Frontiersmen

Alexander Liss

08/30/98

 

Some people have the tendency to function beyond the edge of the society. This tendency sometimes is developed in the childhood, sometimes later. Often among the people with this tendency are people who think fast or learn fast or have great imagination or who are rich. These people are useful for the society - they expand its possibilities. However they occupy a peculiar place in it, and they have to understand this fact.

These people have difficulties with the conformity, with being integral part of the society. The situation is easily exacerbated with accumulated miscommunication and rejection by the main part of the society. This leads to all kinds of pathological development, from forming separate micro-societies to outright breaking ties with the society.

 

Early Development

Often kids with some outstanding skills have not enough room for the process of expansion of the individual - the environment is not stimulating and too restrictive. We do not mean constraints of the civil behavior, which kids have to learn; we mean constraints limiting development of personality. The usual signs of this situation - kids are bored, frustrated, and have no friends.

These kids can develop an early tendency to function beyond the edge of the society. While the society needs this kind of individuals and can benefit from this tendency, it is too difficult task to be carried by the kids, and the society has to move the formation of this tendency to the later years of the development.

In the school it can be done with the variety of extracurricular activities, from which the kid can find some to train and expand special abilities, which he has. These activities are kind of necessity for the kid and the task of teachers and parents is to provide him with the opportunity to have them. The kid does not need any praise for the achievements in these activities; often praises only confuse him.

These extracurricular activities have to be challenging, demanding skills above average. They can and should include activities belonging to other areas, for example, music can include some mathematics and computers. The main goal of these activities is the challenge and the room for the unique individual development.

Parents and teachers, while giving room for the development of special abilities of these kids, have to emphasize and encourage the ability to conform, the achievements in common areas of activity, for example in subjects of general curriculum.

 

Self Management

People with the strong tendency to function beyond the edge of the society - Frontiersmen, have to learn a few tricks how to do it.

Frontiersmen have to understand their "handicap" of low degree of social development and pay more conscious attention to the group thinking and feeling. The unique thoughts and feelings emerge automatically with them; the common ones require some efforts. The effect is just opposite to one observed with members of the main part of the society.

Frontiersmen have hard time finding people whom they can tolerate for a long time - the candidates for friendship, love, marriage, etc. Hence their approach has to be different from the approach of the people from the main group. In the main group people have wide choice of partners, and they look for champions. Frontiersmen have narrow choice and have to find potential partners, which they can tolerate. For them this is not a small fit already (learning tolerance definitely helps in it).

Frontiersmen are in peculiar social situation; hence they are much better off with partners who are not Frontiersmen.

As much the society benefits from the presence of Frontiersmen, average members of the society do not grant an automatic acceptance to them. Hence to be "attached" to the main part of the society the Frontiersmen have to perpetually produce "glue". They have to give away for free something they have in excess - they have to pay a "fee" for the right to function beyond the edge of the society. If they are creative, they should create 10% more ideas than average member and give them away, if they are rich, they have to pay 10% more for the same services, etc.

 

Finding a Niche

Usually people learn from the childhood how to blend into new group; Frontiersmen have a problem with this process. They have a problem because it is difficult to build a special "place" in the group where Frontiersman can reside - this is not a "natural" place in the group, it requires some doing.

Frontiersman needs to find members of the group, which function as a buffer between him and the rest of the group. At least one member is needed. This requirement brings minimal group structure, which allows Frontiersman function with the group - a Tandem: Frontiersman and the Buffer.

The Tandem makes the Frontiersman visibly useful for the group and gives the Frontiersman perpetual feedback from the group in the language the Frontiersman understands.

If there are two Frontiersmen in the group there are two Tandems in the group. However this is not enough. If the group to function effectively two Frontiersmen have to communicate effectively, and this is a difficult task. Hence there is a need in the Bridge - members of the group, which make this communication possible; at least one member is needed. Hence if there are two Frontiersmen in the group, than there are two Tandems and the Bridge in the group - three other members of the group make it possible.

Similar three Frontiersmen require three Tandems and three Bridges - six supportive members of the group. And so on.

This is a heavy load, and a group can exist effectively only with a few Frontiersmen, especially if one takes in consideration the need for the reserve in case some of the support members leave the group.

Each new Frontiersman needs the Buffer and Bridges with existing Frontiersmen in the group. This is a "nest", which one has to build to enter a group as a Frontiersman.

 

Frontiersmen and Scouts

To be useful for the society and hence eventually accepted by the society Frontiersmen have to specialize in some activity, which is helpful in the area of the current expansion of the society. This makes them inflexible - it is hard to find something that has the hope to be on the way of social expansion, and it is hard to acquire skills in the area remote from the main social activity.

Scouts are members of the society who function on the edge of the society. They are mobile and naturally integrated into the society unlike Frontiersmen.