Thursday, 11 February 2021

Gordian Knots

“We do things our way around these parts.” 

One Horse Town

In a one horse town everyone knows everyone, everyone knows everyone’s business, everyone relies on everyone else which usually means everyone relies on the one or two people who’ve got their heads together. There is a general attitude of ‘us versus them’ between the locals versus outsiders. Outsiders typically will not be able to fit in, will not be made to feel welcome, and will be exploited. A xenophobic attitude toward outsiders. Everything is kept simple, reliant on the basic system which works around here. Black and White thinking reigns: if it ain’t normal it’s wrong. A strict hierarchy order is easily recognisable as the power structure and respected by locals as an absolute. Alternately this may be a trade town reliant on outsiders to bring necessary resources in exchange for local produce. 

Two Horse Town

In a two horse town, there are two encampments. There is an ‘us versus them’ mentality between the two camps often flaring toward unresolvable hostility. The dynamic is such this typically keeps going indefinitely. Outsiders are welcomed so long as they empower us, and warred upon if they empower the other. Black and White thinking reigns. Competition exists between factions each of which has its own hierarchy with a relative counterpart in the other faction. Usually there is a singular strong leader for each side. 

Three Horse Town 

A mediation exists between polarities permitting for greater diversity. Typically the factions are greyscale rather than black and white, creating versatile dynamics where each faction exists at an equilibrium between the other factions. This is the simplest form of the most stable structure.  Each faction may be polarised to both others, allied with both others, polarised to one and allied with the other, subservient or dominant, or more typically a mix in different areas of life. Outsiders are usually tolerated with a mixture of courteous respect and manipulative or overtly hostile exploitation. 

Five Horse Town

“Folks from around here ain’t from around here.”

There are so many possible dynamics in a cosmopolitan culture more used to enabling and supporting people to do things their own way. There are multiple options and opportunities available so the mindset is one of working with what works best for the individual rather than conformity to practicality, and of accepting dismissal in favour of alternative approaches. There are more variety of specialists found within this community. Xenophobia is rare while multicultural differences are embraced. This melting pot is a distillation process which eventually leads to a syncretic culture between fractionalised communities and sub-groups. 

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