Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What Drives Groups...

Something I’ve noticed is how groups of people that are arranged under a specific entitlement and who share a common mission/purpose within their group seem to be driven toward similar results as other “groups,” no matter how different their missions or purposes might be. Let me explain...

What I have noticed is that these groups tend to be driven toward obtaining a population similar is views and beliefs to empower their group as a whole. For example, take groups such as political parties. From my understanding, typically (though not always, of course) members of one party will tend to share similar views on political stances, while members of another party tend to have their own views on political stances. So basically, where you views seem to “fit” (for lack of a better term), sort of depicts which political party you would “belong” to, so to say. Granted, I realize this is not always the case, but speaking in overall tendencies.

What you find happening is groups striving for a closer and closer knit group in efforts to gain more power. Here is how I see this working…

The more similar your group is in their beliefs and views, the more likely disagreements will not occur within the group, therefore leading to a stronger core to the group. The stronger the core of the group is, the more likely they are to work as one—a whole—toward their mission/purpose. When you have less friction coming from within your group, it is easier to address the friction in areas outside the group. Make sense?

And following this idea, I must say this…

Whatever the group, groups seem to always have a compelling nature toward competition, even if that drive is an under-tone.

Do you not see Republicans vs. Democrats? How about the University of Texas (UT) vs. Texas A&M (Aggies)?

Methods are often used within the groups to motive similar beliefs and views. Sometimes it is done through pride and spirit techniques. School spirit is a technique used to help fuel drive toward better competition. Pride in one’s political party can encourage alliances between group members.

Still following me?

So, here is where I want to take this philosophy and tie it to my topic for this week: religious groups.

Just as I mentioned in my previous posts, religious affiliated groups can tend to make judgments as a whole and arrive at similar conclusions. This is nothing different from how most groups work.

From my understanding, a lot of UT students would probably agree with the conclusion that most Aggies are a bunch of red-neck hicks/farm-boys. At the same time, I don’t doubt that most Aggies have their own conclusions draw about most UT students; however, based on my background of not being from Texas, nor attending either school, I can’t tell you what that conclusion is…HA (feel free to fill me in if you’d like).

Do not a lot of Republicans like to conclude that Democrats are typically the lower-class liberals, while many Democrats view Republicans as typically the upper-class conservatives? It this how all Republicans view Democrats, or how all Democrats view Republicans? No, but it is a general conclusion that can be heard echoed on more than one occasion.

So with religiously oriented groups, what is the scenario?

What I tend to see is how religious groups do the same thing, in that they strive for cohesion within their group, in order to empower the group as a whole. Yes, religious groups are under a purpose of serving their “god,” but how far behind that purpose do you typically find the mission of conversion. Conversion, though religions ground it in the purposes of “saving,” is also a means of competing with other religious groups.

I mean, just as any other group, look at the power a religious group gains through a large following of individuals devoted to the same core views and beliefs. Consider some of the Asian and Middle Eastern countries and look at the power and influence the Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist faith groups have. The larger the group, and the more cohesive, the more possibilities for moving mountains!

So are cohesiveness and similar views and beliefs among a group of people necessarily a good thing or a bad thing?

Cohesiveness is undoubtedly good in the sense that power can be developed through the bond. Power can be good and then used in “fighting for a just cause.” But power can also be harmful, such as striving for a dominate race, as in the eyes of the Nazi group.

What issues arise when a group strives for similar views and beliefs?

I hope to end this “series” of blog posts relating to religious groups later in the week by addressing my thoughts on how these types of groups run into problems when striving for similarities. It basically will tie in this post with the judgmental post previous to this one.
In the mean time, consider these ideas to other groups that you can think of. Do you see a drive for similarities among the group members? How about a visible, or even an underlying, sense for competition? Is power of some sort tied to the idea of competing?

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