This reading talked about how a group’s structure can be thought of “as patterns of communication that determine how information flows,” and specifically noted the benefits of a circle or web structure. People often think equality is a natural state that doesn’t have to be managed, but there still needs to be a way of organizing information, including information about relationships among people. The difficulty of actually doing this, makes me wonder if mutuality is ever really viable in our mainstream culture. Even the reading referred to moments of group implosion (during the air, fire, water, earth stages) and talked about how human nature makes it impossible for the group dynamic to not be affected by other human impulses (such as attraction to one another). In nature, resources are used in a sustainable way, while humans exploit resources until they no longer exist. That notion reminds me of a game called, Fish Banks*, which is a tool used to teach people about the mechanics behind over fishing. The only way to win the game is by working across groups to share information in order to sustain enough fish for everyone, but people don’t figure it out until it’s too late since it is set up as a game where whoever makes the most money from fishing wins.
While there might be pockets of this idea of a shared culture in specific communities, I think that overall, people are stuck in the hierarchal model at this point in evolution. But is it worth trying to change the structure of hierarchal groups, or better to learn how to work those systems in a mutually beneficial way? I think a blend of hierarchy and equality is the ideal form for a group to have the most success.
And as far as the roles that Starhawk describes, I think they are a bit superficial. I don’t believe that one person is solely the clown or the self-hater. I think people are more complex than that, and different aspects of their personality come through at different times and in the presence of different people.