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Mary Douglas quotes (34)

An escalating, violent tit-for-tat may lead to terrorism.
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Any great organization can go through sectarian phases.
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Behind a leader there must be followers, but they should always be on the lookout for the main chance and ready to change sides if the current leader doesn't deliver.
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Enclave life becomes very tense, Even when they do elect a leader, the factions remain, with the threat of splitting off.
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Every year the progress of advanced capitalist society makes our population consist of more and more isolates. This is because of the infrastructure of the economy, especially electronic communications.
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Hierarchy is is much reviled in the present day.
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Hierarchy works well in a stable environment.
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I am convinced that living in an enclave shapes the personality, and living alone shapes the personality too.
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I am sure it must be true that people opt out of the mainstream society because they feel that there are going to be no rewards for them, if they stay.
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I have increasingly, over the years, felt that religion today does our civilization more harm than good.
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If people want to compete for leadership of a religious group, they can compete in piety. A chilling thought. Or funny.
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If you want to change the culture, you will have to start by changing the organization.
Mary Douglas   Category: Change

Inequality can have a bad downside, but equality, for its part, sure does get in the way of coordination.
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Inside a religious body you get sects and hierarchies, inside an information network you get bazaars and cathedrals, it is the same, call them what you like. They survive by pointing the finger of blame at each other.
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Islam is in principle egalitarian, and has always had problems with power.
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It is only partly true that religion does more harm than good in society. The community makes God into the image it wants, vengeful, or milky sweet, or scrupulously just, and so on.
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It is very reasonable to worry about the harm done by organized religion, and to prefer looser and more private arrangements.
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It seems true that the growth of science and secularism made organized Christianity feel under threat.
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It's unlikely that the organized religions will get more sectarian... or is it? I am not at all sure.
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Just in our lifetime our society has become looser and more private, it becomes extremely difficult to hold to any permanent commitment whatever, least of all to organized religion.
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Mormons... are so strong, they can handle wealth, they are confident. I think it is because they are not bogged down by rules for equality, but have a firmly defined system of relative status and responsible command.
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Our technological infrastructure alienates us from each other. No need to form a workplace community, everybody there will be out in a year or two, and so will you, looking for a better place.
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Pretensions to moral superiority are devastatingly destructive.
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Real equality is immensely difficult to achieve, it needs continual revision and monitoring of distributions. And it does not provide buffers between members, so they are continually colliding or frustrating each other.
Mary Douglas   Category: Equality

Religion can make it worse. Are you supposing that if people were encouraged to believe in a transcendent reality, and to be encouraged by grand rituals and music and preaching, to love their neighbors, then they would put jealousy and frustration aside?
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Since 1970, relationships can be more volatile, jobs more ephemeral, geographical mobility more intensified, stability of marriage weaker.
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Some scholars have been arguing that a civilizational clash between organized religions is the next step in human history.
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The history of the Church of Rome is a constant leakage of members into such breakaway cults, which go on splitting.
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The natural response of the old-timers is to build a strong moral wall against the outside. This is where the world starts to be painted in black and white, saints inside, and sinners outside the wall.
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The theory of cultural bias... is the idea that a culture is based on a particular form of organization. It can't be transplanted except to another variant of that organization.
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What did our nation ever do to provoke these madly vicious enemies? What is seen as injustice in one place is seen as just requital in the other.
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When we are reflecting on terrorism we can grieve for many things we do and have done.
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Without that assured American largesse Israel would have been obliged to come to an accommodation with her neighbours.
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Yes, disappointment over perceived unfairness, injustice, promises not kept, tends to go hand in hand with increasing prosperity. Expectations are dashed. What can I say!
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