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Dialogue #56

Marginality (Lu)

Metaphors: Wandering / Sojourning

Social When a dialogue has no established position or relationships in society, it succeeds best by engaging in short-term activities with those of superior values such that it is not drawn into conflict situations.


1. It is counterproductive for the isolated dialogue to undertake trivial initiatives in order to achieve favour in the eyes of others. (Resulting in: Normative constraint).

2. The isolated dialogue viewed favourably by others eventually finds a foothold in society and attracts permanent support. (Resulting in: Cultural heritage).

3. By acting discourteously and interfering in the affairs of others, the isolated dialogue may well lose any foothold it has in society and alienate its support, thus placing it in a very vulnerable position. (Resulting in: Progress).

4. Disguising its aspirations, the isolated dialogue may obtain a provisional position in society by limiting its publicly voiced requirements, but any resources it can the accumulate will have to be constantly protected, leaving it with a permanent sense of insecurity. (Resulting in: Inaction).

5. In order to establish a relationship with those in power and develop contacts with others, the isolated dialogue can best succeed through a demonstration of its qualities, on the basis of which it can then be recommended. (Resulting in: Withdrawal).

6. If, having established a position in society, the dialogue acts imprudently, forgetting its marginal status as a newcomer, it may be rejected, losing all it was in the process of building up. (Resulting in: Conscientiousness).

Transformation sequence Marginality cannot be absorbed or controlled by the environment and thus gives rise to penetrating clarity of perception. (Resulting in: Penetrating clarity).

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Earlier version in 2nd edition of Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (1986).

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