Looking at the, it is immediately evident that many of them only apply to individual human beings.
It might perhaps be meaningful to talk about a government or organization. But, it is hardly meaningful to exhort such social bodies to . It is possible to imagine them or ; but not , because organizations and governments are defined by their boundaries, which are determined by discrete . There is no meaningful in play either.
Such social bodies require human agents to provide their necessary drive and support—and therein lies the problem.
Before considering the potential for violence and destructiveness of superorganisms like organizations and governments, it is necessary to re-affirm their benefits.
People band together in groups because we are social creatures. Groups can provide a necessary protection against rogue elements from within or without who would wreak violence on group members. Organizations perform tasks of a magnitude and duration that no small band of persons could possibly hope to achieve.
There are convincing accounts of the evolutionary advantage provided by submission to the collective identity and needs of the clan and larger social group.
However, the rapidity of development of technology and culture has outstripped the capacity for biological evolution to adjust. Many spontaneous, instinctive reflexes and biological biases have become utterly dysfunctional e.g. as noted in relation to how we often define evil inappropriately.
Modern organizations and governments will only enable the good and restrain their own inhuman, selfish and counter-productive tendencies if persons within and without insist. However, if people fully subordinate themselves as pure agents or instruments, then evil will certainly be unleashed sooner or later. The greatest harm will come from those normal-looking sociopathic people who deliberately use organizations and governments as tools for their own self-aggrandizing ambitions.
Societies are far worse than organizations, because they are driven by ideologies (see dropdown below). Ideologies are essential, but they are partial. So theinjunction is liable to be violated. When that happens, ideologies easily become a force for self-deception and a basis for devaluation and rejection of the viewpoints of others.
The result is that societies engage in lying, self-deception, projection of badness, and the redefinition of bad as good. There is commonly a concentration of power in politicians and bureaucrats that leads to further harm and outright systematic destructiveness. Intolerance of criticism prevents insight amongst the elites.
Many theories of geopolitics are power-centred and view the world as unequivocally amoral and dangerous. So politicians are advised to disavow absolute moral and ethical considerations. The greatest good (and the lesser evil) is seen to be the state's protection of itself: it rarely protects its citizens, who are sources of revenue and fodder for the war machine.
Nevertheless, there has been a progressive spiritual improvement in government. This painful, slow and irregular progress is chronicled in this website as political maturation.
People cleave to ideology, to reinforce their tendency to follow orders given by an authority figure.
Ideology is potentially evil because it is an affirmation of duality. That does not mean ideology is undesirable.
Why not? Duality is the basis of all practical activity, and paradigms and schools of thought are essential for human progress. Much of THEE is about specifying natural sets of ideologies (typologies) and deriving structures from these.
However, whenever an ideology is violently asserted, the danger of its abuse rises. Individual differences mean that not everyone will accept the assertion of superiority. However, in a group crisis, many become vulnerable. Under the direction of a strong leader, they may carry out evil acts—burning buildings, burning books, burning people—that would otherwise be unthinkable.
Unfortunately, when ideology makes the unthinkable seem natural, degrading and repulsive acts then become expected and routine. In this way, swathes of humanity have been regularly brutalized en masse.
There is a solution. You have to : not «we» but «you». Ultimately, it becomes a group effort. But even the largest society is made up of individuals. And so, initially, it is your sense of responsibility, inner effort and mental clarity that count. The details will be found in a later framework dealing with a «better communal existence».
Originally posted: 7-Dec-2012