Chapter 12: Ruling Ourselves
Footnote: Divided We Fall
Like all life-forms, we can reproduce. Unlike other life-forms, we are sentient. This should empower us to self-connect through a multiplex of relationships into a benign global society, within which we may freely evolve towards our spiritual destiny. But this isn't happening.
As humans, we have by far the most complex brain of any known creature. Each has a massive 200 billion neuron supercomputer in his cranium, which hosts not only his bodily control and survival functions, but also a conscious mind. This gives us the power of abstract thought through which each of us is able to ponder his own existence and communicate with others through symbolic language. Our first priority, however, as with all other life-forms, is to survive. And for this, we need to be able to sense and understand the world in which we live.
The universe, as we see it, is one single entity. It is, however, an extremely complex one. It is far too complex for the human mind to perceive as an entirety. Yet we need to perceive it, to at least some extent, in order to survive. We also have within us an innate thirst to know what we are, why we are and how we fit into this vast confusion we call the universe. For this, we need a method for perceiving the universe more simply.
The method we use, which seems to be a built-in function of the human mind, is categorisation. We see that many objects in the universe share similarities in form or behaviour. For example, stars and planets all share the similarity of sphericalness. We see too that human beings share similarities and behaviours.
Within the category of human, we observe that there are many sub-categories that each contain members who share finer details. The human category called man contains individuals who have similar characteristics, for example, genitals. The category women contains humans who also share similar characteristics with each other. But some of these are different from the characteristics that members of the category man share with each other. Thus, within our minds, we make a distinction between individuals on the basis of whether they be man or woman.
We categorise human beings also according to other physiological characteristics such as race and biotype. Importantly, these classifications do not follow a hierarchy. A member of one category can be also a member of any of the other categories except its own counterpart. For instance, a member of the category man cannot also be a member of the category women, but he can be also a member of any one race and any one biotype. Of course, there are many other ways of categorising humans physiologically.
Categorisation is a benign process that simply aids our perception and understanding of the world and the people in it. It does not, of itself, divide people or turn them against each other. Categorising things and people does not prevent or interfere with people relating to each other on an equal basis within a natural community.
The Power of Two Genders
Our common ability to categorise reveals that the human being comes in two basic versions - male and female. Between them they have a pretty good plug-compatible physical interface and an irresistible urge to connect. This interface is certainly much more consistent in the long-term than anything the IT industry ever came up with. Like other life-forms on the planet, it gives us the ability to reproduce.
The human mind and consciousness depend for their being on a brain and a body that are made solely of physical material, so as creatures we aren't all that powerful - individually or en masse. However, our split gender architecture gives us not only the ability to reproduce, but also the ability to relate - to connect physically, emotionally, intellectually and economically.
This is because, as well as being slightly different yet complementary physically, males and females have slightly different yet complementary emotional outlooks. This is what gives them their seemingly insatiable urge, through their conscious minds, to connect at an emotional and intellectual level as well as a physical one. Consequently, when connected through an emotional and intellectual relationship, a human male-female pair acquires a deeper and more penetrating stereoscopic view of life, the universe and everything. And herein lies our power.
This power of inter-gender cooperation is key in many primitive societies.
Some primitive tribes today still believe that a baby inherits the most desirable characteristic of each man with whom its mother has sexual relations during her pregnancy. This belief results in a tribal society that takes the form of an intimate network. This robust social structure is inherently egalitarian and inhibits the formation of hierarchies.
Members of such tribes shared their use of terrestrial resources to turn their labour into their needs of life. Since these primitive tribes appear to be the most ancient form of human society, it is likely that theirs is the natural way for humans to live. Consequently, modern societies based on class hierarchies, in which a small exigent elite exploits a subservient majority, must be a corruption of this ancient idyll. What ignited the change from the intimate network to the bureaucratic hierarchy as the fundamental structure for society? What could have motivated mankind to exchange benign liberty for malignant subjugation? And why does the vast majority tolerate what is clearly not in its best interest?
The answers to these questions are essentially to do with the nature of conscience.
The Root of Disparity
A person with a strong conscience is one who has an inclusive view of humanity. He has a strong conviction that he should treat others as he would wish them to treat him. On the other hand, a person with a weak conscience has an exclusive view of humanity. He has a strong conviction that others should treat him as he wishes them to treat him but has no conviction about reciprocating this treatment to others. The strength of his conviction diminishes with distance. It is stronger with regard to his family and friends, getting weaker for people who are socially progressively more distant from him. The most extreme exclusivist is the psychopath, who has absolute conviction that others should treat him as he would wish them to do but feels no obligation whatsoever that he should treat them likewise.
Inclusivists naturally share resources with the view that all members of society should have equal access to the means of turning their work into their needs of life. Each gives as he is able and receives according to his needs. If all humans were inclusivists, this would result in a benign society in which all would be able to live without the constant fear of falling into poverty and the stress that invokes. But unfortunately, some humans are exclusivists.
The exclusivist's nature is to give as little as possible in return for as much as possible, to the betterment of himself and to the detriment of others. If all were equally adept exclusivists, society could not function. It is doubtful whether society could function even if only a half of humanity were exclusivist. In reality, relatively few are sufficiently adept exclusivists to be able to exploit their less exclusivist peers. Nevertheless, this results in a social structure that takes the form of an oppressive hierarchy in which an elite clique of adept exclusivists subjugate and exploit the less adept majority. The few effectively live off the labour of the many, maintaining the many in a state of economic fear and stress.
How did this few adept exclusivists manage to achieve their greedy ambitions? Why do the many passively tolerate subjugation and exploitation by the few? It is all a matter of possession. The notion of possession is the corner stone of a hierarchical society. The status of an individual within the hierarchy is determined solely by how much wealth he has. This implies that there must exist a significant disparity in wealth between different members of the society. In modern societies, this disparity is extreme and increasing. Essentially, such a society comprises those who have and those who have-not. How did this gross disparity arise?
This gross disparity arose because of a crime. The crime was armed robbery. The victims were the vast majority of the inhabitants of this planet. The perpetrators were a small minority of exigent psychopaths who had no conscience concerning the wrong they were doing to their fellow humans. The essence of the crime was the forced confiscation of the active surface of this planet from the vast majority by an elite few. This left the vast majority with no direct and unencumbered way to turn their labour into their needs of life. They could, thereafter, only do so by the leave of this small elite clique. But how could so few pull off such a big heist?
They pulled it off by dividing the majority against itself. They divided the majority - firstly by force and then by deceptive persuasion - into social, economic, cultural and intellectual factions. Then they used the intellectual skills of some of that divided majority to deceive their fellows by induced false illusions that the order they were creating was the just and righteous will of God. The passive majority were thereby ruled by the divine fear of not following the illusion that had been fed to them. The majority was thus subjugated and contained.
In order to divide humanity, it is necessary to severely attenuate and control all interactions between individuals at the grass roots level. The first and most potent of these, which appears to be almost universally overlooked, is interaction between individuals of opposite gender.
Suppressing The Formation of an Intimate Network
The strongest type of link that can exist between two human beings is that of intimate inter-gender friendship. To that exigent few, who wish to subjugate and exploit the placid majority of mankind, this is potentially by far the most dangerous threat. Rightly applied, the immensely powerful bond of male-female friendship could link humanity into an invincible intimate network. Consequently, to divide and contain society it is of paramount importance that all significant social linkage between the genders be severed and kept severed. This effectively isolates the two complementary elements of society from each other, thereby inhibiting the stereoscopic perception it could have from linked male and female perspectives. So how did the exigent elite achieve this? They did it through deception and fear.
They couldn't actually destroy it. It is far too powerful and resilient. All they could do was try to contain it. To this end, they constructed a strictly male God to whom intimate inter-gender relating was filthy. Engaging in it was thus deemed displeasing to God. Doing anything that displeases God is called sin. God punishes those who sin by damning their immortal souls forever in the after-life. Thus was induced an intense sense of fear and guilt in any who would dare to commit such sins.
But the religion that they constructed did not merely disapprove of intimate relating between the genders: it created a social protocol by which it became publicly unacceptable for men and women to interact socially at all, except in open view and according to very restrictive rules. Essentially, men lived in a society of men: women lived in a society of women.
By consequence, the elite managed to create celibate establishments and religious orders. These, however, enveloped only a small proportion of humanity. Notwithstanding, for the rest, no amount of religion-induced fear could suppress completely the natural biological human drive for inter-gender connection. To most, inter-gender intimacy was an irresistible force. Besides, it was necessary in order to perpetuate the human species. The only option was to dissipate its dangerous potential through some kind of social short-circuit.
In order to relieve the inevitable frustration and dissipate the consequential stress, religion reluctantly permitted closed binary connections between the genders. This was achieved by creating a formal State-ordained union that was enforced by civil law and maintained through religious fear. It required, by law, that an intimate inter-gender relationship could exist only between two individuals exclusively and permanently, thus creating a society of inert binary molecules called marriages.
The institution of marriage thus inhibited the formation of an invincible intimate network of larger organic-sized social molecules that could form the living body of mankind. It has thereby successfully reduced society, at its strongest and most intimate level, to inert isolated pairs. However, religious fear and cultural protocols notwithstanding, there was still a strong ubiquitous natural affinity between the genders that could, at least on occasions, puncture the walls of marriage. And this had to be dealt with.
Creating A Society of Cultural Strangers
There are obvious natural physical differences between men and women. So too, the two genders exhibit natural differences in mental and emotional perspective. Far from being divisive, these natural differences are strongly connective. Far from being incompatible, they are complementary. Consequently, they facilitate interaction rather than inhibit it. To keep inter-gender interaction between society's inert binary molecules trivial and impotent, the powers-that-be need a way of rendering men and women culturally incompatible.
To reinforce and maintain the social division of the genders, the powers-that-be subtly create an artificial cultural dichotomy between men and women. They use both religion and popular culture to inductively impose different economic rolls and different preferred interests on each of the two genders. Commerce then cashes in on the process by creating gender-specific products that accentuate and exacerbate the divisive cultural differences between men and women. This eliminates the common ground needed to facilitate inter-gender communication beyond the trivial small-talk allowed by prudish social protocols. As a result, men share little or no common interests with women and vice versa. Thus is created our modern society of men from Mars and women from Venus.
Trivialising Inter-gender Contact
The natural force of physical attraction between these albeit cultural strangers is still active and strong. It has to be rendered socio-politically impotent. Fortunately for the elite, this is conveniently taken care of by a collateral effect of commercial exploitation.
Participants in the capitalist free-market gain their lucre by erecting toll gates in every channel of human interaction: consumption, education, sport, leisure and love. Connections are permitted only where corporate profit can be siphoned off. We may live, work, enjoy, buy or sell only by their leave. They constrict, shape and control every kind of inter-personal relationship.
The claws of capitalism even exploit the boy-meets-girl process. The most intimate human relationship is thus denied the means and opportunity to come in to being, unless its participants in some way contribute to the corporate profit of a pub, night club, singles bar or Internet dating site. Within these dubious meat-markets, male and female alike parade themselves like goods for sale. They perform sensual rituals to pounding mind-numbing music. They sit and drink, exchanging flirtatious glances with their gender opposites across a crowded floor.
It is a situation in which the spirit of competition is assumed. The most macho guy gets the prettiest girl. The sexiest girl gets the most handsome guy. The rest catch as they can. It is a Romantic view of love. Each views the one they catch as his or her object of possession. To me, the overwhelming characteristic of this kind of male-female encounter is its superlative triviality. Mutual selection is by little more than appearance (product presentation and wrapping) and sensuality (sexual lust). The probability of thereby encountering a true opposite-gender friend - who shares the same aspirations, interests, values and convictions - can be little more than nil.
The profiteering continues. If or when a relationship evolves into marriage, the church and the state also abstract their prescribed fees and taxes. But what of the marriage that ensues from such trivial encounters. Current (2011) statistics show that around 40% of them end in divorce. This does not mean that the 60% that officially survive are successful. Many of these unhappily continue for the sake of the children, for religious obligation, from social pressure or simply for economic survival. Their participants are merely living in reluctant physical proximity within the same domestic unit. They share little or nothing by way of aspirations, interests, values or convictions.
Trapped in lifeless marriages, many seek an outside soul-mate. But their searches are confined to commercial venues which, although orientated to a more middle-age clientèle, present essentially the same social situation as the teens-and-twenties night club, having the same propensity for triviality.
On the one hand, modern education has enlightened the minds of many, liberating them from the religious fear that imprisoned their ancestors. It has allowed them to revert to a freer mode of inter-gender relating. On the other hand, nowadays mainly due to commercial exploitation, the cultural dichotomy between the genders is becoming ever wider. So, far from forging invincible male-female friendships, this new freedom has trivialised inter-gender relating. It has given it no more relevance than the brief exchange of sniffs between dogs passing in the street: a mere prelude to raw ritual sex.
An Unbridgeable Chasm
The ruling elite has thus created within the fabric of human society a cultural chasm that segregates the two genders. People know that something is seriously amiss. Most remain apathetic. Many are fatalistic. Some react angrily. But they react wrongly. They play into the hands of those that subjugate them. They draw their lines of battle along the social flaw that segregates the genders. They react against those with whom they should join. Others find the cultural dichotomy between the genders to have become so insuperable that they cannot find amorical solace other than through relationships with members of their own gender.
The religious, cultural and economic forces of the current socio-economic order work to attenuate and suppress intimate male-female friendship. The tenets of both religious and state marriage encourage and demand withdrawal from other close friendships with members of the opposite gender. Cultural values inspire and invoke jealousy within one member of a couple over any inter-gender friendship he or she may continue to have with any third party. These negative forces encapsulate each couple within a bubble of social isolation, reducing all external interactions with the opposite gender to shallow superficial awkward exchanges of small-talk.
Having successfully and decisively divided the genders, the only inter-molecular bonds that the elite yet need to sever are the inherently weaker links that occur between members of the same gender.
Breaking The Weaker Links
It is industrialisation and its principle the division of labour that provides the elite with the means to disempower same-gender networking within society.
In a primitive society, everybody is an expert generalist. Each has a broad and deep natural knowledge of his community and its terrestrial environment. This does not mean that he cannot develop a deeper interest in a particular field. Indeed, this is a large part of what makes humans individuals. Nevertheless, all share a vast swathe of common wisdom. This provides the common ground for communication at a profound level, which results in a connected society.
The division of labour divides the economic process into a vast number of isolated pieces and phases. Each individual becomes skilled in only one short phase of one narrow part of a production process. This makes him ridiculously over-specialised. His work becomes repetitive and supremely boring. His mind becomes numb and relatively inactive. His opportunity to gain wider knowledge diminishes. He shares little knowledge in common with those of other skills. Common wisdom becomes splintered into isolated shards. Common ground for social interaction disappears. Society fragments into skill-based factions. Within these factions develop mutually alienated sub-cultures.
Though their memberships may lack higher education, some of these factions can become quite large and strong. They thereby have the strength to unilaterally disrupt the social order. A way had to be found to disempower them.
Hierarchy and Class Division
I mentioned earlier that the natural human ability to categorise things (including people) is essential to give us a sufficiently detailed perception of the world to ensure our survival. Whether such categorisation be natural and self-evident or artificial and subjective matters little. It is just that the latter is far more prone to error. The ruling elite, however, go a step further. They not only categorise people but also then use the categories they create to rank people. The categories thus become classes. I use the word class here to signify a category that has a position or rank within a hierarchy.
The most easily understood form of hierarchy is the hierarchy of control. It was originally conceived on the principle that every community, of say 100 people, is ruled by a local chief of some sort. This is the first layer of the hierarchy. The second layer comprises groups of 100 chiefs who are ruled over or governed by a lord. Above this is a third layer in which 100 lords are ruled over by a king. Nobody rules over the king. He resides at the top of the hierarchy. This would allow a king to rule a kingdom of a million people. One could reason that to govern a modern State of 100 million people it would simply be necessary to add another layer to the hierarchy. But it isn't quite that simple for the following reason.
In ancient kingdoms the common people were not educated to the level where they could ponder the rights and wrongs of socio-economic systems and the politics of governing them. They were only equipped with the knowledge necessary for doing their agrarian tasks and participating in their parochial community. Communities were small. They did not have enough people gathered in close proximity to provide the critical mass required to ignite political debate about the ruling hierarchy above them or to be able to amass the resources to change it or overthrow it.
On the other hand, a significant proportion of people in a modern state are formally educated. Their greater knowledge expands the common ground through which they can communicate. The more educated and knowledgeable people become, the more easily they can connect. Schools of thought can emerge and grow. Some of these may subscribe to radical thought, which could give rise to egalitarian ideals. This poses a real and present threat to any ruling hierarchy.
Education as a Tool of Social Division
The only option open to the ruling elite to counter the threat of education is to divide society more finely. Ironically, it is education itself that provides the means by which the elite succeed in severing the very connections it is able to create. To this end, authorities categorise their ever more educated populations according to psychological measures.
Like physical categorisations, psychological ones such as temperament are natural and self-evident. However, authorities also attempt to categorise people according to such measures as intelligence. This is both artificial and subjective. The way it is measured and, indeed, what is really being measured, are highly questionable.
Governmental, educational, academic, industrial and commercial authorities subject people to dubious tests and examinations to rank them according to what is deemed to be intelligence. Such tests are often tuned to determine the subject's aptitude for acquiring a particular skill. I, myself, have fallen victim many times to such so-called aptitude tests. Intellectual ranking implies a level of economic usefulness. It thus determines what ranking a person shall have within the job market. This, in turn, prescribes how society shall reward him economically, which decides the level of well-being that he and his family shall enjoy. This effectively divides people into another kind of hierarchy: namely, a hierarchy of socio-economic classes.
This class hierarchy is different from the control hierarchy described earlier in that a higher class (or level) does not rule over the class or level below it. The higher class is merely more prosperous and has higher social standing. The effect of a class hierarchy is to create economic disparity between the classes, which inevitably and justifiably fosters inter-class resentment. This, in turn, creates a barrier to communication and inhibits mutual understanding, which prevents cooperation in the formulation or execution of any unified endeavour to overthrow the ruling elite.
Merely dividing the subservient majority into mutually alienated social classes is not enough. In a modern State, the educated middle class has the critical mass within itself to spawn large sustainable networks of radical thought. So the threat to the ruling elite is still real and present. The intellectual energy that could give rise to such networks of radical thought must be harmlessly dissipated.
This is achieved by re-directing all a person's intellectual energy into competition against his peers. The curriculum of the education system is re-framed upon the ethos of competition for academic excellence. As individuals graduate, they take this ingrained ethos with them into the world of work. There it becomes vulgarised as an overt creed of greed. Each is thereby instilled with a sense of obligation to himself and his family to compete ruthlessly against his peers for the betterment of himself at the detriment of others.
Within the educated middle class, the relentless pursuit of career, position and power is paramount. It is a world in which all relationships - whether same-gender or inter-gender - are essentially the same. They are competitive and adversarial. All the time and energy of every individual is sapped by competition, leaving none available to ponder on what it's all about and why.
Socio-economic forces, unleashed by corporate influencers, have thus divided us. We are divided by our level and type of education. We are divided according to arbitrary measures of intelligence. These have divided us into mutually alien social and economic classes. We are divided economically, intellectually and emotionally. But there's more.
Forced Geographic Dispersion
Once upon a time, people lived together in small integrated communities. Their diverse natural economies were based upon the land they occupied. Then came the hierarchical State. Its ruling elite commandeered the labour of the people to power their enterprises. With the advent of specialised industries, all necessary skills could not be found within a single community. Technology made it necessary to import expertise from afar. The demand for skills thereby became geographically polarised: first nationally and then globally.
Those with higher education in science and technology were forced to become mobile: first nationally, then globally. To find work for which their special skills are suited, they must now be prepared to uproot and move home to wherever their skills are in demand. This has had the effect of dismantling communities. People have lost their everyday connections with friends, acquaintances and formative locale. The educated middle class has become dispersed both nationally and globally. Nuclear families are now isolated in bland suburban estates next to neighbours they don't know and with whom they share no roots. Ties to extended family have become stretched, weakened and frequently broken.
Furthermore, corporate careers, by demanding an ever increasing proportion of our waking hours, now even sever us from our children by making it necessary to place them in the care of others. Career progression pressures husband and wife to work in different locations. Sooner or later they are promoted to work in places that are beyond mutual commuting distance. This forces them into a choice. They either stay together or keep their careers. Neither can afford to give up work. Market forces have pushed the cost of living too high for that. They are doomed to live apart.
So even the marital bond is falling victim to the diverging demands of personal careers. Indeed, in modern society, the marital bond is finding it increasingly difficult to form in the first place. We are like dust, scattered as lonely isolated individuals wherever the corporate winds will blow us upon the face of the Earth.
Divided and Conquered
Thus divided, we are conquered. A critical mass of information capable of invoking social change is unable to flow or disseminate among us. The only significant information and influence we can receive is what shines down upon us through the established hierarchies.
We only trust what we hear from on high. We believe only that with which we are drip-fed through the mass-media. We obey only what we are commanded by the organs of the State. We absorb only what we are taught through the formal institutions of education. Our only collective channel of communication remaining is the Internet. Now the powers that be have, through the domination of commercial social network sites, successfully reduced this to an exchange of pointless trivia, rendering us nothing more than cannon fodder for precision-targeted advertising.
It is by these means that we have become blinded, divided, subjugated, controlled and exploited.
Parent Document | © March, December 2011, Robert John Morton