This is an extract of a class I taught on problem solving and the psychology of groups.
I hope you enjoy this excerpt.
The concept of family is constantly changing. The so called “nuclear family” long in decline has been reinvented and refigured as gay and lesbian couples form families as part of larger communities of interest.
Many individuals of us trace our problems to the toxic, dysfunctional families in which we were raised.
Let’s explore the concept of family from an applied game theory and problem solving perspective.
There are three general models for families
1. Nuclear family
2. Traditional extended family
3. Polyamorous family model
Since the industrial revolution the trend in the west had been towards the nuclear family whereas in many other parts of the world, especially in China, as well as in nomadic tribal cultures, the extended family model was the natural choice.
The nuclear family model definitely has its benefits. For one, it gives freedom to the creative person who has a need to express his or her individuality.
This is not easy to do in the extended family model where a person is expected to take care of elderly parents and other relatives who may be in need. As a natural response to the growth of the nuclear family model other system especially social service agencies were created to provide lodging and basic services to those who could not take of the themselves and who could not look for that support through the nuclear family model.
For the elderly a balance between the nuclear family and the sense of community that comes from developing friendships with those with similar interests, and making use of community services including education and entertainment frees that person from dependency upon the whims, and control of an adult child.
In the nuclear model what the Confucians named filial piety often clashes with the needs of the individual. The Polyamorous family model whether monogamous or not in its attitudes towards sexuality is well suited for natural, loving symbiotic relationships. This model offers the best of the nuclear family and the extended family while freeing family members of imposed morality as dysfunctional and impractical rules and regulations.
Polyamorous family structures can offer an enlightened system of loving reciprocity.
Being independent can mean many things. For some it includes defining meaning and purpose in life by serving others with generosity and kindness.
The days are past where society can force the obligation of caring for family members, especially parental care, upon us. It has at the same time given us tools to care for those who have cared for us as a natural choice.
Lewis Harrison, the author of this blog is a speaker, consultant, and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. He is a pioneer in the personal development movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers seminar, workshops, retreats and phone based coaching. He is creating a series of ebooks entitled “Ask Lewis…” which will be available on line.
Lewis offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and created the course on Life Strategies www.How ToSolveAny Problem.com – a simple system for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.