ALS Topic 35 - Boundary Players, Boundary Breakers, Navigators and Drifters

Focus questions for Adelaide Lunchtime Seminar, 25 May 2019
Venue: Adelaide
(https://www.meetup.com/AdelaideLunchtimeSeminar/ )

Note: About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding.


Focus Questions

 

Jargon note: "Symbolic boundaries" (for sociologists) are the navigation guides that people create in their own minds to guide and limit their actions. When symbolic boundaries become firmly accepted by a group of people, they are called "social boundaries".

1. Are you one for the straight & narrow, or apt to flip out of bounds? Are you inclined to be directionless, rule-bound, a rule-twister, or plainly an opportunist? None of the above? What has shaped you in that way?

2. How has migration challenged old boundaries and shaped new ones in Australia? Migrants cross social boundaries, both by abandoning home cultures, and challenging the social boundaries of their destination. 29% of the people in Australia were not born in the country. Only half of Australians have Australian born parents.

3. What happens to life plans when social boundaries collapse or dissolve? For example, schooling in many ways is the process of establishing in young minds and understanding of the social boundaries that are supposed to govern their future life choices for family, career and citizen roles. But the accepted plans I was sold - 'family plan' (wife, house in the suburbs, 2.5 children), 'career plan' (loyal service to a company in a respected profession), 'citizen plan' (Australia has turned into a different country) .... have hardly been relevant to me. The journey will be even more dizzy for millenials.

4. What psychological types will survive best in the accelerating vortex of change we are undergoing? [comment: Adelaidians seem to have historically made an art form of keeping their city as a sheltered backwater ...]

5. Which familiar social & political boundaries do you see as being especially vulnerable? What are you doing about it?

6. How do you personally feel about innovation and invention, which by definition undermine known boundaries? "Play is the engine of invention" (K. Eric Drexler (1986) "Engines of Creation"). Do you agree? Every field of technology at a given time has technical boundaries which limit what can be done. Most people work within those boundaries. Usually they are comfortable with that, and resist change. Some dabble at the technical edges from curiosity, or if they are a researcher, with professional intent.

7. Are the boundaries set by laws in Australia always, or even generally designed to benefit most people in the society? Think of actual examples. Laws and institutional rules explicitly set out boundaries for the behaviour of large numbers of people. Those laws can be designed to benefit the greatest number, or they can be designed to privilege a certain elite group, or commercial interests, but not the majority of people.

8. What might tip life as we know it beyond all known bounds, and into chaos? Maybe the most interesting phenomenon in nature is bounded random variation. The evolution of life would not have been possible without it. No two heartbeats are the same, but all heartbeats occur within certain bounds or chaos ensues. The same goes for weather patterns, the stock market, traffic on the roads .. and so on.

9. People roughly between the ages of about 14 and 30 often go through a process of testing known boundaries, even to the point of injury or death (worldwide, suicide is the main cause of death for under-35s). After this age the majority of people become quite rigid about personal and social boundaries, and may persecute others who challenge them.

10. Are the boundaries of law and custom in 'the West' which let us lead fairly private lives doomed to be lost? Many societies never had and don't have such private boundaries.

11. Life in big cities, especially, may force us to play multiple roles. Think of situations where the boundary conditions of these various roles can tangle and create risk or stress.

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NOTE: THE SATURDAY MEETUP IS LIMITED TO 10 PEOPLE TO GIVE EVERYONE A TALKING CHANCE. (With luck, 8 might show..) AFTER 10 RSVP's YOU GO ONTO A WAIT LIST. IF SOMEONE DROPS OUT, YOU WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTED. IF YOU DECIDE NOT TO COME PLEASE CANCEL THE RSVP TO GIVE THOSE WAITING A CHANCE.


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Comments & Extra Reading







Thor's own websites:

1. articles at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay ;

2. legacy site: http://thormay.net .

 


Viral Ideas, Viral Emotions, Psychological & Social Contagion (c) Thor May 2019 return to Ddiscussion