A comment worth pulling up and out
Jim Benson just posted a comment to an earlier blog post that is related to a draft post I'm working on. So I want to pull it out and make it more visible. Full Circle Online Interaction Blog: Is this true or do our cultural norms make it common?:
"A few things about groups...
You can't have them without individuals, so any treatment of group dynamics, results, or cohesion is entirely based on how our brains want to organize things.
A group changes the individuals that interact with it. When your various chemistries - philosophical, rational, communicative - come into contact with others, you create a new one .. that of the group.
When you put a carrot in a stew and pull it out later to eat it, you still call it a carrot, but its interaction with the herbs, meat, broth, and other vegetables have changed it.
You can still pull it out and call it a carrot. But it is a changed carrot.
Groups form usually for a purpose, schisms form when the individuals in the group have different interpretations of that purpose or when that purpose starts to lose cohesion.
Individuals exist ... but they usually don't have a personal mission statement and disband when that mission statement is fulfilled.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about how individuals and groups differ. I've come to the conclusion that groups are not like Transformers which take a bunch of little robots and snap them together to be a big huge robot. Rather, they seem more like lego or playdough, where a bunch of individuals can gather to create almost anything. And, lots of times, you'll want to disassemble or mash up that thing and try again. "