I am not "against" groups --pointless-- but I am rarely comfortable in them. My basic reaction to them is suspicious. INTP.
Two recent moments bring to mind the complex dance between the one and the many for me.
Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of the San Francisco wedding of my friend J and his partner Bob. Readers of this blog may recall that I am not a fan of gay marriage, but there I was, at their request, standing as their legal witness at City Hall. The political issue was not as important as the honor of being asked and my own instinct to honor two good men who have been partners now for more than a decade. Since I was the witness...best man, I guess...I felt it behooved me to note the date, so I sent them a bottle of Zinfandel, which I discovered they both like. They were very happy with it. Went with the lasagna they'd prepared for dinner.
On Facebook, I got a notice that a former patient of mine was recommending that I do an "I Like" of his business. I don't know how he found me. This is the second time a patient has apparently discovered me on Facebook. This time it unsettled me. Why? Because this fellow, whom I worked with for a couple of years, is a very liberal guy and if he found my Facebook posts, he'd discover that I am not and that this might be unsettling to him. Now I realize that FB has a privacy screen and, if it works, he would not be able to see anything of my postings. But FB connects me often with people I have had no FB connection with at all and so I am assuming there is some kind of monster algorithm privacy-busting program working the background.
In both cases, my friend and my former patient are connected with positions and actions of which I am not a big supporter. But it is simply a fact of my character that while I am well aware of an individual's "membership" in various kinds of groups --some of which I definitely do not like-- I cannot get myself to relate to that individual --if I make a personal connection-- in a way dominated by his group(s). I grew up in a NY 1950's world where we all knew each other's differences in ethnicity or religion, for example, and made robust fun of each other but still were friends and neighbors. Bracketing, the foundation of a free society.
When it comes to politics and the couch, for instance, pretty well all my patients are very liberal Democrats. And it is not uncommon for me to hear them speak to me on the assumption that --because I am gay-- I am on the same page. Very rarely do I respond, and only if their attitude in this field connects with an attitude in the rest of their life that is part of our work together. Otherwise I let it go by. It's not relevant.
And when I was asked to be the wedding witness, I wondered if it was wrong of me to agree, since I don't think that matrimony and male/male couples are a match. As much as I put energy into my beliefs about all kinds of things, I have a background awareness that beliefs can change --I am exhibit A in this-- and so I am much more likely to place friendship first.
Unless there is some severe question of conscience...which, being a 5, I rarely have :). My question is not "Is it right?" --That's for the insufferable 1's-- but "Does it make sense?". One of the upsides of my natural emotional distance is that I can make room for things in people that the more feeling and intimacy driven types can't abide. Really, as long as I know I'm right and you are not going to impose your position on me, I don't much need to convince you to change your erroneous mind, especially if I like you.
The conscience of a conservative?