Identity itself has become much more a matter of individual choice and personal commitment. Individuals can choose to remain Xian or become Xian or cease to be Xian in a way which would have been incomprehensible in pre-contact society. for them the individual would no more contemplate leaving the immediate or wider kinship groups than would a passenger on an ocean-going ship would jump overboard or an athlete wander off the field in the middle of a match. Once the possibility of leaving with immunity becomes practical and the fact of staying becomes a deliberate decision the ethical balance between individual and group has shifted irrevocably in the individual’s direction. Total loyalty to the group and submersion in its activities and purposes can never be recovered.

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