Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gloomy Beginnings

Feeling rather gloomy and depressed today, so I ramble on the great danger of the world. Cue severe nighttime thunderstorm for classic storybook effect, and we're off on a grand adventure.
How can we overcome the authoritarian mindset that plagues our world, dominated civilization for 99% of human history, and threatens again to collapse all that we have built up since the dawn of the Enlightenment?

Not the drive of people to obtain authoritative power; those are relatively few, and fewer still who are both capable of and have the opportunity to seize that kind of power and influence, and they are ultimately powerless in and of themselves.

No, it is the willingness of the masses to submit themselves to their chosen authority unquestioningly, based on heritage, in-circles, and a refusal or inability to watch for their own self-delusions and comforting self-deceptions, and counter them. THAT is the plague of our time, and what has granted tyrants and dictators, petty and great, power throughout history. In-group tribalism, a rejection of facts and evidence and rational evaluation in favor of preferred rhetoric, mystic voodoo and arcane magic, 'just so' stories, and meaningless vagaries that sound impressive but say nothing at all.

It comes with an overly-glorified nostalgic view of the past, a longing to return to the 'grand old days' of yore, and a rejection of change, which is both inevitable and necessary. The idea that the future can only be better if we return to the glory of a fallen past, or if some grand higher power gives it to us in reward. The idea that WE can never make things better, never do truly great and marvelous things without always messing them up. It comes with a focus on the infallible fallibility of man.

It rejects reason and the processes of science, the methods that have given us such learning and brought us to the grand and glorious heights we have today, far beyond the reach of all of human history before today combined. It rejects what can be proven, consistently, irrefutably, right before its eyes, in favor of comforting denial, and karmic mysticism.

It is heavily rooted in tribalistic tendencies that have been bred into humans for countless millennia, a collective group-think, and self-reinforcing in-circles. It focuses on shamanistic gurus and feudalistic rulers, often glorifying feudal lords and magicians. Fear and paranoia are key tools in spreading and maintaining it. It creates an 'enemy', part of the 'out group' that threatens the target's 'in group', the small- and large-scale social structures that people are a part of and/or identify with, an implacable enemy that is utterly evil, and must be fought without compromise.

This is called Authoritarianism. In religion, it manifests as Fundamentalism (and it is not always radical or extremist). It is regressive, barbaric, feudalistic, and the mortal enemy of enlightenment and of enlightened civilization, OUR civilization.

I fear for our future, not because of how we could fail, but of all the grand and glorious things we can achieve, will achieve, and how all of it could yet be robbed from us.

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