Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thoughts on fear and domination based society

The culture of domination

In a hierarchical culture of domination - both economic and political in nature such as the one we live in - compulsion is a primary aspect of social reality. Through conformity one adheres to structure. The social structure ensures relative order, but not without the attendant neurosis which is always created by the use of force and social compulsion. Anger, which may be one socialized reaction used to confront the neurosis (or ill-adaption to the structure), such as at home or in the classroom, engenders fear. Fear breeds compliance and participation. Non-participation in the prevailing order leads to alienation, and alienation breeds further contempt. Therefore, the cycle, which is mostly unconscious and vaguely instrumented towards the social hierarchy, perpetuates the so-called order (also supported by baton, prison system, and various modes of punishment and torture).

As we go through our routines in the hustle and bustle of daily life, our activities and perceptions reside among the elements of processing habit. Shuffling around from work to consumer location and then finally bed, participation in daily life is predominantly the aggregation of assorted unconscious activities accumulated toward the back of the mind, mediated by desire and the inhibition of desires. Stimulation is an instantaneous reward in the fast image-based society we live; it drives us toward the more immediate concerns of pleasure, consumption and survival instinct, steered by advertising, market concepts , and profit management. Over-saturated, we all too often become unwitting participants to mind numbing patterning.

Removing fear and neurosis in a fear-based society

Everyday we associate emotion with things found in the environment. More importantly, we assign value to them, or they are assigned for us. Emotion is a precious commodity now bought and sold within the profit system, be it within a movie theater or as seen on billboards on the drive home. Emotions, after all, are what guide us to instinctively act. Manipulating emotion is just another example of compulsion. When you fear something, for example, you look at it and associate negative feelings like danger, and to one extent or another withdraw from the situation or are compelled to react/not act at all. Such behaviors become habit, that is to say learned reflex, or the continuation of the assigned value. We scarcely understand the true nature of our selves or the psyche. Further, we are taught to fear the unknown side of self, the magical, mystical aspect of our being. In an irrational society like ours, one has to work diligently to align the mature self with the adaptive self. One's emotions must reflect reality and inner harmony. We can examine the self and the environment and choose which values to operate from or which patterns should apply.

Through the use of fear and compulsion in a domination-oriented society, the individual's instinct towards curiosity and learning is shunned. Creativity is traded for compliance. Wonder is revoked for predictability. Every little step away from that tendency is a positive move.

In order to regain the fertile ground of imagination, one must look to the unconscious mind and employ its assets more wholly again. Living in closer unison with the unconscious (also wilder roots of self) helps to reduce the neurosis of the ordering, control-fetish society/mind through mindful spontaneous being. The inmost psyche represents the greater content of our whole. In order to express our selves more fully we must first grant it permission to come forth like the natural flower of beauty it is. This often takes work and is what some may refer to as the "unlearning of everything taught in school".

Observing vs. evaluating

Western society has taught us the ability to evaluate things in the manner of linear abstractions, quantity, and material judgments. This lends itself well to things like building roads, designing great architecture, and developing better, faster technology. It has also led us astray in our egoistic venture to "know and master the universe"- a doomed to fail pursuit, at least for the species of the human being presently - mostly through domination and arrogance. The greatest technological societies are those that procure the most resources (money, labor, natural materials) from the rest of the world through coercion. A more integrative and flexible approach we can employ daily is to pull oneself back and become observer rather than manipulator of the environment. That way one attaches less ego (through objectifications leading to struggle) and remains open to multiple possibilities or solutions (through learning and receiving). One can not contain the universe within the microscope or the telescope, but one can immerse oneself in it relatively innocently as observer (rather than manipulator), viewing oneself as connected rather than separate, and be richer for it in the process. We operate on the premise of power equals wealth. Societies of a hierarchical nature result in ultimate divisions that are difficult to process and understand. Giving out of kindness releases us from these modes of domination and force. Cooperation furthers strength, support and participation of all members of the human clan. If we can relearn balance between human, animal, and natural environment we just may have a chance.

Transitioning into the future

If we do not manage to blow ourselves up first, humanity will have the opportunity to adapt to and implement strategies for new kinds of social relations, based on both modern and old ways. Most likely this will be at the smaller level when globalization will have run its course and industrial expanse is on the decline. One day, we should hope, the culture of domination will be relegated to that place in history of a once barbaric past where it belongs.

(To be followed by a history of torture and domination in the so-called civilized world)

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