Re: Personal Projects Analysis

Josh Soffer (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 16:21:45 -0600 (CST)

Chad Hagans wrote:

"I think commonality is necessary as a basis for sociality only insofar
as both people have in common the ability to communicate in some way.
Kelly's original notion was that one is engaging in sociality whether or
not one is accurate in understanding another person's constructions. The
process of simply trying to step into the other's shoes and see the
world from their perspective is sociality, whether or not the two people
have anything at all in common."

Tim Connor wrote:
>From birth (I would say) we begin construing others' construct systems
and appropriating them (or at least our constructions of them). We're
good enough at this that a high level of commonality within communities
is the result. And the longer people have been engaging in sociality
with each other (to the exclusion of outsiders), the more similar their
construct systems are likely to be."

>From my reading, I interpret Kelly 's notion of sociality as the ability
to subsume the constructions of another, whereas this is not necessary
for commonality. For example, two individuals who match the criterion
for conmmonality may be members of a fundamentalist religious
organization with rigid moral strictures. That the two have similar
superordinate worldviews does not mean that they will get along
handsomely. The very fact that the orientation they hold in common does
such a lousy job at making sense of behavior that deviates from its
guidlines of correctness suggests that it will not take much to have
them at each other's throats over minor differences in interpretation or
action . As Kelly says, "the warriors who sprang up from the dragon's
teeth sown by Jason had much in common but, misconstruing each other's
motives, they failed to share in a constructive enterprise and soon
destroyed each other.(p.95)"

One who accords with Kelly's definition of sociality may very well not
be a member of a fundamentalist group, may not buy into fundamentalism
at all , and in fact may be an atheistic postmodernist with a successful
therapy practice, but is able to subsume the construction system of the
two conservatives, such that he can transcend the rigidities of their
outlook and substitute understanding for hostility. Kelly says " the
person who is to play a constructive role in a social process with
another person need not so much construe things as the other person does
as he must effectively construe the other person's must
not only, in some measure, see eye-to-eye with him but must, in some
measure, have an acceptance of him and his way of seeing things (p.95,
Theory of Personality) " The atheistic postmodernist therapist accepts
the orientation of the fundamentalist as a rigid and somewhat
impermeable system whose implications for behavior he can generally
anticipate better than can a peer of the fundamentalist who shares his
rigid outlook.

Josh Soffer: