In my last blog I pointed out that
multi-cellular biological organisms (such as people) and multi-peopled
enterprises (such as governments) have many things in common.
simple components (cells or people) come together to create living structures that are vastly different from
themselves, that are very superior when compared to themselves, that are
extremely alienated from themselves and that are, in fact, very much independent
And so, for example, in the same way that
individual human cells do not have the capacity to develop any real
understanding of the human beings of which they are a part, people who are the
components of large organisms such as governments also have no real understanding of the bureaucratic
beasts that, collectively, they have created.
Indeed, for the most part - and just like
human cells - people are not even aware that these bureaucratic beasts exist as
creatures - with lives of their own.
But they do have lives of their own.
Corporations, governments, and even
ideologies, have lives that completely transcend the insignificant human beings
that make them up.
And, just like biological lives, they struggle
to survive, they compete with each other, and they attempt to grow.
And there is much to be gained by viewing
these 'enterprises' as living organisms.
1. Perhaps the most obvious insight comes from
recognising that if the people who labour on behalf of a government, a
corporation or an ideology - an 'enterprise' - are actually unaware of what it
is doing, and are also ignorant of how it is having an effect on the rest of the
world, then they can hardly be blamed (or praised) for the consequences of that
For example, it is no use blaming my individual liver
cells for the fact that I surreptitiously purloined the last cream doughnut in
the fridge before my missus got to it.
Similarly, for example, you cannot really
blame the individuals - 'the Jews' or 'the blacks' or even
'the feminists' - for whatever it is that has irritated you about them and that,
presumably, has stemmed
from the combined activities of their respective groups - their 'enterprises'.
For example, when black activists such as
Jesse Jackson or feminists such as Betty Friedan promote falsehoods demonising
white males that are well-publicised in the media, millions of individual blacks
and feminists will believe them!
And so it is hardly surprising that the individuals
in these groups feel antagonistic toward white males.
But, as individuals, can they really be blamed for
feeling this way?
No - because they have been conned into
believing the falsehoods.
And, to a large extent, the same is true
regarding those individuals who are the 'leaders' of their 'enterprises'. They
respond to feedback from those lower down the food chain - as well as to those
at a similar level - and they are
significantly affected by it.
In large enterprises, there are, in effect,
many leaders. These are akin to the brain cells of the organism.
in large enterprises no single leader has sole
These leaders do indeed exert more influence than
those lower down the hierarchy, but in large enterprises no single leader has
sole control. These 'leaders' are simply part of a group within the enterprise
that tends to exert more influence over the enterprise than do other groups
The leaders are, if you like, the cells of the brain,
rather than the brain itself.
And the importance of the feedback mechanisms
that pass information to them cannot be underestimated.
For example, The Beatles pop group took the
world by storm in the early 1960s. They produced a kind of music that many people
wanted to hear. And their 'enterprise' - their music - would have had no
influence at all if people had not responded so positively toward it.
The Beatles - the 'leaders' - did not
'inflict' their music upon a reluctant world and force their musical enterprise
into becoming the global phenomenon that it turned out to be. Their enterprise
mushroomed because a positive feedback loop was generated.
ordinary people responding to their music in such a way (buying their records,
attending their concerts etc) that the Beatles themselves were further empowered
with the wherewithal to create even more music, and to spread it around even
The point is that their music - their
enterprise - did not invade the western world so pervasively simply because of
the activities of the Beatles themselves. The activities of millions of others
gave rise to the prominence of their music.
And, clearly, the same can be said with regard
to big ideologies and big movements.
For example, there is no way that somebody
like Hitler - on his own - could have forced millions of Germans to do what they
did in the 1930s. The huge influence that he and his cronies exerted stemmed not
only from their own actions but from the feedback mechanisms in which millions
of others took part.
For example, German women positively
adored Hitler. They can be seen in the mass rallies behaving in exactly the same
manner toward him as did young western girls who attended Beatles' concerts.
They screamed. They cried. They called out his
name. They begged to touch him. And so when Hitler and his cronies - and,
indeed, everybody else - saw this unbridled adulation being inspired by him, both he
and his ideology spread like wildfire.
And, unsurprisingly, millions of German men
wanted to be like him.
Indeed, if women had not found Hitler to be so
deliciously attractive then his influence upon men would have been curtailed quite
considerably - if not completely.
can we really blame Hitler for what he did?
But can we really blame Hitler for what he
Imagine for a moment that you are standing in
an auditorium giving a speech about something or other, or playing some strange
kind of music on your guitar, and the audience explodes in rapture at your every
gesture and showers you with accolades for your insight and your performance.
Are you to 'blame' for believing that you are
giving people something that they want?
Are you to 'blame' for wanting to give them
Are you to 'blame' for thinking, "Aha!
What I am doing must be good, wholesome and proper. After all, everybody - and
especially the women - approves of what I am doing!"
Well, you get the picture.
Enterprises (e.g. ideologies) do not grow into
significantly large affairs without some form of positive feedback mechanism
between the 'leaders' and their 'followers'. And it can be very misleading to believe that
the leaders are somehow removed from - and unaffected by - these positive
Furthermore, free will can only act within the
context of the psychological environment in which it operates. Thus, for
example, Anthony Sawoniuk, was sent to prison for life in 1999 for killing about
20 Jewish women and children in WWII. He was an 18 year-old illiterate peasant when
he committed the act. Yes, he had free will. But in what context?
A recent book, now very famous, Hitlerís
Willing Executioners, by Daniel Goldhagen, shows clearly that the German people
themselves were strongly anti-Semitic and probably had been for decades, if not
for centuries. The psychology of the German people, in the decades prior to the
Holocaust and leading up to it, was deeply anti-Semitic and incredibly hostile
to the Jewish people. Jews were seen as non-humans - conspirators plotting to
destroy the German race - cheats, without morals, scum, evil. They were the
pits. That was the psychology of the German people for a very long time. They
grew up with it, they breathed it, they were taught it. The teachers, the
priests and the parents indoctrinated their children with anti-Semitic
sentiments and emotions. It filled the entire air. And when the panic and
hysteria of war broke out, together with hefty doses of propaganda, the evilness
of the Jews became a reality.
"The reason we have no jobs is because
the Jews are destroying them, and they are also taking all the good ones. They
plot to keep us down. This is why Germany is so weak. This is why my poor son
has no work. This is why my wages are low. This is why the bombs of the British
fall out of the sky and kill our children. And the Jews killed our Jesus. ...
It isnít really hard to imagine why years of
indoctrination led ordinary Germans to be so hateful toward the Jews. And it is
easy to see how an 18 year-old illiterate peasant fell for it hook, line and
sinker. He thought that he was doing his country and his loved ones a favour by
can really blame him?
And remember that some of our own WWII bomber pilots killed
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of innocent civilians because of their own belief systems
and the indoctrination which they, themselves, underwent. So, should they go to
Will the American soldiers who recently killed
innocent civilians in Iraq be going to prison?
Well, No - because they believed that they
were doing their best at the time to protect themselves, their comrades and
But, similarly, Sawoniuk's 'free will' in his decision to kill
women and children has to be understood with reference to some kind of context.
And this is true for all of us - both leaders
This is not to say that no-one is responsible
for their actions, but if one is to grasp the true nature underlying the way
that people think and behave, only a fool would ignore the huge influence of the
context in which this occurs.
it is important to try to see the huge organisms
that are floating around in their midst
Putting this another way: If one is to grasp the true nature underlying the way
that people think and behave, it is important to try to see the huge organisms
that are floating around in their midst, enveloping their minds, and of which
they are an exceedingly minor part.
summary, large enterprises (Beatles music, Nazism etc) are not really governed
and controlled solely by one or two people sitting at the top of some hierarchy
who dictate to everyone beneath them. They are very much like complex biological
organisms wherein even the most influential cells (that reside in their brains)
respond to each other and also to enormous feedback from below.
such, it is far too simplistic to blame one cell, or one person, for what a
large organism or enterprise might do
brain cells of animals tend to have their greatest influences by determining the
way in which the animals respond to the environment that is external to them. It
is the brain cells that figure out where an animal is to take shelter, where it
is to find food, and what it is to do in order to cater for its own well being.
in multi-peopled enterprises - such as corporations and ideologies - it is those
people near the top of the ladder who tend to steer the overall courses that their
enterprises will take.
if individuals within an enterprise do not perform in a manner likely to enhance
its well-being then they are not likely to remain within the enterprise for very
long. And those who are particularly good at performing in a way that enhances
the well-being of the enterprise tend to be given more influence within it e.g.
they tend to get promoted to some form of higher office.
of course, evolutionarily speaking, this is the sort of thing that happened to
biological cells. Over millions of years, those cells that were capable of
aiding the organism most appropriately in its response to the external
environment migrated upwards in the scheme of things and took over much of the
control. These, of course, were the 'neuronal' cells that now power our muscles
and that also make up our brains.
in multi-peopled enterprises the same sort of thing happens. It is those people
whose activities enhance the well-being of their enterprises the most who tend to
rise to the highest offices and exert the most control.
the point to be grasped here is that these high-fliers will be flying high
precisely because they are serving well their own enterprises. They will not
be flying high because they are serving well all the people within them. And they
most certainly will not be flying high because they are serving the people who are
external to them.
Those who fly high are unlikely to
be concerned at all about people
Au contraire. Those who fly high are unlikely to be
concerned at all about people who are not important for the enterprise.
And this is why,
for example, those individuals who reach high political or governmental office
do so not because they are serving well 'the people' - who are external to the
enterprises of which they are a part - but because they are serving well the
enterprises - the political and governmental organisations - themselves.
in the case of enterprises that are supposed to be concerned mostly with serving
the people, flying high within them necessarily involves the ability to deceive
the people into believing that this is what they are actually doing.
rise high in political office, and to remain there, one must not only serve the
enterprise handsomely, one must also bamboozle the people external to it into
believing that they are the ones whose interests are mostly being served.
those who end up being the 'leaders' of feminists' and women's groups, of
children's charities, of various government and judicial departments, of major
media outlets, of religions and ideologies, and so on, while making some
pretence at being mostly concerned with the welfare of the people whom they are
supposed to be serving, are, in fact, working mostly to benefit themselves and
the enterprises of which they are a part.
if they are not doing this, then they will not rise very high in comparison to
those who are!
Indeed, there exists no large, influential and pervasive enterprise that can
remain large, influential and pervasive unless the people within it act mostly
in a way which enhances the enterprise itself.
it is extremely useful to keep this notion at the forefront of one's mind when
trying to understand the significant forces that operate in the world.
view might seem to be unduly cynical, but it really does lead to a far more
accurate perception of what is going on in the real world than do most other views.
so, for example, the fact that the sexual harassment 'enterprise' has grown to
such enormous proportions has far less to do with the heinousness of sexual
harassment and far more to do with the fact that the notion provides rich
pickings for millions - literally - of people (e.g. just think of the legal
and media interest) and that, together, these people create - mostly
unwittingly - an organism that, to a very large extent, has a life, and a
purposefulness, of its own.
And the leaders in the sexual
harassment enterprise are the ones that promote it the best whilst, at the same
time, giving the most convincing impression that their main aim is to serve
As another example, the abuse industry is persistently (and with much success) pushing forward
the boundaries of what is considered to be 'abuse'.
smacking a child's bottom is now often considered to be an act of abuse by many
children's charities and social service departments, and merely making a
derogatory sexist comment is considered to be an act of abuse by many women's
Why is this 'mission creep'
happening? And why has it occurred to such a ludicrous and damaging extent?
the answer is to be found by looking at the way in which the 'enterprises'
themselves - in this case the children's charities, the social services and the
women's groups - are benefitted by this mission creep.
enterprises benefit hugely by bringing more and more normal human activity
into their sphere of operation
simply, these enterprises benefit hugely by bringing more and more normal human
activity into their sphere of operation. The
more behaviour that can be categorised as 'abuse', the more empowered do they
become, and the bigger do they grow.
in order to grow, an enterprise - just like an organism - has got to eat, and to
Tony Benn, a very well-known and very left-wing British politician who has served as a Member of Parliament for over 50 years has recently been quite
vociferous in his promotion of the view that, these days, it is wisest not to
take at face value anything that is said by politicians,
corporations, the media etc but always to ask yourself WHY they
are saying whatever it is that they are saying.
whatever they are saying, you can bet your last dollar that they are saying it
because they, themselves, expect to benefit in some way.
summary, there is no large, influential and pervasive enterprise that is
not, first and foremost, concerned with its own well being and its own
And it is of tremendous
value to keep this in the forefront of your mind whenever you are trying to
figure out what is going on, and why.
it should be the very first thing that comes to your mind when
trying to determine what is really going on around you.
example, when a newspaper prints a story, do not just ask yourself questions
concerning the benefits to those enterprises that seem in some way linked to the
story, but also ask yourself why the newspaper (another enterprise) actually
3. Large, influential and pervasive enterprises
are, by definition, large, influential and pervasive!
it is quite frightening to realise that these very powerful
enterprises are in the business of serving themselves rather than in serving us
- 'the people'.
It is surely not
surprising that our nations, our societies and, indeed, our people, are actually
breaking down in the face of these
huge self-serving monsters.
hope is there for us when it comes to defending ourselves from these voracious
uncaring colossal beasts?
have to fight them!
fortuitously, we now have the means to do so.
in my next blog, should I feel so inclined, I will endeavour to explain how
these gigantic creatures can be tamed.