Whether they are channeling the gods, translating nature’s secrets into scientific truths, envisioning the inexorable march of historic forces, or identifying causal connections so as to be able to plan for economic well-being, clever minds have conceived increasingly sophisticated ways of playing upon the fears and uncertainties of their neighbors in order to gain power over them. Such schemes depend upon keeping the subservient in a constant state of fear of the adverse consequences that will likely follow from their disobedience: there may be food shortages as the supply of game animals dwindles; the “Nine Bows” may sneak into our village at night and destroy our buildings; or deadly earthquakes, drouths, or great storms may occur if we do not live in accordance with the dictates of the gods.
While the details of the political power-game change, the underlying logic of the system remains basically intact. The tribal shaman with his collection of trinkets and magic smoke would fully understand the modern government bureaucrat’s use of licenses, rules, and other gimmicks to accomplish his ends. The more primitive shake-down shaman, with his alleged pipeline to the gods, has been replaced by the academically-trained PhD-“expert” with his computer projections, each psychic racketeer claiming the capacity to predict outcomes in a world that is forever chaotic and uncertain.
The concoction of fears of an intensity sufficient to sustain the obedience of the many ultimately depends upon the use of lies. For a primitive society, the lies have a simplicity and narrowness of reach that they may be accepted by tribesmen. But for a more complex society – wherein millions of people interact through a myriad of networks – the lies become an avalanche of conflicts and contradictions that insinuate themselves into every facet of human action. By virtue of this ubiquitousness, social discord, economic dislocations, wars, genocides, and other dehumanizing and dispiriting practices have become the norm of mankind’s present existence on earth.
terça-feira, maio 06, 2014
The Compulsion To Rule
The Compulsion To Rule: