Sunday, April 15, 2007

Respect and Security

How can we maintain security and respect at the same time? Only one of the six security approaches is fully respectful of both the threatened group and the threatening group: alliance. In an alliance, each group maintains its integrity while cooperating toward common ends. The alternatives, however, alter one or both groups either structurally or in their ability to function.

Statistically, only one-sixth of a random population is likely to support any particular option, which may be a major reason why we often see combinations of one or more applied in reality, varying in relative weight over time. Another major reason may be the fact that every group has commonalities with each other, such as the fact that we are genetically nearly identical, which calls into question the whole notion of the groups being “well-defined,” that is, sufficiently different from one another. If the traits that differentiate groups can be altered, such as religion and political affiliation, then given sufficient contact and time there may be diffusion between the groups – mutual assimilation.

This discussion begs another question: Why would one group threaten another in the first place? If by default or reason the members of one group have a set of shared traits that identify them as different from another group, and those traits are immutable over a period of time, the members may be acting on the common urge to grow. Growth often involves the acquisition of more members and the resources to support them. Unfortunately for all groups, growth by definition is unsustainable, and the groups that survive the longest learn to live with this fact by constantly seeking an optimum size for their typically changing environment. When one group’s “environment” includes the members of another group (as it must in any closed system, limited by resources or speed of acquisition of those resources), then it must limit its growth, alter its own characteristics, or attempt to overcome the other group (threaten it).

No comments: