Nov 29, 2008

self, expanding #3

The expansion of the circle that fills the view and interest of individuals may frequently give rise to a particular form of egoism that engenders a real and ideal restriction of social spheres. It may promote a greatheartedness and an enthusiastically outreaching vault of the psyche, both of which are inhibited by the amalgamation of personal life with a narrow interest circle of solidary comrades. But whenever circumstances or character retard this outcome, then, quite significantly, its exact opposite results ... Along many dimensions, human nature and human situations are so positioned that when the individual's relations begin to exceed a certain extensiveness, he becomes all the more thrown back upon himself.
georg simmel, "group expansion and the development of individuality"

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