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INTRODUCTION Mary Douglas

Now I come to introduce the last section. Already we have had many examples of how people come to think alike when they are in a like situation, defined in grid/group terms. Three concluding essays illustrate how the internal consciousness is structured in a particular social environment. Steve Rayner gives the example of a homogenized and shrunken perception of time and space which is encouraged by choosing to live in small strongly bounded egalitarian groups. If his ideas are substantiated by further research, it must be extremely interesting to have a precise account of the grid/group conditions which make credible millenarian claims that doomsday or paradise will occur next week. In the preceding section Martin Rudwick has related similar conceptions of geological time to the same sector of the grid/group scheme. Michael Thompson suggests in this section not only a parallel insight but also describes the mechanisms by which people cut off their consciousness of a long time-perspective as part of their commitment to a society which does not allow claims to be made in the name of the ancestors or of posterity. With these three independent suggestions converging on the same point, I hope that future research will take up the effect of grid/group positioning on consciousness of temporal structure.