See also: • Cascading Oppression • Pyramid Economy • Egypt and the evolving Simulacra • WikiRebels: The Documentary
Authoritarian Paradigm Collapse
17 March 2011
 
About 6000 years ago the climate changed enough to cause the desertification of the Saharasian region which had been largely grassland and forest.  Populations had to move and encountered other populations in the north and east.  Historians are mostly in agreement that this gave rise to the oppositional behaviour between human cultures.
 
The next 4000 years led to many benefits and many disasters.  Modern intellectual activity is arguably the result of the organised societies with patches of stability and wealth.  It is no coincidence that the earliest origins of what we now regard as our scientific culture were born in this era and in this area.  Babylonian mathematics originates from about 2000 years BC and there were various mathematical developments in China, Arabia, Russia, India and Greece.
 
The Abrahamic religions developed and reinforced the patriarchal control mechanism in societies.  In the last 2000 years there has been an almost exponential growth of population and resourcefulness.  Arguably humanity is at a critical state where the population essentially has encountered the limits of the resources available on the planet.
 
Also, like any pyramid mechanism of control, the chain of oppression has reached the limits of the available resources and the fallacy of this one way chain of benefits is revealed.  It now has nowhere else to go.  Whilst there is a perceived endless volume of people then the mechanism of exchange, where the oppressor gains from the oppressed and in compensation the oppressed becomes the oppressor of others, works.  But when the boundaries of the finite group are reached there is nowhere for the bottom level to go.  It is like ripples in a pond meeting the shore.  It will bounce back up the pyramid.  Eventually the people at the bottom simply have nothing more to lose and they become useless to their oppressors and worse, they begin to oppose their oppressors.  The two obvious manifestations of this in the modern world are the global economic system (see: Pyramid Economy) and the global political system (see: Cascading Oppression).  Both have reached their limits of usefulness.
 
The American "Subprime" crisis in 2007 and the European "Credit Crunch" close on its heels are not just more of the same boom and bust that has occurred for hundreds of years in the world's economic systems.  They are a thunderous recoil at the limits of the financial mechanism.  They are the beginnings of the collapse of this pyramid economy.  They are overt crimes committed by the people at the top of the pile to try to up the ante and to keep their previously successful model working.  But there is no more money down the line.  This has worked simultaneously and in conjunction with the final limits of the authoritarian mechanism of political oppression.  Although the peeks of oppression are perhaps many one such peek is obviously the USA.  Of course the people at the top have wealthier people around them oppressing less wealthy people below them and so on.  The chain of hierarchy travels from America to Britain to Europe to the Middle East.
 
The uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya are the beginnings of the collapse of oppressive authoritarian control.  Protests in Algeria, Bahrain, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq and Iran are following in a cascading domino effect.  There are "anti-austerity" protests across Europe in the UK, Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Ireland, Latvia and more.  There are the beginnings of serious unrest in the USA with significant protests against loss of rights in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Florida and an escalating number of states and cities.  What is common to all these movements is the fundamental human perception of fairness and equality.  The dictates of the authoritarian rule have been that they are supporting or even enforcing justice and equal opportunity for all.  That is what they have got away with for some time.  But it was an inherently contradictory stance since they needed to maintain inequality in order to maintain the imposition of perceived equality.  This illusion is crumbling around the world.
 
In various intellectual disciplines there is a growing awareness of the inadequacy of the hierarchical paradigm.  Arguably instigated by the phenomenal advances in mathematics during the last half of the 20th century many human disciplines are branching out with new ways of thinking about things, new approaches to solving problems, new ways or organizing industries, and generally evolving new paradigms including self-organization.  In a biblical perspective from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden we have eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge and been released from the ignorance and dependency of innocence and have embarked on the difficult journey of The Becoming (Yahweh) to arrive at the final confrontation of good and evil (The Apocalypse).  I dare say there are many other analogous and metaphorical ways of representing the progress of humanity.  The patterned behaviour of the unprocessed emotional condition of humanity, which is by its definition a non-comprehension of reality, coming into direct conflict with the essential emotional reality of humanity and indeed all living creatures.  It is this point in human history that the new way ahead will be forged based on a deeper realisation and a more harmonious balance and connection with the environment.
 
The previous paragraph is a summary based on a large amount of ideas, thoughts and perceptions from a multitude of disciplines.  It may seem a  little impenetrable on the surface.  The two main issues are how we (humans) interpret reality and what we are beginning to understand.
 
How do we "understand" our reality?
At the outset we are hardly even aware that we exist.  Foetuses simply do what a foetus does.  As we grow older we are constantly being buffeted by phenomenon in our environment and we slowly form internal patterns of neurological pathways corresponding to our experience.  This serves us well in predicting events and thereby increases our survivability.  We form conscious ideas corresponding to the outside world.  We specifically develop a coded way of communicating these ideas called language.
At every stage we have what we describe as an emotional response to the variable outside world.  It ranges from pain and pleasure to anxiety and ecstasy.  These experiences are our natural response to the phenomena and they result in our comprehension of the environment.  If the free flow of our initial response (our emotion) are interfered with then the resultant "comprehension" is duly affected.  In short, oppression is a mechanism of interfering with the harmonious and correct interpretation of reality.  We therefore "see" the world not as it is, but through the warped lens of oppression.  This causes our behaviour to be out of kilter by the exact corresponding degree of the oppression we have experienced.  Sadly this results in the cascading of oppression.  But at each and every stage and each new generation there is still the fundamental essence of humanity behind it all.
The behaviour that results from the erroneous comprehension of reality is called patterned behaviour (see: Patterns).  It is the same stuff Freud referred to as complexes and religion calls sin.  It is what Jean Paul Sartre referred to as self contradiction.  It is that behaviour which when studied reveals itself to be self destructive.  This can be instantaneous and individual, and it can run over time, between people and across generations, but in the end it is evidently self destructive.  Given the "a priori" notion that since we "exist" we act to sustain that state, then anything which in the long term results in that state of existence not existing is self evidently wrong (by our own definition).  (Incidentally it's not God as an external entity which decrees these things it is within and without us that they are like that.  You can call it a God if you wish but that tends to lead to all sorts of other problems such as the multiple personality disorder of God.)
Patterned behaviour is the reactionary behaviour caused by interference of the natural free flow of emotions.  This results in what I call "inside out people" and when studied it can be seen that the individual with this erroneous perception will attempt to adjust the outside world to fit their internal model.  In other words they think reality is the thing they have as a model and they think that when they experience something that doesn't fit it must be the stuff out there that is wrong.  They then try to adjust the world.  A really simple example is how Muammar Gaddafi, when confronted with an uprising, knows that the Libyan people love him.  It follows that if there are Libyans out there opposing him that something must be wrong.  It is clear to him that they have been brainwashed.  Simples!  And then he acts on that interpretation of reality.  This behaviour is patterned, it is inside out, it is self destructive and it is not corresponding to reality.  In the short term he can adjust reality to fit his model.  He can kill all the protestors.  Then he is right that all Libyans (those that are left) love him.  But we know this is still not the truth and it is unsustainable in the long run and human history clearly demonstrates this.  Also the Bible and other "good" books are full of this lesson.  Truth will prevail and so will humanity.
So we understand reality through our emotional response to it.  The pain that has not been processed at the correct time and place (i.e. when it was instigated) is passed down the line.  The understanding of reality is deferred.  The bully threatens an individual and, to avoid the pain, they do the bully's bidding which will inevitably involve passing that token of due pain on to someone else (just like borrowing money).  At some point there is nowhere else to push the pain and it gets felt.  It gets processed.  It enters the human essence and becomes a comprehension of reality.  The understanding of reality is a human function.  It is part of what being human is about.  This functionality of humanity is what might be called the spirit of humanity.  It is, in my view, the very essence of all the spiritual and religious notions of God and the spiritual world.  But regardless of any metaphorical notion of a fictional other world the reality in front of us is that humanity with all its magnificent capabilities has the opportunity to harmonise with reality and to be the very thing that it is meant to be.  The alternative is that any of these false realities will try to assert themselves and like a cancer they live on the energy of the host and will eventually destroy the host and therefore themselves.  Our understanding of reality is the consequence of our responding to our external environment.  To have correct understanding we must respect and treasure every new human we encounter.
The "revolutions" occurring across the globe are in essence the bottom rung of the ladder suffering the historical pain of the oppressive regimes and they are the very process of understanding the human reality more accurately.  This is why they are destined to succeed.  This is why it is predictable that the movements will resonate across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, China and the USA.  It is the final collapse of the Authoritarian paradigm.  It is the battle between good (the true human values and accurate comprehension of reality) and evil (the erroneous, inside out, egocentric, imposition of a mistaken interpretation of reality).
Humans comprehend through their emotions and so to damage someone emotionally is to pervert their perception of reality.  Inevitably they cannot function correctly (or an accurate model of reality would be redundant) and will pass that pain down the line to be processed later.  Overall humanity's comprehension of reality seems to be advancing.
 
What are we beginning to understand?
Post Newtonian science has broadened the paradigms for comprehending what is going on.  Initially people were looking at "facts" and assuming things were as they appeared to be.  Matter exists.  If you have a block of metal it is "real".  So a whole lot of ideas were based on the model of "things" existing in "space".  Like the well worn example of the billiard table the world could be interpreted as a lot of "things" acting in "space".  By measuring these things and their behaviour a lot was learnt and Newtonian Science was formed.  Things were predictable.  On the billiard table it was clear that one event "caused" another event and it seems entirely deducible that the current state of affairs was "caused" by previous "events".  We had the era of the clockwork universe.  Determinism is a conceptual paradigm.  Things are determined by preceding events.  it is also referred to as the "Cause and Effect" paradigm.  If you know enough about the current state of affairs you can predict the future.  Reductionism is a paradigm that essentially supposes that if you reduce something to its constituent parts you can "understand" it.
There was a small hole in all this interpretation of reality but it was well hidden for years.  It was hidden by the idea that the only limit to our accurate knowledge of the state of affairs was the volume and complexity of it all.  In other words the paradigms were extended into the regions we couldn't predict with the notion that if we knew more detail we could predict more.  But along came Chaos Theory.  Amongst other things Chaos Theory illustrated that since there was no end to the complexity it was not even possible to predict everything.
Then came the review of issues like consciousness, intelligence, emergent behaviour of systems which was not predictable.  Graph theory expanded into network theory and we began to understand that the complexity of systems feeds back into itself in such a way that the complexity is not reducible in the old Newtonian way.  We began to understand that "understanding" a system has a subjective element.  That is that we can only understand something from a certain perspective and for a certain purpose.  For example light behaves both as waves and as particles.  It depends what you are trying to do as to which way of looking at it works.  A better example is perhaps the idea of a living body.  You might argue that a human is a living body (as indeed it is unless it has just been shot by a dictatorial thug).  But when you apply reductionism you realise that it is made up of living cells.  Okay so far.  But then you realise that not all of the human is "living".  In fact very little of it is.  80% of it is water.  Much of it is dead (the surface of the skin, nails, hair etc).  So the concept of "living" is scale based to some extent.  It can soon be seen that the planet Earth is a whole living entity.  When viewed like that it can be much better understood than when viewed as a dead rock floating through space with a few blobs of life on it.  The Gaia theory has much to say on this subject.
With the onset of Quantum Mechanics, Gaia theory, Self-organizing theory, Chaos theory,  Network theory, Complex systems, and more the paradigms for comprehending reality have expanded at a phenomenal rate.  What we now understand is that many systems are complex and self organizing.  There used to be the belief that a termite colony had a queen at the head of the hierarchy and then a few specialised termites and then more soldiers and finally a lot of workers.  The view was that this was "how" the colonies were so well organised.  "Someone has to be boss!"  There was no other explanation possible in the old Newtonian, cause and effect, reductionist, deterministic model of the universe.  But now we know better.  Ants (and termites) self-organize.  No single ant takes control.  Ants do what ants do and the net result is the ant colony.  There is a lot of information and knowledge about ants but it seems that the behaviour of the colony is the emergent behaviour of the complex system of thousands of ants acting within a network of connections.  Does a brain do the thinking or is the thinking a result of the activities of the brain?
The relevance of all this is that the Authoritarian paradigm is dead.  It can no longer work within the framework of humanity.  Authority assumes that some people can be "right" and can control the rest according to their comprehension of reality.  It has got us this far in a clumsy sort of a way but especially with the advent of modern communication and particularly the internet the human race is self organising.  It is exhibiting emergent behaviour which was previously unpredictable by examining the parts.  Authoritarianism is a little Newtonian but we have moved on from that.  Basic human values of truth and justice will prevail because it is the essence of humanity.  No longer are the populations or their behaviour controllable by threatening these values.  There is a deep conviction in all humans and with the new level of interconnectivity between people it is no longer possible to make the masses doubt their inalienable rights.
 
The revolutions in the Middle East are the beginnings of the collapse of the old hierarchical perverse projections of erroneous individuals passing their pain to others for processing.  In other words the mass of humanity knows what it requires and it will not tolerate the people who govern thinking they are "controlling" the people any more.  The people who govern are strictly "representative" of the people and no more will they get away with hijacking their position for their own benefit at the expense of others.
 
Humanity is in the process of self-organizing.  It is currently called "People Power" and it is reality.  There is no stopping it and so it is predictable that all the hierarchies around the globe will topple.  Simples!
 

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