mentality that requires objectivity and tolerance in order for cooperation to exist. It focuses on finding specific commonalities for specific goals, rather than attempting to make everyone's behavior uniform.

    This increased tolerance of diversity is where humanity needs to lean in order to survive as a global village. Of course people will form myriads of small tribes in churches, communities, etc., but w/o isolation from the rest of the world, the ability to think with a different set of social boundaries will be necessary. Would this negate, or at least minimize, the need for scapegoating?
    This, however, is based on an empire that will fall. You want to be valuable to a tribe, because there really is strength in numbers (~150 is the maximum), and when the empire is no longer enforcing the rules you depend upon, your tribe is the one that will protect you as you protect them.

    There cannot be a global unification without an outsider that is sufficiently different to bring humanity together. As long as we all live on this little ball of dirt and rock, we will divide it and ourselves into pieces and groups.

  2. #22
    darkened dreams Array labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    As has been mentioned, the tribe often has a leader who thinks for the group. If the tribal society is not based on individual thought, then there is a reasonable assumption that the leader is not chosen based on thought. This leaves more primal motivations of intimidation and displays of certainty. Because of this, it would seem such a system would tend to support an individual who was powerfully sadistic and narcissistic. To balance it, yes, the tribe thrives longer-term under a leader who considers the needs of all. However, the group could benefit as an extension of the leader. The leader wishes to thrive, uses the individuals to achieve that end, supports the individuals to the extent they can continue their function.

    It is interesting that in our modern society, those 'tribes' that are most intensely secluded and identified as a group are often led by such a leader (i.e. cults and such). I'm now wondering if this is a reason that humanity is by nature so cruel and self-centered? This would also account for the obsession with being 'number one'.

    What unnerves me about the remnant of tribal thinking in today's society as seen in scapegoating is this: What is the difference between a group of people disliking one member and publicly humiliating them, even joking about doing sadistic things to them vs. the Salem witch hunts? I will suggest that internally, the processes are exactly the same. The difference is that out 'civilized' society does in fact have the layer of diversity and formality that requires accountability outside the tribe. I realize this comparison may sound harsh, but think about it, people are just as they have always been. Differences are not so much internal and they are based on the system in which the individuals function.
    The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
    The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN

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  3. #23
    Senior Member Array kuranes's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    There was an article posted recently on INTPC talking about how to make sites and/or forums successful, and one of the methods mentioned was something that is also true for groups IRL. Pick out a real threat, or exaggerate a real threat and tell the group they need to unify in order to stop the threat. If no real threat ( large or small ) exists, then make one up, by stressing "purity" or some other vague aesthetic that may require "special interpreters". Such "interpreters" are often the leaders or the "medicine men" or "merlins" behind the throne.

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