Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Belonging, Belief, and Behavior "Revisited"

On Richard Beck's 'Experimental Theology" he wrote about "Third Places". I think these "third places" are what humans need in their experience of life. It is one of the basic needs of being human. It is the need to "belong". Humans are social beings.

Behavior that is inclusive is also about belonging to the "human race". This is about being and acting humanely.

Beliefs, though, can inhibit humans from crossing the divide of difference and acting in a humane way. Many times these inhumane ways of behaving is because of a person's understanding of "god". And other times, prejuidice is due to conditioning within a certain social context.

In America, we live with difference, as we live in a diverse culture, although Beck seems to think that we don't. I guess it might depend on if we have ever lived in a city, even in surburbia. Larger populations in America are almost always diverse.

Human love to categorize, generalize, and universalize. This is one way that the social sciences understand the 'human". But, while social scientists generalize, humans are also unique individuals, with personal experiences, personal values, and personal gifts that go beyond their identification to a certain specification.

Some behaviorists think that change to an individual happens because of exposure. But, this is not always the case. Research has shown that not only do some people "read" their bias and prejuidice into a situation or encounter with another different from themselves, but there is also a type of 'prejuidicial personality type.

So, while instigating behavior is an important factor in evaluating or determining research for social scientists, it is a variable that is not easily "controlled" or evaluated as to its universiality.

In postmodernity's need to find "reason", human experience is the only "universal" human category. And the category itself is very diverse in its true understanding.

No comments: