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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %HONEST STANDARDS EXPECTATIONS INTEGRITY LOVE FEAR 971024 Various religious and secular groups seek to define themselves in terms of standards for proper beliefs, ideals, values, rituals and daily behavior. Such groups define who is an accepted member of the group in terms of expectations which flow from their understandings of their own standards. Similarly, groups define who should be excluded from the group because they do not fulfill the expectations which are tied to their own standards. Various efforts are made to get people to conform to the perceived standards so as to generate group spirit, unity, cooperation, cohesiveness, integrity and the attractiveness of the group to potential additional members. Most groups have stories of a few revered founders of the group. The group's standards are traditionally tied to the teachings and lives of the group's founders. Stories are told about the teachings and lives of the founders; and mythic messages are conveyed in the telling of such stories. Often there are bits and pieces of evidence that some parts of the stories are based upon historic facts. The stories "hang together" in the view of many faithful members of the group --- and many members regard the stories as unquestionably true. For some members of the group, it is a heresy to ask in what sense the stories are really true; or even to suggest that there are a variety of ways in which the stories might be true. People who are dedicated to either/or thinking are prone to claim that there is only one way in which the stories can be true and that the stories are unquestionably true in that one sense. The only other alternative is that they are false in the only way that they could be false; and that alternative cannot be thought of in any clear way. Often the stories which are at the core of the being of a group --- evolve through the centuries of the group living within changing cultural contexts. Different parts of the group live in contrasting cultural contexts which change in different ways. Through separation of parts of the group from each other --- diversity develops within the the separated parts of the group. Different parts of the group develop variations on the stories which reflect the different cultural contexts within which the different parts of the group have evolved. Occasions arise in which different parts of one group come into conflict with each other about which group fragment is telling the "true" stories of the founding of the group and what the group should stand for. The standards of different fragments of the group differ. Conflicts arise over which standards are supposed to be enforced to maintain the integrity of the group. Such conflict thus threatens the integrity of the group as people fight over how to maintain the integrity of the group and all that the group stands for. In extreme cases, holy religious wars break out and the integrity of the "members of the group" and of "the group itself" is destroyed --- in the name of preserving the integrity of the "group". Because they are playing collusive games of mutual self-deception, most members of the group do not perceive what is happening --- as they and their group disintegrate. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================