Re: Personal Projects Analysis

Tim A. Connor (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 16:54:58 -0800 (PST)

On Wed, 10 Feb 1999, Josh Soffer wrote:

> 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.

Quite true--people may have construct systems that are very similar
structurally, and yet have strong disagreements about which pole of a
construct a given element should be assigned to. This is all the more
likely when construing is very tight and any ambiguity evokes threat.

Nevertheless, unless you're going to say that commonality is something
that arises at random (which it may at times, sort of--different cultures
may come up with similar constructions without contact), it seems to me
that commonality depends on sociality in the first instance (it also
enhances sociality, in that it is no doubt easier to construe
constructions that are in some respect similar to our own). The two
fundamentalists may disagree over whether a given interpretation of
scripture is orthodox or heretical, but they share the construct pair
orthodox/heretical and acquired it by construing the constructions of
others in their religious community, and incorporating those constructions
in their own systems. I, no fundamentalist, can construe that construct
without sharing it--sociality does not *necessarily* lead to commonality,
any more than commonality necessarily leads to peace and harmony.



Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
Pacific University an applied science, it
School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
<> therapist"
--George Kelly