node created 2012/06/17
last changed 2013/02/04
I find it easiest to live with people that are different enough that you end up needing to use kindness to relate to each other.

After having felt isolated in my previous living situations, I'm now in a complex where we all hang out in the parking lot most afternoons. I'm a software engineer, my neighbors include bus drivers, clerks, landscapers, those who have no visible means of support, etc. It's a nice relaxed environment, which I don't experience when people who are too similar are around.
When a group has no specific task (and consciousness raising is a task), the people in it turn their energies to controlling others in the group. This is not done so much out of a malicious desire to manipulate others (though sometimes it is) as out of a lack of anything better to do with their talents. Able people with time on their hands and a need to justify their coming together put their efforts into personal control, and spend their time criticizing the personalities of the other members in the group. Infighting and personal power games rule the day. When a group is involved in a task, people learn to get along with others as they are and to subsume personal dislikes for the sake of the larger goal. There are limits placed on the compulsion to remold every person in our image of what they should be.

The end of consciousness-raising leaves people with no place to go, and the lack of structure leaves them with no way of getting there.