Isolation and Polarization
The Continental school offers another perspective with regard to reasons why we might move material from Quad Three to Quad One. This perspective is social psychological in nature. In essence, I disclose information about myself and, in particular, my self-narrative in order to reconfirm my existing social construction. I only reveal that which will be confirmed with regard to my beliefs and values. I will only reveal to people who will support my beliefs and self-image. Bellah would suggest that this is one of the attractions of a sheltered life style enclave: I only have to relate to people who think and feel like I do and who will confirm the veracity of all my disclosures. Roger Brown describes a similar phenomenon in describing the benefit to be derived from being a fan (fanatic) of a specific sports team, movie star or (in Brown’s own case) opera singer:
The test of being a fan is very simple. Your own self-esteem must rise and fall with the successes and failures of your object of admiration. In addition, though you may be a solitary fan with no nearby like-minded group, a fan cannot rest content with his private opinion but must try to convince others that his evaluation is objectively correct. That means he must make propaganda to build a social consensus that will establish the reality he believes in.
In essence, we either surround ourselves with other people like ourselves who will like (and not challenge) what we share about ourselves, or we will seek to bring other people around to our point of view—so that we can avoid differing constructs and perspectives. We observe this dynamic not only in the lure of life style enclaves, but also in the isolation and polarization of both political and religious groups in many 21st Century societies.