Your Better Self > Communal Existence > Review > How It Goes Wrong

How Things Go Wrong

Let me count the ways ... here are a few.

Society Rules!

The whole social process depends on you identifying and respecting the duality: personal milieu v social milieu. Despite the dominance of personal over social at higher levels, your social environment appears to be controlling in practice.

ClosedNo Escape

However, we are not imagining here that any person, no matter how powerful, can run or control their society. The goal is more modest: handling yourself within social situations in such a way that your egocentricity is held in check and the Primal Injunctions and related Primal Precepts come into play.

Seeing Unity v Interacting-for-Benefit

By uniting with others, a social milieu that can be characterised as «good» comes into being. It is characterized as good, because of the Precept "Treat others as yourself". Because you want what is good, you assume that others do so as well. The basics of social interaction should ensure justice and common decencies.

There are no expectations built into seeing unity. There are no demands. There are no entitlements. There are no obligations. All that exists is a deep sense of everyone being identical at some deep spiritual level. If it is deep enough, that will include all of humanity. If it is not very deep, it may only extend to part or all of the immediate family.

This is a very different existential situation from interaction for benefit, which is a framework based in social values. Groups here form around different ideas of what counts as a benefit (i.e. good). So each views others with feelings that vary from sympathy to intense antagonism.

Herding Undermines Good Choices

Each of us must somehow provide for ourselves without impinging on others in a way that might fracture unity. There is obviously a danger of turmoil, but what everyone intuitively wants is sufficient stability such that each can flourish by minding their own business and with some basic decency.

There is, however, a danger: herding and groupthink. At these moments, you cannot enable a better social world, because you cannot think for yourself.

It all must go wrong when you want to do what everybody else does or be like everyone else. Then you are made miserable by keeping up with the Jones's; irritated as you are herded like cattle into security lines; manipulated into going to war by propaganda; crowded like sheep in stadiums; cheated into paying over the odds for a fad of the moment.

This framework requires the very opposite of the herding and the mindlessness beloved of advertisers for mass-produced goods and services, and governments for their own controlling ends.

Originally posted: 15-Feb-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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