The Broken World (Part 3)
A breakdown of the disconnect of emotion and thought and the structures that create and reinforce the division of the people.
In this continuation, we discuss the nature of our relationships to power in the context of our emotional self and its relationship to the development of the rational mind. So many of us have had a lifetime of battling between our emotions and our reason and we are always told it is just a matter of proper discipline and the acceptance of existence in this world and the structures we’ve built to define it.
Here again, is another dismantling of concepts with a bit of a hypothetical journey through time in the efforts to understand what went wrong and why we can’t seem to control ourselves.
As always, these posts represent a deep mental dump of ideas and constructs in development. This post, along with the others may be edited at any point to improve clarity and understanding of the topics. Join me again on my strange journey to understand what we are, what we were built for, and how to dismantle the existing world in order to arm ourselves with the understanding to build something better when this one collapses.
Part 3 – The History of the Development of Alienation, Division, Power, Dogma & Control, and the Disconnect of Mind and Emotion.
All too often we see the complaint being that our emotions are out of control. We try to “deal” with them and may even go to therapy to “control” them. Some fields of psychology address this issue better than others, but mostly, people assume the problem is one of control. But as in the field of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and similar, we address something different. What is the actual issue, and more importantly why do we even have this issue?
Feelings aren’t the problem humans have. From an evolutionary standpoint, emotions developed in that massively far distant pre-human past and were effective for most of our evolutionary history. They were used as a way to trigger warnings our senses felt to help us better respond to and survive threats, and to reward us for behaviors that helped us survive…
Then came the Pre-frontal cortex. This was an amazing change. It enabled our predictive capacities powers no other species had ever dreamed of. Not simply a pavlovian response reward scenario of avoidance and attraction, but a much more complex capacity to watch patterns consciously and make reliable enough guesses about future patterns to significantly increase our survival probabilities. Before we created “civilization” this was a huge boon to our survival. The structures of our social relationships, our emotions, and our thoughts were all a cohesive and very reliable way to build the life that made sense for us. In the context of the tribe, this combination made for a life that designed feedbacks and accountability in so fundamentally, that we didn’t have to question our mind’s rationale and our emotional feelings being in conflict constantly. Our reality more or less matched the predictions of both in concert with each other. Connected interdependence for social reality emerged fully in this context and it worked. It worked for at least 200,000 years as early humans. Then something happened…
We built the first societies
For the first long while after the invention of private property and wealth accumulation as power, the tribal relationships between people didn’t really go away. Villages were still modeled in a way that required connected interdependence and had all of the necessary feedback mechanisms in place to account for the cognitive connection with emotion as an intuitive survival response and the actions the mind could see to predict the outcomes needed to remain congruent with each other.
The Pharaohs and Kings and Emperors of the long feudal times still had no great policing and management mechanisms to control people with. These things required a totally different tactic to keep the ones they were stealing from in line. At the bottom level the people who were ruled were still forming clans, had tight villages with shared resources, and in general, still has some version of all of the feedback mechanisms there to maintain social cohesion regardless of rule. The connections nature built are pretty hard to break unless you try very hard.
Actually, this was likely seen as a threat to rule, a major one. Like the model of policing today was designed for, people acting as a collective was always a threat to those in power. The most effective threat.
Across cultures, the rulers needed something to help discourage collective power and establish reality constructs to control the growing populations. Enter the first age of dogma. While forms of so-called religious belief have been shown to go back as far as we can find evidence of any kind of culture, there’s something different about codifying a reality construct at scale. Different cultures approached this differently, most used a religious approach. Defining truth and morality as a way to control and force desired outcomes turned out to be the most effective in these early ages. Raising people from birth to think they are made from or come from god(s) and that the way they behave determines their lot both here and in the afterlife, for them and their kin, created a kind of self-governing slave that is still effective to this day to assist in controlling people. So much so that even atheists have taken on the mantle of ethics in efforts to better the world. Most people have and think it’s the definition of our capacity for what is right and good. I have a recent takedown of this idea if you want some clarity on what I think of ethics.
What this did was take the ideas of what the world and the universe was outside of the myth of the shaman and the discussions and inventions of the tribal minds, to a position dictated by authority. In some collectivist cultures, this took a different form, however no less based on a top-down control model. The full spectrum of the hierarchical authoritarian model was created and used to define the structures of power in the deepest sense, and has remained as the dominant social model for humans since.
So, you might be asking yourself what this has to do with our problem with emotions and the connection to our rational mind. Well if you think back to part 2 of this series we took the time to establish what connected interdependence is and what it does. Under an authoritarian model dominated by dogmas of truth, it removes the necessary feedback from the dialogue about reality. It creates a conditional social reality that tells you how to live, regardless of your intuitions about connection. It does things like telling you that you are a sinner if you violate the rules as handed down from above and that to even consider overthrowing the ruling thieves of the common property, is to risk your very soul. It established an ethical basis for harm that leaves no room for reconsideration through the sacredization of ideals as defined by those who are trying to protect their position over you. And the really insidious thing is that due to the conditioning from such a young age, it fully inculcates these notions into your psyche from as young an age as it possibly can, leading to what we now call cognitive dissonance, and gets the poor and the common people to police themselves through guilt, fear, shame, all of the things that still haunt our reality about the prescriptions of who we are supposed to be. Who we are supposed to be before we even exist.
We are then no longer even allowed to question the legitimacy of the ruling institutions. We might have a revolution or two and chop off some heads and swap out the people in power. But the structure of power remains. This is entirely antithetical to the nature of how connected interdependence allows the living culture to constantly shift its understanding of what makes the most sense. It disconnects the people from each other as autonomous but interdependent individuated thinkers who would by nature challenge the ideas presented, and instead defines truth for you. It makes it a crime to challenge the state or religion. Alienating “civilized” cultures ruined the effectiveness of emotion and intuition by disconnecting us by way of dogma. Prediction capacity codified into desired outcomes. We became cogs, not agents of change.
And it only gets worse
We had the dark ages as what we might consider the worst of this. But even then, even with all the bloody persecution, people were still interdependent. Even though the western tribe was long gone, there was no real mechanism to replace our need for close relationships with others regarding everything down to shared resources of the poor.
Then came technology. Then came industrialization. Then came the current model of civilian policing. Then came the nuclear family model. All forms of control and division, entirely dismantling the tribe and the social and economic connected interdependence that bonded us previously.
Technology may be seen as an overall good, but it is responsible for more destruction than any other thing humans have created. Especially when it is combined with the dogmas of religion and the power of states to protect wealth through the corporatization of property. Things like marriage were already based on property ownership and alliances of power, but this was much bigger. The powers that be then realized they needed a more active way so dissuade collective action. So in England and the United States, they formed the first riot squads, which became what we know of as civilian police. Their function was to increase the division between people of different types, classes, and with the invention of racialism after WWII, races. The nuclear family economic model was designed to create the optimal tax base for extraction while limiting the likelihood of great clans of people building collective power or wealth. People did build unions which were effective for a time, but even this was deliberately destroyed for the most part by the ones at the top wanting to divide the people. We were purposefully divided and divided and divided to continue the limiting of our collective power capacity.
All of these things are logical conclusions to the maintenance of ever-growing wealth accumulation as the population grew and more resources could be extracted from them. Keeping them divided and defining their prescriptive reality for them was essential to discouraging them from joining back up collectively to take back what had been consistently stolen from them for centuries.
Around the time of WWII, a new tactic was invented that had the biggest impact since the invention of mass religion. “Advertising” Created by Edward Bernays. This was, just like religion, used to define the value structures people had and the relationships and perceptions they had about who other individuals were. It started with propaganda and “public relations”, to curate a message that would change the perceptions of people. Ultimately this lead to ideas passed down through corporations and used to define the values and the tastes of regular people. Through television, radio, and now through all the digital media we consume, this technique has taken the hallowed position of standard religious dogma to a new level. Along with this power and the distortions of truth in things like scientism, the public was ready to be more specifically molded and tailored to believe the systems of power that oppressed them were there to help them.
Through advertising and the use of bogus science came the idea that humans are first and foremost a competitive species instead of a cooperative one. Darwin’s theories of natural selection and Nietzsche’s philosophy of the Overman were cherry-picked to fit the agendas of the powerful and convince the people that the ones all around them were before anything else looking out for themselves and some were less valuable than others. Keeping up with the Joneses was a spectacular capitalistic ploy that both further divided people from each other, and kept them unnecessarily buying resources that could otherwise have been shared collectively and empowering all as collective groups, instead of wastefully depleting our own and the earth’s resources for profit in the process of dividing people from each other.
Capitalism and advertising are most effective when people are divided and trying their hardest to appear better than the next person. It sells you your value for profit and ensures that you can never reach the top. It turns the value of connection on its head.
In the efforts to “advance” ourselves, and control the outcomes, and to define value as something that could be bought, sold, and taxed, we stripped out all of the natural feedback mechanisms that kept emotion in context and the interface to “rational” consideration useful. We became our own worst enemies. And the prescription of the ruling institutions is that you must correct yourself in conformity to the norm being sold to you. Even in the “science” of psychology, the message is one of learning to accept the truths told to you by the dogmas and the sacredness of the culture and society; that this thing called civilization is the way it should be and to question it is to be considered deviant, even mentally ill, in order to quell dissent of power.
It is no wonder at all why we now are all falling apart and constantly feel conflicted and see everyone as untrustworthy and even potentially as threats. And it’s no wonder why criminality exists when the most basic of human nature is to survive and thrive while connected to other humans while collectively determining the outcomes—is deemed bad by authority so as to protect their wealthy interests. By defining the dogmas of truth, the religions, the sacredness of life, and authority; by dividing the people into smaller and smaller groups and selling them their value in a way never designed to fulfill them, the world has been created on a tower of false pretenses that drive us mad. With all of this our natural capacities to be one with our inner intuitions and instincts have no congruity with which to find any alignment in the self between the thoughts and emotions we have.
When our alienating, profit-based, class-divided, dogmatic world is always looking to sell us our value in competition to others, then our inborn capacity to even know what we want is beat into a submission we aren’t even aware of for the most part.
Not only are we divided, but afraid of the very thing that would bring all of our fulfilling potentials into being. Instead of divorcing ourselves from systems of abuse that advertise at us and police us to use us as resources to extract to continue building power, we’ve been so sold on the idea that something is wrong with us that we buy into it as real. We mock and shame people in our families and social groups who question authority. We act as agents in the system to keep ourselves disconnected and disempowered under some bullshit notion that we might someday attain a higher spot in the hierarchy of oppression.
As I’ve said before. We are not slaves trying to dismantle the system of slavery. We are slaves one day hoping to be masters who will have the privilege and comforts afforded those most effective at exploiting others.
So if you wonder why you can’t control your emotions… It might just be that they are screaming at you that something is very wrong and your rationality of delusion just isn’t powerful enough to quell that internal dissent at a world willing to use you and throw you away without a second thought.
To say it again… “Civilization” is a failure model of control, designed to enable the extraction of wealth from the many into the hands of the few. It is collapsing because this behavior is the most maladaptive survival strategy a species can have. Consuming and replicating to no end in greater amounts over time in a finite system can only cause collapse.
We are not slaves trying to dismantle the system of slavery. We are slaves one day hoping to be masters who will have the privilege and comforts afforded those most effective at exploiting others.
Disconnecting people from each other removes the natural and inherent feedback mechanisms that nature gave us to keep all of this in check. Connected interdependence on ALL levels takes care of every aspect of this problem. It keeps power from accumulating, keeps technology and power from alienating us from each other, and keeps us both responsive and responsible to ourselves and each other, including the environment that is our home.
We may argue that technological advancements require a lot of costs to expend to bring progress, and that these kinds of advancements require a kind of controlled exploitation and scale to make them happen. But whatever. That doesn’t mean we should keep doing it this way. If anything at this point we already have the methodology and the technology to decentralize all existing power structures and still progress. While connected. While interdependent. Without private property. Without the dogma of authority reducing us to food for the few.
About the author:
Glen Allan is a ridiculous person with thoughts and ideas which fly in the face of normal convention and challenge many assumptions about what people generally think of as reality.
He recognizes that many people will either disagree or claim the ideas to be founded in delusion, and only has to say that he'd like it if you could try to realize the world might not be what you think it is.