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Sectarianism

September 11, 2006

The ability of humans to form sects and cults continues to amaze any rational person. We seem to create a need to define ourselves by embracing one aspect of something valuable while needed to denigrate other aspects. OK I know I do that a bit to avoid confusion of say of complexity with systems appraoches, but it can go too far. I have previously mentioned an old Welsh Joke about the village with one house, two pubs and five chapels (the number varies according to the number of pints of Dark one has had before telling the story). It is more or less a true story; a falling apart within a family over minor points of doctrine. Of course none of them would survive without each other so its a form of sado-masochism. I am reminded again of Tom Lehrer’s wonderfully satirical song The Masochism Tango. Euan Semple blogs one aspect of this in the context of 9/11 by reference to BBC Documentary on the interdependence of the US Neo-cons and radical Islamists but the best example comes from one of the most literate and delightful blogs I have found in the context of the Wikipedia (sorry to return there so soon). Nick Carr’s conclusion is apposite: The human urge to divide communities is just slightly stronger than the human urge to create them

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