The Psychologist’s Tale
Like any other social system, the Open Brethren have to achieve a balance between differentiating themselves from others and integrating with them in order to benefit from their resources. Because they are a sect, they have concentrated on the differences in their beliefs and practices from those of similar sects. They ensure conformity within the sect so that it may be clear to others in what respects they are different. As a result, they have a strong social identity as Brethren, which meets their needs for meaning and certainty, self-esteem, and affiliation. However, the centrality of this identity for their self-concept has two results. First, they tend to regard other categories of person as out-groups to be avoided; second, they may miss out on more complex forms of social identity which are necessary to function socially in the complex modern world.