Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Us" & "Them"

It seems to me that everybody wants to be with the group “Us” and we want as many people on our team as possible. Whether that be a church group, a local football team or just cricket appreciators in general. Of all the groups I have been in very few have failed to winge about lack of numbers. Why do people always want their group to be more popular? Apparently everybody should learn to surf because it’s great fun. I’ve also been told “Why wouldn’t you want to go sky diving?”

It seems to me that groups large enough to be not actively complaining about a lack of members are too large. Their members form into unofficial sub groups. Ie, within my subgroup of the 10:30 service at church I usually get into the social circle where one of these five people are talking. If none of them are nearby then I will mill around by myself, a part of the general group. It’s not that I particularly dislike anybody, jut that I prefer the company of some people over that of others. Hmm that sounds a bit discriminatory, I should put some effort into saying hi to everybody, it is church after all.

I recall my grandmother is rather racist towards aboriginals. Particularly as a group, all Australian aboriginals in general. But she now has some aboriginal neighbors, and they are quite nice and easy to get along with. See, because she has associated with some people they moved from being “one of them” to being “one of us”.

We want there to be more of our type of people. Isn’t it obvious that people like me, like me? But once there are lots of people like me then there are too many and we start dividing them again between us and them. I know it sounds draconic but I’m aiming for perfection here. But if everybody were the same then I would rebel against the norm and revel in my uniqueness, maybe I’m just confused?

I remember being told that “Any radical movement needs to become mainstream in order to survive.” Also “any social/political movement could be revolutionary depending on the time and place” I suppose that everything is relative, once a new idea is formed people may or may not jump on the bandwagon (if nothing happens it will fade in to obscurity and not be worth mentioning) and as the community grows rules need to be formed so that everybody is on the same page and follows the same belief system. When there is only one person they are always right and a free radical by default. The larger the community is the more defined its ideals are the more mainstream it will become. What may starts as a revolutionary concept, like the abolition of slavery. Eventually becomes the norm. I only know about slavery from books and movies.

And again I have slid from one rant unto another. But to get back to the start, how many times have you heard the words? “How can we engage the young people?” I know from playing RTS games that you can never have to many people in your community/Civilization/race if you get near the population limit and they are becoming impoverished then it’s time to use Slavery to finish the Pyramids in Civ4 or to go to war with your neighbors in AoE. With more members you get more resources to spend doing more fun things. With more fun more people want to be members. The reverse is also true, if your community lack a critical mass it will become stale and members will gradually leave.

Small towns are a good example of this. One town will be slightly large that the others around it, so people for the region will travel there for shopping. Then the town will start getting more shops because the potential clientele is larger. Then the Backer & Butcher in the smaller towns may be forced to move because they have insufficient customers. Thus the larger town gets larger and like a sponge it leaches people from the region, then all the other towns become satellites of the sponge. Larger communities always grow larger and smaller communities always shrink. When there are so many options of places to live (or sports clubs to join) the benefits of any one of them are hard to see and so the population distribution will remain average, and every one of the communities will complain about lack of numbers. Why are more people like us, we are much better than them.

It seems to me that the discrimination between “Us” and “Them” was the same in WWII as it is in my Fencing club. There are too many of “Them” and not enough “Us”. What can we do show them how much better we are?

I should stop writing now otherwise I’ll start talking about the Preconception Bias :( I really should derail my train more often rather than changing track all the time.