Discussing patterns of behavior and group dynamics in society

Transform your landscape: Forums Adventurer’s Forum Society & Community Discussing patterns of behavior and group dynamics in society

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      A thread came up in the FB group that addressed, in essence, toxic patterns observed in some permaculture/permaculture adjacent groups. There were specific individuals and groups identified. It was also suggested that it might be, impolitic?, to call out specific individuals.  This in itself was somewhat controversial.  My point here is not to rehash that thread, but to preface  and frame the impetus that has me posting here.

      The topic is patterns of behaviour among humans in groups. Not limited to Permaculture, not focused on social media, but examining some of the patterns of human society and group interaction, with the goal of assessing the pros and cons of different patterns and recognizing signs that a pattern is heading into a negative/destructive path. This post will toss out some observations and examples, with the goal of promoting a constructive discussion about the Patterns.

      One pretty easily recognized pattern (or, perhaps more accurately, set of patterns) centers upon the “Charismatic Leader”. This happens on all sorts of scale, from a small circle of friends with the one dominant personality that leads the group to nation states and the “Cult of Personality”.  There’s room to suggest that Macchiavelli’s work “The Prince” describes one of these patterns.  It’s a common and robust pattern among humans, but easily runs into destructive patterns rather than beneficial ones. Religious groups are commonly built upon a charismatic figure.

      Another pattern is “Democracy”, wherein decisions for the body as a whole are made by the social body, but where only a majority is needed for a decision to be made. Inherent in this pattern are unresolved conflicts and phrases such as “the tyranny of the majority” arise.  It’s easy for organizations based on democratic processes to fragment, if a persistent minority view becomes dissatisfied and opts out.

      “Consensus” – Decisions must be made unanimously.  A difficult pattern to stabilize and maintain. Almost completely exclusive to small groups. Easily broken by a recalcitrant individual.

      Feudalism – This one may or may not be a subset of Charismatic Leader. I think it’s possible for it to exist without a true charismatic leader and as a devolved pattern from a failing democracy or consensus pattern. It requires a central dominant figure, but not necessarily a charismatic. That central figure is, in essence, a dictator, while the surrounding pattern is one of semi-distinct sub-groups revolving around different functionalities, all linked to the central figure for direction.

      I’ll stop there and ask others to add their observations about additional patterns, or commentary on the ones I’ve suggested here.




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