Ground-Truthing: Your Group Dynamics Thought Experiment 2.1.1
Consider the dynamics in a group you belong to – your immediate family or friends, your work, school, or civic organization. What characteristics of Growth or Decay do you see in the various people who belong to your group? How might you act differently in these various groups in order to fit in? Why would you act or think differently depending on which group you were with? Are you consciously or unconsciously doing this?
Think of a specific person. What might his or her reasons be for choosing the actions or characteristics of Growth or Decay? Do you believe this person is choosing? Is he or she “controlled” by something or someone external? Is he or she “controlled” by internal assumptions or beliefs? What might change how this person acts – for better or worse?
Consider your religious or political group. Does the group act in a way consistent with what it says? Does your group say one thing but do another? Do the rules or expectations of the group apply to all equally? Is there one rule for “us” and another rule for “them”? Is there one rule for the leader and another rule for the followers?
It is often easier to analyze others than to analyze ourselves, of course. And seeing the concrete effects of someone else’s behavior and choices is easier than imaging how we ourselves might act in a variety of circumstances. It is often hard to foresee and then to choose what to do about the negative consequences of moral Decay or to choose how to strengthen moral Growth. But noticing in the first step.
Without Words We Cannot Think
“It may be well with the evil-doer as long as the evil ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the evil-doer sees the painful results of his evil deeds.” (#119)
“It may be ill with the doer of good as long as the good ripens not. But when it does ripen, then the doer of good sees the pleasant results of his good deeds.” (#120) Buddha (b. 565BCE) The Dhammapada [Trans. Acharya Buddharakkhita]