The disease of giants 03 Jul 2006
23 comments Latest by Roger
One last excerpt from Edward Hall’s “Beyond Culture.” Here he riffs on how things keep getting bigger despite evidence humans actually thrive in the opposite sort of environment.
In small schools, students participated more, it meant more to them, they were more tolerant of others, they formed closers, more lasting relationships, were more effective in group processes, could communicate better, performed six times more in responsible positions, they were absent less often, were more dependable, tended to volunteer more often, were more productive, were more articulate, and found their work more meaningful. In other words, the small schools produced better citizens, who tended to be more satisfied with their lives and were more competent in every way.
What is easily missed in all this is that consolidations is not restricted to schools but found on all sides — particularly in business and government. Everything is getting bigger: automobiles, airplanes, buildings, and cities. We are living in an age of giants. Yet everything that is known about man’s needs points in the other directions. It is like a disease: since everyone has it, we think nothing of it. The problem, of course, is that vulnerability increases with size and it therefore becomes necessary…to “manage” the environment, which makes for great rigidity and suppression of the individual as well.