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(large) group evolution

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  • (large) group evolution

    This is aimed at larger groups but it can be seen to work on smaller scales too.

    It's been my experience that once a large group reaches critical mass (whatever that happens to be for that group) it will naturally "fragment" into smaller groups.

    I put that word in quotes because I find it both descriptive and misleading. When something fragments, a large whole becomes several smaller pieces. But this implies that the whole is destroyed, and in the case of a healthy group this is not the case.

    Instead, the pieces come together to still function as a whole, but the smaller groups also pick up a slack that they larger entity may not be meeting.

    It's really the difference between public and private groups. The benefits had a public, mixed gender circle are different from those of a closed, close knit women's circle for example. And while both groups might be having a ritual, the HOW of it can be very different.

    I've seen a LOT of groups fall apart, not because they fragmented, but because the main group tried to STOP the fragmentation, not realizing that the smaller groups will then be part of the long as the whole welcomes them.

    The thing that some misunderstand is that while yes some groups might disappear and leave the main group, others will likely stick around and will help share the work load from the basis of that new group. The full moon group might decide to do a public esbat for the main group. Or the Ceremonial Magick group might orchestrate a community potluck.

    What these smaller groups do may or may not be related to their own focus. But that willingness to do SOMETHING should be encouraged.

    The thing is that all these potential events are not competition, but represent options for those that the group is meant to serve.

    In my case I'm working at building community through my group and eventually will look at making our events publicly accessible. The thing about anything to do with the public is that the needs are very diverse and on one group or activity will be able to meet ALL those needs.

    People who come to coffee nights, might not come to public ritual. People who come public sabbat rituals might have no interest in work shops or classes. And those that come to classes may never attend a coffee night. And perhaps those that come out are looking to ultimately find a private working group to join. So in large groups these smaller ones withe their own events become the life blood of the whole.

    So...those are my rambling thoughts. I apologize if they aren't to coherent :P

    What do you think when it comes to the evolution of a group? How can it be done in a healthy fashion and what can/does sabotage it? also, can anyone thing of a better term then "fragmenting?"
    The Sexy Heathen Babe

  • #2
    I think you're talking about committees. Sometimes they work, other times they hinder progress. I think it's pretty natural for large groups to form smaller splinter groups. Like will gravitate to like. With any kind of group dynamics there is always a leader, and it is usually up to them to make sure these committees get along and to keep the larger goals in mind.
    The issue of sabotage comes in when some groups feel that they are not being treated fairly. Or when people have different directions that they want the group to go. The stronger the sense of indivdualism, the harder it is to maintain unity.

    So tie me to a post and block my ears
    I can see widows and orphans through my tears
    I know my call despite my faults
    And despite my growing fears

    But I will hold on hope
    And I won't let you choke
    On the noose around your neck

    And I'll find strength in pain
    And I will change my ways
    I'll know my name as it's called again
    ~ Mumford and Sons (The Cave)

    "I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots." ~ Susan Straight