Thursday, September 29, 2016

Circle: Enclave or Statis

I had an e-mail exchange with high school friend, the Reverend Amy Beltaine.  We were talking about the latest gender politics thing, which has been going on for at lest twenty years, and I wrote:  "I think it's useful to think of enclave vs. exclusion.    Holding space in enclave with like-people make it easier to process certain things.   Holding space in exclusion of others is a form of using gatherings as a weapon."

Amy asked to attribute me, and the next thing I know, there's a link in her missive to my blog.  Which currently is about cats and shoulder-bags.  And writing and my not-frequent-enough gym visitations.  

"Oooh, gotta fix that," I thought... although (looks at blog statistics from last week) it's probably a little late for that now.  

The idea comes from a series of thoughts on group dynamics that I formulated back in 1995 at Arcosanti.  I was working with a series of symbols, and circle was one of them.  The NeoPagan ritual circle of protection was the starting point for one train of thought.  In its positive manifestation, the circle allows for an enclave and focus of people with similar experiences, desires, or goals to work together and process.   In its negative manifestation, the circle is an excluding boundary that can lead to homogeneity and stasis.  The challenge that circle lays before us is to become conscious of all of the boundaries in our lives so that we can dynamically balance safety and focus against discrimination and moribundity.
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