Comment: That would be called "cooperation"

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Michael Nystrom's picture

That would be called "cooperation"

But because of the nature of groups, as I detailed in the first year of this experiment, factions tend to make this difficult, for reasons that Clay Shirky explained.

The second basic pattern that Bion detailed: The identification and vilification of external enemies. This is a very common pattern. Anyone who was around the Open Source movement in the mid-Nineties could see this all the time. If you cared about Linux on the desktop, there was a big list of jobs to do. But you could always instead get a conversation going about Microsoft and Bill Gates. And people would start bleeding from their ears, they would get so mad.

If you want to make it better, there's a list of things to do. It's Open Source, right? Just fix it. "No, no, Microsoft and Bill Gates grrrrr ...", the froth would start coming out. The external enemy -- nothing causes a group to galvanize like an external enemy.

So even if someone isn't really your enemy, identifying them as an enemy can cause a pleasant sense of group cohesion. And groups often gravitate towards members who are the most paranoid and make them leaders, because those are the people who are best at identifying external enemies.

The problem with the factions is they identify other factions as the "enemy." The current biggest internal, outside "enemy" is the "Statist." Yelling "Statist! STATIST!" at others who share many of the same goals is counterproductive.

Just sayin'

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
- Alan Watts