PARADIGMS AND POWER
by Hugh M. Lewis
Paradigm is defined as a pattern, and example or a model. Formally it is considered a basic set of principles or rules governing particular relations, and in scientific philosophy it has become conventional to refer to social paradigms as bodies of theories around which particular kinds of practices accrete. As a pattern or model a paradigm is considered relatively fixed and stable, and as an example it is one that is exceptionally illustrative of what is represents.
As something overarching, fixed and exemplifying, it is the interrelationship between paradigms and power to control change in the world that provides the framework for understanding the consistency of patterning of certain social processes and structures in the world, their cycles of development and the consequences upon the lives of people who live within their 'spheres of influence'.
It is in terms of paradigms and their social organizing power that we can especially understand the general phenomena of evil in the world, its paradigmatic etiology and effects, and the recurrent, characteristic patterns of 'structure' by which social empowerment becomes expressed. Paradigms are not themselves necessarily good or evil, but it is through its everyday expression that both evil and goodness eventuate, and though people may be enacting their roles in the good faith of genuine belief in their own goodness or righteousness, the consequences of their actions frequently result in evil for others or for themselves.
People require paradigms in their lives to provide order, direction and sense of purpose to their behavior. People cannot live very well without them. Paradigms are primarily symbolic and conceptual in nature, those ideas and metaphors underlying our structures of belief and collective conscious. They are organizational metaphors and key or dominate summarizing/elaborating symbolisms which, though they have no concreteness in themselves, take on the sense of giveness as if they were concrete and physically real, via the juxtapositioning and replacement of all the things which they stand for in the world. As such they help to clarify, simplify, solidify and disambiguate our worlds, resolving psychologically existential uncertainty and contradictions encountered in existence.
Furthermore, paradigms typify reality for us, and typically sanction our adoption of regular practices, rituals, routines, habits, buzz words and clichés which tend to reinforce the apparent solidity, simplification ad disambiguating function of paradigms, further reifying their value through the demonstration of their efficacy. At this level they take on a concrete giveness in our lives, a common senseness, in which it becomes difficult to tell which came first, the paradigm or the enactment of its example. They gain the force of custom and the unconscious power of an indirect constraint--we can no longer function socially without them. They then acquire a certain transparency in our lives--an invisibility of their symbolic and metaphorical arbitrariness, a non-reflexive attitude toward their routine enactment. To begin to question them becomes not just taboo, but an exceptional absurdity and blasphemy--it is to question what is apparently the very foundation for our sense of order and basis of meaning in our lives.
At this point paradigms have achieved social power in our lives, and to contest them is to go against this power. The power of paradigms then acquires an unconscious influence in our lives, and we begin acting in ways which systematically exclude ideas, symbols or actions which might possibly contradict or threaten to undermine the paradigms we live by. We erect barriers and thresholds to our understanding and even or perception of reality. Discrepancies and exceptional oddities in our environments which seem to run counter to our paradigmatic order or challenge it become systematically ignores, denied or prejudiced against as anti-thetical counter examples. We edit out or experiences of our environments, selecting what seems fit and casting our what doesn't. The greater the power of paradigms, the more we come to depend upon its organizing and simplifying influence, the more to work to enact its sense of giveness and efficacy in our lives, and the more we act against anything which will not fit easily into its simplifying sense of order. The power of paradigms are their control over our lives, both consciously and unconsciously and their promotion and perpetuation even against rationally convincing counter examples and contrary evidence, leads to the irrationality of our own rationalizations and the rationalization of our own irrationality.
Paradigms are typically human and social way we have for controlling and dealing psychologically and behaviorally with change in our lives. And the control of change is what human power is all about. It is the influence of paradigms over change in our lives from which its power is derived and it is the influence of change over the paradigms in our live from which its power is deprived. It is the sense of power, our identification with its influence that forms the illusion and the ground of meaning in our lives.
It is a grand paradox of life that change is the only law we must really obey. Change is inevitable, inexorable and always entropic as its source is rooted in the experience of entropy in the universe. We measure change by marking time and we measure time by marking change. This is the basis of our science and the reason for its being in the prediction and control of change in our world. The perfect clock is the only unchanging device we have, because it has perfectly, accurately regularized the rhythms of change to absolutely reduce its sense of irregularity. And yet the phenomenon and experience of changes happens in our lives regardless of our clocks and our perfect cycles and circles and in the long run it always tends to carry us towards the absolute chaos of entropy. And except by the imputation of imperfect causality we have no other way of understanding the principle of change except as entropy, or complete randomization.
It is the ordeal of change, the existential uncertainty, the elemental unknown that it brings to our lives and the incurable sense of insecurity and fear that the fixedness of the patterns of paradigms helps us to cope and deal with in ways which regularize, temporize and reduce the randomness of change. Paradigms counteracts change, carrying us from the edge of chaos toward the 'center' of perfect order. The functions of paradigms are anti-chaotic and the stability of its fixed patterns provide the sense of changelessness, and eternity of being, which we associate with sacredness and sanctity. We worship its power in its daily routines and rituals, through the expression of its symbolisms and sensibility of its verities.
Paradigms are never perfectly fixed in their patterning--their preservation frequently requires periodic modifications of its elements and relations, alterations which tend to result in the redesigning of its patterning--its dynamic reorganization. Paradigms exist in a critical condition of self organization. The additive effects of change produces supercritical events which tend to reestablish stability and order to the system--preserving the constancy of the whole pattern by sacrificing parts or portions of the whole. Part of the power of paradigms is their potentiality for maintaining stability and constancy of overall pattern at the hypercritical edge of chaos while allowing the alteration of its elements and their interrelations.
There is no single paradigm in our lives, and no single paradigm is ever complete or total or absolutely dominant, except that we do not try to make them so. Paradigms are always unfinished, imperfect and finite in their circumscription of phenomena or influence of events. For all the fixedness and constancy of their patterning, paradigms are subject to the same principles of change and randomization as is anything else in the universe. In our worlds, there are always multiple paradigms, overlapping one another, paradigms within other paradigms, often competing or conflicting with one another, frequently functioning partially and mutually together. Our attempt to single out a key, dominant paradigm, to hierarchize them, to make them complete or all encompassing, to permanently fix their patterning is always bound for frustration, creating more anxiety that the capacity of paradigms can resolve. But we cannot live without them, they have a purpose and a function in our lives, and hence a necessity and an imperative.
It is the overall robusticity and long term structural stability of paradigms which gives them a kind of historical momentum and directionality of development which tends to follow repetitive, sequential patterns of unfolding and which in the viewpoint of the long run makes its change seem periodic, saltational and cynical.
Evolution is a paradigm. We are also paradigms, metaphysically and naturally. Culture and history is paradigmatic. Our minds are paradigmatic, as are our societies, organizations, families and our daily lives. Our science is paradigmatic and so is our religion, our art, our philosophies and our technologies. Though everything is paradigmatic, nothing in our lives is completely so. Everything is only partially paradigmatic and also poly-paradigmatic.
Paradigms provide fundamental ways of seeing and relating to the world. They are inherently problematic and in their problematicalness are also inherently paradoxical. Paradigms provide problems about problems of other problems--they are paradigms about problems and problems about paradigms and in this is their paradoxicalness. The apparent fixedness and constancy of paradigms covers over many other important and related problems and the covering over of these problems itself creates a problem which in turn needs to be covered over. If its power constitutes our ground of meaning, beneath this apparent power is problematic powerlessness of the groundlessness of our being. Its paradox is that we depend both upon its ground of truth and its bottomlessness of reality for our sense of being in the world. The solution of its problematicalness is the resolution of its paradigmatic paradoxicalness--it is indeed just another Humpty Dumpty.
A psychological part of the paradoxicalness and problematicalness of paradigms is the tendency to construe things in its identity of relationships in the world in a way either emphasizing the non-relation of absolute differences or the relation of relative difference/similarity. The former way is what leads to paradox, as it entails a black and white or either/or kind of attitude toward the world which construes the paradigms as inflexibly fixed and the identity of things as either conforming or as anti-thetical. The paradox this leads to is a fundamentally divided reality, and a need to reunite the separate elements in order to reestablish unity of relationship. Part of this paradox is that this is widely held to be the dual logic rationality upon which our science rests, although science is frequently more synthesizing than analyzing. Such two value logic is also purported to be what distinguishes the modern, rational, civilized mentality from the primitive, irrational, savage mentality. It is the inability to see the gray, in between areas which accounts for the irrationality of a Hitler, and not the rationality of a pre-literate person. The latter way of identity of relations begins in paradox--of both/and and the grayness of the excluded middle ground, and leads to the resolution of this paradox through dialectical meta-logic. The former way leads from non-contradiction to contradiction, the latter way leads from contradiction to non-contradiction.
The natural, rational aspect of paradigmatic patterns is the latter integrative way--the way that successful assimilates change, while the rationalizing, exclusive way which protects the fixedness of paradigms from change is the former, dichotomizing way. The latter way complicates paradigms to the point of their reintegration, the former way simplifies paradigms to the point of their immobilization and disintegration.
It is the latter way which leads to adaptation, accommodation and assimilation of change, it is the former way which leads to fixation, maladaptation and perseveration. The latter way is a way of health, the former way is the way of disease.
Part of the paradox is that in the adaptation of the short run, the former way often appears to be the more successful and 'adaptive', but the longer it is pursued the stronger it becomes and the more difficult it becomes to give up and change one's way. In short sighted strategies the latter way often appears chaotic, random, unfixed but the longer it is pursued the more its self organization becomes visible and understandable.
The former way that tends to dichotomize reality is the way that fears the unknown, devalues diversity, complexity and is obsessive over uncertainty. It leads to prejudicial projection and behavioral discrimination between people, creating in group/out group boundaries between people which denies common humanity and individual human identity. This is the way of evil.
Evil is not just a moral dilemma, but as a facet of human reality it is an anthropological problem in that it is necessary to understand it as empirical behavior and as symbolic phenomena in response to such questions as 'what constitutes evil' and 'why do people do evil' and 'how can evil in the world be prevented or cured'.
There are different kinds of evil in the world, for many different reasons, so it makes little sense to speak of the problem of evil, either anthropologically, morally or philosophically as if evil were a single abstract with a single kind of etiology, ontology or teleology. Such a monothetic conception would make evil a concern of rational philosophy and not an anthropological problematic of empirical human reality.
Nonetheless, evil has a common set of general traits which can be associated with it in most instances. First, it is a consequence of the arbitrariness of power which renders one person's happiness subject to another person's will. Secondly, it involves some measure of violence, which is either destructive of life or the things upon which life depends or constitutes violations to basic human rights and freedoms. Third, it involves some kind of human aggression which is directed in a violent, destructive way, or at least in a destructive domineering manner. Fourth, it entails victimization or scapegoating which is the targeting of one's aggression upon a hapless or defenseless victim. The organization of evil involves the dependency of domination or the parasitic exploitation of one person or group over another person or group. Evil also involves the tyranny of fear and the rule of threat of violent force to reinforce relationships of dominance, dependency and exploitation. Finally evil entails deliberate intention or purposefulness, however indirect, relative, unconscious--it entails evilness of mind.
There have been many forms of evil perpetrated by humankind--racial discrimination, prejudice, physical and verbal abuse, sexual victimization, war, involuntary servitude, coercion, black propaganda, cruelty to animals, exploitation, authoritarianism. Another common feature of the etiology of evil is that the perpetrator usually believes he/she can get away with the crime, that they are stronger than their victim and that they are either beyond the purview of moral constraint, punishment or retribution, or else they are acting within the purview of their own amoral system of rationalization which justifies evil. It is this sense that makes evil so monstrous and insidious.
There have been many more indirect and impersonal forms of evil. Organized evil is usually indirect and impersonal--mandated by the structural ethos of the organization or the consequence of its functioning. It comes with the diffusion of responsibility or the passing of the buck up or down the hierarchy of power. There is also evil of unintended consequences, in the perpetuation of preventable poverty or hunger, of the uninvolved bystander, in non-intervention as well as a great deal of evil perpetrated in the name of Good, God or Glory--the slaughter of the American Indian in the name of Manifest, Destiny, Enlightenment and Civilization, for instance.
We are in need of a descriptive and normative paradigm of the problem of evil, one which will transcend its relativity of power and values and one which comprehends its variation and leads to an understanding of its reasons, etiologies and remedy in the world.
Evil is defined as 'anything that causes displeasure, injury, pain, suffering, etc., or moral depravity, wickedness, anything morally bad or wrong'.
One aspect of organized evil is that it is relatively impersonal. It derogates a human being into a 'thing' or an object to be manipulated and used and disposed of when its usefulness is worn out. It denies human individual's their own personal identity, their beingness and devalues their subjectivity and experience. It promotes by hook and by crook conformity to superhuman social ideals, and to the moral authority and super organic superiority of the social order, as it is represented and embodied in persons occupying positions of authority. It is this pervasive and diffuse impersonalness of evil systems which allows such social structures to continue its corporate perpetration and perpetuation of evil in the world while fostering an illusion of moral legitimacy or rational purpose.
One aspect of this form of organized evil is its preservation and protection of an 'inner sanctum' of conformity to a 'vital lie' or a 'sacred secret' by its reinforcement of a circle of deceit in belief and behavior. Information networks, gossip networks, special jargon, reinforce in group conformity to hierarchy and status identity and out group boundaries of projection and discrimination. Part of the 'inner sanctum' is the secrecy and hierarchy of a 'back region' of the darkness of evil, in which evil deeds are devised and perpetrated with immunity, impunity and anonymity. The threat and fear of punishment and persecution usually surrounds and protects this inner sanctum from the public discovery of its evil nature or actual intentions of power.
The organization of evil is associated with the development of authoritarian power structures which become organized on the principle of fear and the threat of violence or punishment. Such power structures foster and attract into its ranks and reinforces such tendencies among its constituency, of psycho social authoritarianism. Such authoritarianism, part of a personality disorder of obsessive compulsiveness, sado-masochistic tendencies, displacement of libido onto symbols of authority, power and fear motivation, impulse control disorders, symbolic dependency and fixation, leads by accretion and organized accumulation to social institutions of authoritarian power structures which are a kind of social pathology.
Such authoritarian power structures have been common throughout human history, and have had many unfortunate consequences for humankind. Authoritarianism organizes itself into larger and larger systems through the promotion of conformism and mediocrity, as the predisposition to such personality is the attraction to power, the fascination with evil, destructiveness and perverse morbidness of death, and the need to immerse personal identity within a larger, impersonal social order. Authoritarian seek communities and comfort and security among other authoritarian, and have a need for the social hierarchy and symbols of authority which fits their character.. authoritarianism structures itself. Furthermore, evil, in its moral anti-structure requires a communities and social liminality, a shared sense of guilt, fear and social reinforcement of its evilness. It is much easier for people to perpetrate evil when their own individual identity is immersed in the anonymity of larger groups and impersonalness of organization.
Understanding a meta-ethical and empirical paradigm of evil in the world requires that we frame it in terms of a normative disease, a social pathology and a collective archosis which provides an effective expression of individual neurotic tendencies and psychotic pre-dispositions in ways which help the individual to adapt as if normal within the structure of the group which is itself abnormal in parallel ways. As a disease, the structure of evil is not just an organismic dysfunction, but rather is also a problem of environmental maladaptiveness and 'misfit' in ways that are fundamentally destructive.
Psychologically, the structure of evil begins with the tyranny of fear. Failure to confront the unknown, to face our fears, to avoid and ignore those differences, contradictions or in between symbols which cannot fit easily into our nomothetic world view, leads to its 'stimulus generalization' and to the general existential pervasiveness in our lives. We no longer control our fears, but fear controls us.
Socially, the structure of evil transmutes the psychological tyranny of fear into the rule of the threat of violence. Our fears become displaced upon symbols of authority which threaten punishment for non-conformity to its dictates. Fear motivation, fear of failure, of persecution and punishment, drives people upward in the organization of evil through identification with authority. The control of fear over our being leads to the structuration and organization of people into systems of hierarchy and conformity based upon a common, shared fear motivation. Our collective fears become projected onto convenient out group symbols, victims of scapegoats, which become the objects of threat, contamination, abhorrence, hate in our lives. They realize our fears for us in a personally harmless way, such that we may then punish them with impunity. They embody our fears, giving them a concreteness and an objectivity in our lives. Systems of evil play upon our fears and an objectivity in our lives. Systems of evil play upon our fears and try to augment them to induce greater degrees of conformity.
'World view' is a special kind of paradigm which is characterized by its comprehensiveness, its 'singleness' which purports to subsume other paradigms, its tendency to exclude other possible world views and its possession of a sense of center, or core of 'fixedness' around which its world view is oriented. It is this centeredness which structures its world view, and which possesses what post structuralist critics refer to as the 'principle of presence' of its structure.
The paradigm of the structure of evil is essential a kind of 'world view' paradigm which is characterized by its center of structure, its comprehensiveness and exclusiveness. It is as a 'world view' problem that the paradigm of evil is to be best understood.
The modern state of the world is characterized by a problem of 'world view' which is in fact an interrelated set of problems of different 'world views' subsumed by a single meta-theme of the 'world view problem'. 'World view' is both a problem by itself, in a general sense and a gloss for a range of particular problems in the real world--these two senses cannot be separated from one another in any but the most analytical way, but their synthesis has a synergism which if clearly elucidated has productive implications for our understanding of problems in the world on a microscopic level and world problems on a macroscopic order.
Traditionally, the world view problem has been philosophically and philologically a problem inherent to 'culture history' which as posed several dilemmas which have had unfortunate implications in the world. It has been used for the justification of ethnocentric 'superman ideologies' which promote a conservative status quo, reactionary regimes promoting a romantic, ideological mythology of the past, and which lead to a great deal of unnecessary violence.
Part of the problem with the 'world view problem' has been that it has remained rather poorly, only partially elucidated as a systematic philosophical system of inquiry. As such it has suffered a misplaced identity as a self serving kind of philosophical 'determinism' which allows it to be easily attacked and easily abused and misused as a non-scientific ideology.
The primary function of any world view is to rationalize and legitimate the status quo of the existing order of things in the world. The status of a world view is tied to the present social relations and to those of the past which account for the present. World view normalizes the order of the world and naturalize the present. It provides a sense of coherence and consistency to our reality and sense of being in the world. It describes existing relationships in terms of how they should be--it does not prescribe how relationships should be regardless of how they are. World view cannot itself step outside of world order of existing relationships, but its own legitimacy is dependent upon the legitimization of the existing social order. Furthermore, world view is used to justify morally and ideologically behavior and beliefs which support such a status quo in the world, or which promulgate revolutionary or reactionary change in such relationships. World view infuses a person's and by extension a group's relationship with the world with a sense of purpose and a sense of reason, and it comes to centrally focus experience and the interpretation of experience in relation to the world around such purpose and reason. World view is an orienting force which serves to allow individuals to organize their lives in a meaningful and seemingly consistent way. World view becomes superimposed upon reality as an organizing force and orienting paradigm which gives an individual a sense of belonging, completion, omniscience, non-contradiction and purpose in the world.
It is in such a way that world view is ideological and tautological in its self rationalization and relationship to the world. It engages in a dialectical relationship with the world, but does not transcend the dialectic as dialectic. It then stands separately from a sense of history, as outside of the purview of historical understanding or not subject to laws of historical transformation and change. It replaces history with ideology and becomes itself 'history in the making'--a self fulfilling prophecy in which there is a rational isomorphism between the eidetic ideas and ideals and real relationships in the world. Ideas represent reality and reality replicates ideals. It begs the question of the actual representativeness and non-arbitrariness of such isomorphic models--implicit presuppositions remain hidden and covered over from view, which if made explicit would reveal contradiction and difference between the beliefs and the reality.
World view has the advantage of situating us in the immediacy of the world. We take part in its principle of presence as we situate ourselves near the center. It simultaneously 'collectivizes' us in relationship with one another and 'relativizes' s in contra-distinction to others. It makes us real, or allows us realization in the world--to participate in the unfolding of events rather than to remain mere spectators.
World view engages the sense of being in a dialectic between sense and nonsense, order and chaos, structure and entropy, presence and absence, which involves a predominance of 'structure' or of collectivizing or identification over relativizing or sense of difference. It leads to basic dialectical and discursive antinomies which underlie all of our symbolizations of the world--dichotomies of self/other, internal/external, male/female, nature/culture, ideal/real. These dichotomies form the dialectical themata about which all our symbolic discourse in the world is constituted--it is the basis of the constitution of meaning in the world. World view brings a sense of power and totality--of totipotency which depends upon its 'centeredness' and 'presence'. This is a form of power diametrically opposed to the relational sense of power derived from the potential totality of the universe, or its infinity. This is a holothetic form of totipotency in which the power of the part embodies and reflects but imperfectly and partially the power of the whole,, but there is no totalitarian or completely comprehensive or absolutely final vision of the whole. The center is always missing or absent, and its power is always decentered. The center, the origin cannot be fixed, but can only be found in all things everywhere.
Science separates the categories of Mind, Language and Culture for analytical purposes--in the process entailing reintegration such that each becomes 'explained' in reference to the other categories. But 'mind/language/culture' is a Humpty Dumpty kind of reality--a single symbolic stream of phenomena of human reality. Understanding each element necessitates understanding the others. In reality, there can be no clear separation of these concepts--they describe a single conflated integration of reality. These constitute homological facets of a single cybernetically integrated 'system'. This system is symbolic and symbolic integration of 'mind/language/culture' occurs intensively at the centeredness of being.
Language is seen as the principle mediating mechanism of the dialectic between Mind and Culture--it defines the textuality of Logos which situates the dialectic within the culture-historical continuum, within definite spatio-temporal coordinates.
'Mind/language/culture' has a holothetic integrity--each process is a symbolic mediation of the dialectic of the other two. Altogether the whole system forms a complex dialectic interrelating several processes.
'Mind/language/culture' constitutes the symbolic 'world view' the integrity of which defines the intensiveness and relative centeredness of being. 'World view' becomes the symbolic centeredness of being. At the center, the interrelations between mind, language and culture become deterministic in the directive selectivity of change--but this center point of presence is an ever receding absolute origin--it is the 'black hole' of culture historical determinism. Concentric degrees of distance from this hypothetical center point designates orders of 'relativity' of 'world view' such that 'mind/language/culture' becomes less and less intensively determined and more and more extensively 'undetermined' by randomizing selective powers.
Relative centeredness or the relativity of the center, leads to a contrast between 'intensiveness' and 'extensiveness'. Greater centeredness entails a greater intensiveness--greater distance from the center entails greater extensiveness. Where there is greater intensiveness there is less extensiveness and where there is greater extensiveness there is less intensiveness, but though contrastive, intensiveness if fundamentally different from extensiveness. The greater the intensiveness the greater the degree of qualitative distinctiveness and qualitatively defined symbolic coherence. The greater the extensiveness the greater the degree of quantitative continuity and the qualitatively defined consistency--qualitative difference gives way to quantitative similarity.
The kinds of cohesiveness of intensive and extensive orientations are also fundamentally different--intensive cohesion is structurally defined from within, in relation to centeredness, defined by the symbolic integrity of relations. Extensive cohesion is defined from without the center, by the external relation with other centers within the extensive symbolic universe.
Extensiveness tends toward randomization, entropy and chaos. Intensiveness tends toward determination, fixedness, structure and anti-chaos.
Intensiveness consists of greater variations upon a few themes which are qualitatively distinctive. Extensiveness consists of fewer variations upon a multitude of themes--a thematic, qualitative multiplicity. Intensive cohesiveness emphasized difference upon a common theme--extensive cohesiveness emphasizes similarities or commonness of different themes.
From the standpoint of the mind, intensiveness at the center results in greater internal coherence--extensiveness from the center results in greater external consistency. Perfect mind must always be situated at the center. Natural mind tends to be displaced from the center, and tends toward extensiveness.
Extensively defined identity of being is different from intensively defined identity of being.
Between the extensive and intensive, there must always be some intermediate, 'supercritical' phase of transition in which extensiveness and intensiveness counterbalance and cancel one another out.
Intensification is an implosive kind of internal growth which reaches the critical phase line. Extensification is an explosive diffusion which tends to occur beyond the critical phase line. We may say that the extensiveness is centrifugal while the intensiveness is centripetal in power.
The critical phase of transition between extensive and intensive orientations is the point in which, centrifugally, relativistic 'world view' disintegrates symbolically into a disparate mass of constituent units--forces of internal cohesiveness gives way to forces of external cohesiveness--and at which, centripedally, symbolic entities begin to coalesce into some semblance of internal order and integrity. Defined another way, it is the point of critical distance between symbolic components at which differences between components are counterbalanced by similarities--when such differences and similarities are defined thematically or qualitatively.
Within this phase line, the perspective of the world view is one of 'inside looking out'--an intensive point of view. Beyond this critical phase line the perspective of the center is seen from the outside looking in--the extensive viewpoint.
It is possible to have an intensive perspective inside of the critical phase line, as well as to retain an intensive point of view beyond this line. This retention is largely a matter of individual mind. The intensive viewpoint becomes predominant inside and the extensive viewpoint predominate outside.
All world views are intensive, and are therefore perspectives of power. The intensive world view, from the inside looking out is what has been called the 'emic viewpoint'. An extensive world view would be called an 'etic' or 'outsider's' perspective.
The extensive viewpoint cannot constitute a 'world view' in the sense that it lacks a symbolic centeredness of being, but is always defined as opposed or in contra distinctive reference to any such symbolic center. It is always defined in negative outline in contrast to what it is not, but always lacks a central reference point around which it can develop a directionally of beingness.
The intensive viewpoint is constituted by the principle of critical presence--of a sense of purpose or integrity of beingness. The extensive viewpoint is in contrast constituted by the principle of critical absence--the sense of possible non-beingness.
Intensive and extensive, presence and absence, centeredness and centerless, insider and outsider, constitute a dialectic in itself--a dialectic which informs a hermeneutical comprehension of culture history as a transcendent study of mind or logos as constituted by the dialectics of human identity.
Change, as the Logos of Nature is universal and irreversible except in a limited, cyclical sense. Change at the center--intensive change--is fundamentally different from extensive change. Extensive change tends towards randomness, intensive change is more directional.
Power is defined as the control of change. Power is greater at the center--there is greater control over intensive change.
Intensiveness of being is defined as relative powerfulness; extensiveness of being is relative powerlessness.
Power of change is causal power--the power of determination. Determination requires centeredness and intensiveness of being.
Power may be conservative or revolutionary, creative or destructive, eufunctional or dysfunctional, but it is never neutral or static.
Power related to selectiveness or selection in change--extensive selection is random or tends towards randomness in its multi-directionality. Intensive selection is purposive or non-random, tending towards uni-directionality.
There is something inherently corrupting about power--unconstrained power leads to absolute, unredressed corruption. The corrupting nature of power is in its arbitrariness. The more power an individual has the more such an individual is able to abuse and misuse power for evil purposes, with impunity and without fear of retribution. And it is not just that power leads to corrupt social practices but it is psychologically corrupting as well, in a way which is pathological both to the individual personality and to the larger society.
Power fosters an illusion of one's self importance in the world, of false pride and petty egoism of self interested and selfish greed, and it leads to the delusion of the social efficacy of power as an effective instrument in the control over others.
It leads to a system of symbolization and belief which sees power as morally pure, well intentioned, incorruptible, glossing over its own discrepancies and contradictions. Power leads to its own moral rationalization and legitimization in a sense of fate or destiny, and leads to a forgetfulness or ignorance of the need to seek standards of moral value outside the purview of its own control.
The pursuit of power becomes the aggrandizement and social charter for the pursuit of personal self interest in social forums. The very motivation which leads t the promotion of power leads to the erosion of the social fabric upon which its moral efficacy depends--the pursuit of self interest is valued above the common good, leading to the loss of trust and mutual respect upon which basic human reciprocities are based and balanced. The pursuit of power as disguised promotion of self interest and personal aggrandizement undermines the collective well being and fosters an atmosphere of competition, factionalization, conflict, chastisement with whips and scorpions, paranoid mistrust, and dirty closed door politics and retribution.
But there is something deeper and more sublime about the corruption of power. There is an attractiveness about power that makes most people seek it out, however covertly. Power legitimizes the personality and allows the rationalization of personal interest. Part of the illusion of power is the deference given to those who yield it, the deification of people who might otherwise appear quite ordinary or mundane. There is an illusion and hypocrisy about power in its vestiges, in the 'king's new clothes' which preconditions our perceptuality and conceptuality of experience, orienting our view of the world. The pursuit of power will lead to the overriding of many other kinds of constraints allowing people to do what they would not ordinarily attempt.
The psychology of power leads to the possibility of psychological evil. Power does not inevitably beget the corruption of evil, but it strongly predisposes people to it. The relativity of power allows it to be sometimes used for good as well as evil. But unconstrained, absolute power does lead to absolute evil.
The paradox of power is that, although it inevitably corrupts, it is the best means by which to protect and promote the good. This paradox is that the individual's with the most power to influence and create change for the better in the world are those least likely to do so because they are usually among the very individuals with the most to lose from such changes. Its paradox is that though it is the only pathway to the promotion of the self and realization of personality, it leads through a dark forest which endangers the personality and society with corruption.
Power has both real and imaginary, symbolic components in its manifestation in the world--it is always as much illusion and delusion as it is the actual reality of the 'way it is'. Power creates both Truth and Falsehood, both Right and Wrong. Both Good and Evil, through its realization in the world. The paradox of power is that it determines the world from possibility, but once having so determined it, it has limited and relativized it in its actualization.
The paradox of power is that we cannot live in a world without it, and yet we cannot live well with it. We are forced to seek compromises in our dealings with it, and we cannot safely renege our responsibility to do so.
Power creates entanglements as it enmeshes the individual involved in power in a social web of interdependencies which captures and immobilize the individual's spirit of independence and sense of normative freedom and it renders the person increasingly subservient to the interests of power within the system, the higher up the hierarchy the person may climb, and increasingly incapable of unwilling or resisting power in favor of alternative kinds of adaptations. Our ability to compromise with power becomes itself compromised.
Power is a vortex, a maelstrom, which as we become more caught up within its spiraling currents, as we are drawn increasingly towards its dark center, we are more and more incapable of escaping. It overwhelms us and submerge us and eventually drowns us in its flowing force.
The psychology of power is related to authoritarianism and the expression and symbolization of aggression and sexuality through processes of psycho-social internalization and identification, but its locus is in the interrelations between the self ego and its social environment of adaptation. Power is defined as the ability to create and control change in the world. The feeling of powerfulness comes from a sense of mastery, control over or adaptive success within any given environmental configuration. It is therefore quite reasonable to see that lack of fit with the environment creates stress experienced as anxiety and begets a sense of powerlessness in the world--loss of a feeling of control or ability to change the environment. Powerlessness results in frustration of the drive for power, in its subversion or perversion in indirect ways. Power corrupts because its motivation is never sated or completed. Natural change always tends to upset the ecological balance of power, and power always seek to restore its centeredness and to fulfill itself in ever greater proportions. The psychology of power is one of incompleteness and making up for 'lost time'. It is contagious and addictive--it spreads between people and people who become infected with it and caught up more and more in its entanglements.
Power has perceptual, conceptual, emotional and motivational components. It is derived from an existential, phenomenological need to maintain a rational 'unity of experience' such that perception, conception, emotion, motivation, behavior all can be seen as well as ordered, sensible, fitting together and following smoothly from one another. Percepts, concepts and drives reinforce one another and moderate one another in a way which makes 'sense' of experience. Lack of fit between inner and outer perception, between signifier and the signified, lead to 'cognitive dissonance' and attempts by individuals to modify or adjust their experiences to fit preconceived paradigms which reinforce their sense of order. This sense of order is founded in relationships of dominance and hierarchy--in being able to exert mastery over and control of objects in the environment which would otherwise be potentially threatening.
'Psycho geography' is the study of the interconnections between object relations in the real, external world and internal psychological features of the ego. The environment becomes the symbolic representation and reflection of the sense of self, and the self becomes embodied in the environment. The body itself becomes represented as if the cosmic order of state and universe, and the external order becomes 'organicized' as if the body. This reveals how consciousness orders its experience of the world in the world. There is a dynamic repressive/projective, expressive/introjective relationship between inside and outside which constitutes part of the dialectics of the psychology of power.
"The attribution to and representation of space in the topography of the human mind. Unintegrated aspects of the self and object representations and drive derivatives, unresolved psycho-sexual conflicts and body image are externalized onto people, places and things which come to be the outer referents for psycho geographic perception and action. (Stein pg. 78)
Psycho geography is simply a way of understanding how people construct the physical and social world based on fantasies about their bodies and their families. (Stein pg. 79)"
It is from this basis that we can better understand the interconnection between personality and enculturation and culture--culture emanates from the psychology of the individual as a range of symbolic alternatives in a social environment. It is constituted through empowerment and enactment of power in ways which are psychologically relevant. 'Culture' denoted not so much an independent variable or context to which people adapt as it constitutes a symbolic or representational system that is heir to the inner 'representational world'. On the other hand, cultural symbolisms provide an external object environment and cultural historical relational context against which meaning and sense of self identity in the world can be configured and transformed.
Adaptation to environment is an ongoing and historically irreversible process, as the environment is always changing and so the organism's or organization's functional adaptive relationships with the environment are always tending to deteriorate entropically. The environment always threatens to undermine power with uncertain unpredictable changes.
The net result of such natural or randomizing change is disequilibrium or a lack of fit between the organism and the environment. This is experienced cognitively and psychologically in terms of cognitive dissonance and relative deprivation.
Anxiety is the result of anticipation of unpredictable change in adaptation. Stress is the measure or index of the relative lack of 'fit' within the environment. The experiences of stress, anxiety and the relationship by either changing the environment to suit the adaptive pattern of the organism, a typically cultural response when seen from the standpoint of the collectivity, a process known as 'assimilation' or else to modify the adaptive pattern of the organism by altering the organism's behavioral responses or structural characteristics or what is referred to as 'accommodation' to new features in the environment. Assimilation is an 'intensive' strategy of realignment between organism and environment, accommodation is an 'extensive' strategy.
Cognitive dissonance frequently leads to symbolic reinterpretation or rationalization of change and the lack of fit for the purposes of assimilating change to the previous cognitive orientation of the organism. Such rationalization prevents adaptive adjustments to change.
The experience of relative deprivation also leads to symbolic reevaluation, but it works from an extensive standpoint of attempting to accommodate internal states to externally derived differences. It leads to a revolution of equality and of rising expectations and it frequently is also ineffective in fostering adaptation because in its extreme condition it damages the integrity of its intensive orientation, and disintegrates due to the overpowering influence of the randomizing forces of external changes.
The experience of anxiety is the result of stress. Cognitive dissonance is the typical psychological mechanism which allows human adaptation to anxiety. A great deal of ritual, magic and myth is rooted in this mechanism for dealing with anxiety which is the 'symptom' of stress.
The long term experience of stress can lead to the adaptive malfunctioning of the individual, a breakdown in the coping mechanism and adaptive functioning of the individual, and its symptoms can become somatized in various ways or else lead to cybernetic feedback mechanisms which lead to less adaptive behavior patterns and modification, learned helplessness, stress response disorder which has a net negative effect upon the physical and psychological well being of the individual.
Anxiety and deprivation are experienced as relative states of being--cognitive dissonance is dependent upon anticipation, expectations, frames of reference/inference, flexibility and open-mindedness, the nature of environmental changes. The defense mechanisms of rationalization and intellectualization and behavioral ritualization creates an 'absolute' state of being and mind which anchors the individual to a given centeredness of orientation and serves to allay the experience of stress. It is a 'trick' or 'turn' of mind which temporarily relieves the psychological pain of stress.
Elevated levels of 'frustration' results in greater incidence of aggression--certain environmental stimuli 'trigger' the release of built-up aggression, as well as exacerbating circumstances which elevate the level of stress and lower the threshold or level of normal resistance to release of its expression. This kind of frustration is the 'stress' which results from the lack of ecological fit between the organism and its environment or else it is the result of 'perceived' relative deprivation in comparison with peer 'polity' reference groups--results of 'elevated' expectations which are unmet in comparison to others, or triggered by a sudden downturn of expected events or an unexpected loss or lack of an expected gain. Frustration is experienced when expectations go unmet. Relative deprivation and rising expectations are the result of perceived structural inequalities vis-a vis a dominant or competing reference group. Frustration is preeminently a psycho physiological phenomena--it is one of the many ways the mind can influence the body and the body can in turn influence the mind. Expectations may be based upon a relative value orientation and relative deprivation is based on the knowledge of possible non-deprivation derived from the experiences of reference groups--the knowledge that continual 'deprivation' is no longer a necessary reality, but the experience of frustration and the 'need for aggression' is very organically real. Frustration can also result from what sociologists refer to as interpositional structural ambiguity of status role identity--the stress and strain of being caught in the push pull of overlapping structural hierarchies or in the interstices of power. The result of becoming incorporated within a global political economy and of restricted access to material affluence, education, opportunity and of learning that other people are undeprived, is based upon perceived social structural inequality and asymmetry in structural relationships and leads to social conflict and revolution.
Sociologists see aggression as an innate instinctual human phenomenon. Yet acts of aggression, as symbolic expressions and as frustrated attempts to 'correct' problems of environmental misfit are largely 'learned' responses. Aggression is an expressive mode may be cultivated and elevated to greater levels of violence, as occurs in the media. Children learn the expression of aggression from peers, family and role models their society provides them. Oedipus theory is based upon the sublimation of aggression and the internalization of its control, and its expressive association with sexuality. Direct forms of aggression are regressive and in most social contexts are maladaptive and dysfunctional. Aggression becomes displaced psychologically upon neutral or convenient ways or objects in indirect forms of its expression. Its manifestation is associated with obsessive compulsive and impulse control disorders. In its sublimation, it may be either reserved or channeled towards out groups who are symbolically villainized or incriminated or else it is turned inwardly upon the self and becomes an inverted form of self violence culminating in suicide. The sublimation and displacement of aggression is symbolically mediated and allows its channeling into constructive or destructive or neutral 'structures' or paradigms. These 'structures' that are founded upon the sublimation of aggression through internal control and conformity to authority are authoritarian.
However innate aggressiveness is, its style of expression, its transmission and the acquisition and elaboration of aggression is enculturated and transmitted through the elaboration of cultural symbol systems. Violence begets more violence, and acquired aggressiveness begets violence. The socialization for aggression is institutionally embedded in constraints, direct and indirect, and sanctions, positive or negative and in the norms and ethos of a particular social structure. By its socialization, aggressive drives are channeled into appropriate symbolic outlets of expression, and this prevents aggression from rending in group social relations or undermine the symbolic hierarchy of social authority. Its cultivation fosters an atmosphere of social security and of active involvement in the rituals which mediate difference and conflict. Aggression is learned through imitation, internalization, punishment, enforced restrictions and competition. People are constrained and coerced into aggressiveness through manipulation and reinforcement, through rationalized protection and defense of the ego, through 'trials' of ritualized suffering, challenge and endurance. Aggression is the expression of power in the world--its feeling, motivation and energy.
The challenge of social cohesion and conformity is to transmute and channel independent forms of personal willpower and direct aggression into appropriate forms of social empowerment and indirect expression of aggression, of an extensive form of personalized natural power and transforming it into an intensive form of social, derivative power.
Sexual drives and aggressiveness are closely linked--instinctually, hormonally and in the brain. Biological paradigms or fight or flight are tied to mating rituals and other forms of symbolic behavior. It is no wonder that the social repression of sexuality, seen as polluting, taboo, immoral is to be associated with the sublimation, cultivation, elaboration and projection of aggression onto out groups or members of out groups. The frustration of sexuality is a social mechanism for the indirect fostering and channeling of aggressive drives. Such a mechanism reinforces group solidarity and is a mechanism of control of social structure and reproduction and allows for the build up and subsequent targeting and triggering of pent-up aggressive impulses upon socially acceptable targets.
Aggressiveness can be socially transmitted, acquired and targeted in acceptable ways. The indirect release of aggression upon out groups promotes internal solidarity, cohesiveness and conformity. The coupling of sexuality and aggressiveness is a useful means of augmenting the motivational drives which then can be socially channeled in constructive or destructive ways. The frustration of sexual drives, and its sublimation into other domains of interest helps to heighten levels of aggression. The evocative power of sexual symbolisms can be transferred to the reinforcement of symbolisms of aggression. Sexual symbolisms can surreptitiously focus and direct aggressive impulses in deliberate and controllable ways.
Psychological growth of personality is critically linked to socialization and enculturation in relation to others in the world. The formation of psychological 'ego' as a socially interdependent expression of personality is referred to as 'identification'. Identification is a 'psycho social' process of ego development, having inseparable psychological and social components of its process. It is largely a dialectical process of self in relation to significant others. Identification of one's ego identity is defined vis-a' vis one's social structural positionality and in terms of relations with significant others and/or symbols of group identity. Identification is a consequence of the psychological internalization of the constraints and sanctions, values, norms, attitudes, aversions and predispositions predominant within one's world--a person's primary reference group. From a social standpoint, successful internalization has the happy and convenient result of precluding the need to maintain external social controls or of external mechanisms of behavioral reinforcement--the actions of the individual in relation to social life will be rendered expectable and predictable in a positive way.
Negative stereotypes, associated with people who have failed to successfully internalize and identify with the predominant ethos and nomos of the group, or who have identified negatively and 'externalized' such norms and standards of conduct, are always associated with unpredictability and unexpectable and dangerous behaviors. Such people are prone to behave in aberrant and abnormal ways, and are therefore preordained uncontrollable and potentially dangerous as their inappropriate behavior threatens social order.
Internalization is not promoted without its costs to an individual or to the group, as it tends to separate the sense of individual identity from its own natural ground of being in the world, by the superimposition of artificial values and secondary orientations. This has the consequence of frustrating creative development and independent thinking and renders the individual, in motivation, interests, inclinations, attitudes, habits, subordinate to and subservient to and dependent upon the world view from which the social norms and values are derived. It 'fixes' and 'frames' an individual in a relative inflexible structural position. People become prisoners of their own unconscious psyche that attempts to deal with this condition--they become either rebels, silent conformists or sycophants of the predominant world view which predetermines their 'frames' of being and experience.
In this matter people cannot prevent or help themselves in their controlled behavior, or in uncontrolled reactions to it, not even recognize in themselves what it is that so directs and controls their sense of being in the world. This vital control is blocked out, rendered transparent and invisible, covered over by something quite sophisticated systems of rationalization and intellectualization which protects their sense of ego identity and their implicit world view, from contradiction which might threaten or undermine it.
Internalization has different consequences for different people--some have internalized more rigidly than others, and different people adopt different kinds of ego defense mechanisms to allow them to cope with the consequences of their own inflexibility in new environments. Different kinds of status role positions beget different forms and ways of identification.
Psycho social identification and the formation of ego in the world is referred to as an individual's 'status role' identity vis a 'vis a given corporate social structure and organization. Psychological ego identity is wrapped up with a person's nomothetic social status, or positionality within the social order, whether hierarchical or symmetrical, and with that person's functional role within that order. A person's status is critically linked to the role that person performs and to the social recognition and reinforcement such a role entails. Behavioral modification and reinforcement, in terms of 'professionalization' or 'professional socialization and specialization' of the ego focuses upon the manipulation of an individual's status role identity through sanctioned and constrained reinforcement of the processes of internalization and repression.
It is through such status role identity that social structure as a normative and nomothetic order is primarily reinforced. Status role identity is critically linked to social group boundary maintenance mechanisms and symbolisms, whether internal or external. Threats to group boundary identity constitutes threats to an individual's status role identity within the group and threats to an individual's status role identity constitutes a threat to the social order.
It is understandable that the ego defense mechanisms of world view--repression/projection, rationalization and intellectualization, compartmentalization and dichotomization--are also important mechanisms in maintaining and reinforcing the social structure and in mediating group boundary identity in the world, and that symbols and mechanisms of social reinforcement of group boundary identify figure prominently in the normal socialization or 'normalization' of an individual's status role identity.
The psycho social processes of identification and internalization are related to the process of compartmentalization of the ego into separate domains of being, usually 'front' and 'back' regions, in which a person's ideals, sense of perfection, strengths, positive values and talents, etc. are relegated to the 'front' or public domain and the individual's weaknesses, wrong doings, negative values, etc. are relegated to the back regions where they may be easily hidden from view and denied. Compartmentalization requires maintaining a boundary or a sense of distance between the two domains, which consumes a great deal of psychic energy expressed in the form of inner conflict, dissonance and tension. Compartmentalization is more necessary in public regions of social space, in which all of one's ego defense mechanisms are in place to prevent the two domains from merging or becoming mixed. One's guard can be let down 'behind closed doors' and the sense of self can become relatively uncompartmentalized. This is a more 'relaxed' state of being which does not require as much energy to maintain. The stronger the degree of internalization of social constraint and values, the more compartmentalized a person becomes--complete internalization is a completely compartmentalized identity in which the defense mechanisms are always in place.
Compartmentalization of a person's self identity in the world has several important consequences. First, there is a resulting dichotomization of reality, which undercuts one's total world view. Placing values into separate boxes or compartments in one's own being leads to a compartmentalization of reality and experience into dichotomized, contradictive boxes of good and bad, right and wrong, strong and weak, positive and negative, etc. This dichotomization of world view underlies its mythological and ideological character, and it is all pervasive. There will be a strong need to find a sense of symmetry and isometry between one's internal and external worlds. If follows from this that individual's who have not, for one reason or another, strongly compartmentalized their internal lives, will tend not to dichotomize the external world and to have a world view which tends to be non-ideological.
The second consequence of compartmentalization of the internal world and dichotomization of the external order is that there is a resulting need to unconsciously reintegrate the separate domains of being, to reunite them and to recover a lost sense of integrity and completeness. There is a pervasive sense of being incomplete, unwhole, alienated, alone, unintegrated which leads to an often futile and frequently failed attempt to rediscover 'lost parts' of the self.
The psychological processes of internalization and compartmentalization rest upon the mechanism of 'psychological repression'--the holding back or keeping down of natural expression or development of devalued aspects of the self, through strict behavioral controls, reinforcing ideas, impulses, etc. painful to the conscious mind (ego identity) into the unconscious where they still modify behavior and remain dynamic, and the prevention of such ideas, impulses, etc. from rising to the level of consciousness. Feelings of weakness, inadequacy, insecurity, negatively valued emotions, feelings, expressions, traits, habits, pre-dispositions, become forced by psychological constriction and social constraint into the back regions of the unconscious.
Such repression has certain inevitable consequences. First it leads to over controlled or constrained expression of self in non-spontaneous overly rationalized ways.
Secondly, such repression entails unconscious 'projection' of those negatively devalued traits onto a counter reference other, a member of some 'out group'. Projection is an almost automatic, reflexive outcome of repression--it is a form of indirect expression of what is repressed upon targeted scapegoats, expression which is only constrained by the boundaries, relative distance and difference of such out groups. The fact of projection is as transparent and invisible as the sense of necessary repression is strong and requires rationalization. Repression and the resulting need for projection often entails finding an acceptable target or a scapegoat, which entails the devaluation or negation of another individual or group. Psychological projection is the externalization of a thought or a feeling such that it appears to have objective reality. It entails finding appropriate symbols in the environment which conveniently and adequately serve the purposes of projection or indirect expression of what is repressed.
Psychological repression/projection is associated with social repression/projection. Group identity and constraints become incorporated through socialization and identification into the individual--what is socially repressed becomes internalized as psychological repression, and what is psychological repressed becomes expressed through social relationship as social repression. Furthermore, psychological projection finds convenient symbols in social out groups which are targets of social projection.
Repression/projection as psycho social mechanisms of internalization/identification and compartmentalization/dichotomization are the basis of rationalization and intellectualization which characterize world view. Such mechanisms allows us to understand how rationalization differs from rationality, and how intellectualization differs from intellect, as ego defense mechanisms characterized by cognitive dissonance, the need for non-contradiction, totality, denial, etc.
Repression/projection and status role/group boundary identity are mechanisms for maintaining a world view which symbolically ties together into a unity ego identity and group identity and leads to a well documented phenomenon of in group/out group consciousness. Such consciousness is characterized by some definite traits.
The out group is the symbolic scapegoat and victim/target of projection. It is negative devalued and excluded from communication. The in group is positively valued, and the in group language become exclusive facilitating internal communication but hindering between group communication. A sense of special identity is fostered, an illusion of superiority and prerogative over the out group. Hierarchy and solidarity of the in group is reinforced through ritual and symbolic practices. The presence of an out group is not just convenient, but unconsciously mandatory and imperative--internal cohesion, solidarity and hierarchy of power could not be reinforced without the critical 'absence' of an out group which serves as a projective target of internal psycho social repressions. Within group differences are repressed and within group conformity or similarities, or 'identity' is emphasized and between group differences are emphasized and between group identity de-emphasized.
At the same time, the individual variation of the out group becomes 'collectivized' as a group stereotype--'if you've seen one, you've seen them all' where as the individual variation of the in group becomes emphasized and highlighted--'the organization of familiarity'.
Status role and group boundary identity, in group/out group consciousness and world view become symbolically expressed and articulated in systems of belief and behavior which are referred to as systems of collective representation--symbolisms and symbol systems which represent identity and ideologically express and reinforce group vales and consciousness. Symbols of collective representation serve to 'normalize' and 'naturalize' such relations and to 'sacralize' the identity of relation. They express the collectivity of identity, and emphasize the collectivizing function of symbolic identity. Collective representations orient 'world view' and ground it in 'objective reality'.
Compartmentalization and repression/projection entail symbolic dichotomization of social reality between the 'reference significant other' and the 'counter reference significant other'. The reference other is 'sacred' or endowed with 'sacred qualities' as a paragon of the collective representation or embodiment of the paradigm, in that it is an in group symbol of primary reference and emulation. It may be an authority figure, a normative ideal or archetype or an abstraction expressed symbolically. The 'counter reference' significant other is the archetypal or stereotypical embodiment of the negative projections of the self, characteristic of the 'out group'. These contraposed symbolisms are functionally complementary to one another--they require logically and analogically the mutual presence of both in the dichotomization of social reality. The significant reference other is the symbolic embodiment of the 'perfect self'--an externalized introjection of the positive attributes of the ego, while the counter reference other is an anti-type of the 'imperfect other', while the counter reference other is an anti-type, the internalized projection of the unconscious 'unself'.
Prejudice, pre-judgment of others, is based upon ignorance about them. Ignorance is not only the lack of information but 'ignoring' such information through selective omission and perception. It is necessary that we do not know others in order that we may remain prejudiced about them. The insidiousness of ignorance is not that it is based on a lack of reliable, valid information, but that it is based on an unwillingness to learn about or a resistance to such information. All prejudice implies the rule of ignorance. Prejudice is self serving in a person's or a group's world view--it reinforces its own ignorance and its own preconceptions of the way the world is and ought to be.
Such prejudice as pre-judgment of others entails that we superimpose standards of moral judgment on others which are independent of their actions or being, culture or history--their being and behavior is ultimately denied or devalued as unnecessary or unimportant in our constructions and preconceptions about them. Prejudice allows us to see and look at the world the way we want to see it, unmitigated by the reality of the other--the reality of the other is made to fit into our own world without references to the other's values, actions, experiences or realities. We then do not have to consult them or bother to inquire of them or their experiences to validate our views about them. Our prejudices are self validating by our ignorance.
Prejudice is a mechanism for maintaining, protecting or preserving the status quo of hierarchical power relations and in group/out group boundary maintenance. Prejudice and ignorance leads to patterns of socially sanctioned social avoidance and persecution, which maintains the state of ignorance in order that our prejudice might not be compromised by contradictory information.
Such prejudice and ignorance is based upon selective perception and preconception. We have preconceived ideas about what another person is like, or about good or bad traits, and we then see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and selectively choose to pay attention to what conveniently reinforces our own world view. This may happen not only consciously but unconsciously. Selective perception and preconception is based upon unconscious projection of things hidden in ourselves. Ignorance and prejudice, as psychological resistance and refusal have reasons which are rooted in our own character.
Prejudice and ignorance find reinforcement in 'labeling' and stereotyping of others. Labels reify abstract realities as if these were objectively real, and allow us to locate these 'realities' in others by way of calling them names. It reifies people into the qualities of labels. Labeling implies in group/out group consciousness, and creates thresholds to passing/perception between groups. Labeling reinforces world view and modifies our perception of reality. Once stuck, labels are difficult to remove. Labeling is a symbolic form of linguistic tattooing, a form of dysphemization which follows Gresham's law that bad meaning tends to crowd out the good. Labeling leads to self fulfilling prophecy, and to the 'I told you so' syndrome of picking out and emphasizing actions or traits which reinforce the realism of the label, while ignoring realities which may contradict it. This is a kind of 'blaming the victim' which projects the lack of personal responsibility and victimizes the victim of our prejudice as a 'self fulfilling prophecy'.
Labeling creates and maintains stereotypes--any unvarying forms or patterns, fixed or conventional expression, notion, character, mental pattern, paradigm, etc. having no individuality, as though cast from a single mold. The onus of stereotyping is that they create psychological and social low self esteem which leads to self defeating patterns of behavior which reinforce and help to perpetuate the stereotypes or to exaggerated acts of over compensation which have a similar net result.
Collective low self esteem is a result of group stereotypes in which role models, dominant symbols, leadership traits and figures are devalued or demoted into submissive, subordinate, subservient, exploitable and victimizable status in relation to foreign, alien or antithetical models of dominance and superiority. It leads to a cultural inferiority complex which tends to reinforce itself--losers seek out and find the company of other losers, and prevent one another from escaping the vicious cycle of low motivation and low esteem, while winners are allowed to 'choke' into failure by the withdrawal of social support.
Ignorance and prejudice lead inevitably to social/structural bias and discrimination which reinforces patterns of inequality and dominance inherent in the world view and world order such labeling and stereotyping begets. Discrimination is the behavioral exclusion or marginalization of members or of out groups from the normal social participation as in group members or 'citizens' and from in group status role identity. Discrimination prevents access to power, resources and social relations which are the basis of psycho social well being and adaptive success. Social discrimination leads to verbal abuse, name calling, derogation and slander. Structural discrimination is the bureaucratic omission or exclusion from due process and the screens of obfuscation and the removal of screens of support and opportunity. Bureaucracy encapsulates and colonizes the out group while it protects the interests of and privileges the access to resources of the in group.
Bias is built into the world view and world order which favors in group identity over our group identity. It leads to ethnocentrism and other forms of prejudiced world view.
Scapegoating is a targeting of aggression upon acceptable out groups--it is a way of focusing hate and antagonism outside of the normal social order to prevent built up anger and aggression from causing internal conflict and disorder. It is a way of symbolically reinforcing conformity by paradigmatic intimidation, by setting an example. Scapegoating is a way of blaming the victim--not only is the out group victimized by aggression, but the negative and devalued traits projected on to them and made to stick like labels, legitimates the use of aggression and projects blame and responsibility for the aggression upon the targeted out group. Scapegoating is a necessary mechanism for maintaining group identity and solidarity, especially when internal social relations are strained or stressed or conflictual or highly competitive and spurious. A competitive social ethos entails scapegoating. One form of scapegoating is witchcraft accusation and attribution of magic and sorcery. As a mechanism of aggression and of 'blaming the victim' and for reinforcing social solidarity it is clear how scapegoating in the form of witchcraft accusation functions. Scapegoating is in a sense the opposite of catharsis as the release of built up tension--the relieving or purifying of emotions by art, or the alleviation of fears, problems, jealousies and complexes by bringing them to consciousness and giving them due expression. Collective representations of out groups, in the form of stereotypes provide a convenient form of symbolism by which catharsis may be effected. Scapegoating can be seen to be a form of 'negative catharsis'. The release or resolution of potential aggression or built up tension allows a lower level equilibrium which restore social relations to a new harmony, however temporarily. Scapegoating, whether witchcraft or some other form, is a social coping mechanisms which allows tension in the environmental misfit of everyday social lie which would otherwise be threatening to the social order, to surface in a symbolically acceptable form and be given indirect expression, alleviating the tension. It is a conservation mechanism--a first order negative feedback mechanism.
In scapegoating, in discrimination, labeling, etc. there is a hidden evil in that usually individuals promote such social processes or control their outcome for their own personal profit or empowerment at the sacrifice of other victims of the process. This is hidden, and always done deliberately. It is a way of manipulating the symbology of the structure of the system to personal advantage, through the systematic victimization of others. In this way also these mechanisms tend to promote and preserve the status quo in power relationships as the people in hierarchical positions of authority are the ones who are profiting by the legitimization and propagation of such processes.
Values which emphasize competitiveness, hierarchy, authority and dominance, reinforce a world view based upon the efficacy of conflict and power to control. Conflict is a consequence of competition, on which the rewards of success are limited, and one party's or person's gain is another's loss. Values of competitiveness and hierarchy capitalize on the promoting and channeling of aggressiveness into indirect ways of social expression. In such a predominant value orientation, success as the reward of competition is highly valued. Cooperation, equality, symmetry or reciprocity as an antithetical vale orientation is demoted and devalued as a subservient way of being--cooperation in party's or team efforts only enhance and promote competitive success of the whole group at the expense of the individual's own personal identity. Our society values highly competition and devalues cooperation in schools, in work and play, in past time events, in virtually every aspect of work and play. Promotion of competitiveness and superiority reinforces our success ethics and our world view based upon social selection of 'survival of the fittest'.
Antagonism as a form of direct aggression is related to agonism as a form of sexual competition--antagonism, as a kind of conflictual outcome of agonistic competition, becomes a way of reinforcing the structure of relations between people and between groups.
Hate and hostility are expressions of frustrated aggression projected onto marginalized members of out groups. It entails victimization of members of inferior out groups as a means of expression of antagonism and aggression, and as a means of negatively reinforcing the competitive success ethic. We hate losers, and we are hostile to cooperation which precludes competitiveness. This is the underlying fascism of our capitalist world view which promoted self interest at the sacrifice of others and concomitantly the interests of the system at the expense of other people's 'systems'. Self promotion precludes a personal sense of moral responsibility to the collective well being of humanity. Such an enlightened sense of social responsibility is a sign of weakness, a symptom of failure, a mark for systematic exclusion and even a 'villainized' threat of 'evil' communism. It remains the social prerogative of the elite and the chosen.
The basis of ethnocentrism in the world as a pan cultural phenomenon of world view is to be found in the promotion of power, self interest and authoritarianism, which plays upon the psychology of empowerment for a select few and depowerment for excluded others. The structure of ethnocentrism is derived as particular culture historical symbolisms as instantiations of the psychology of power and the authoritarian character. Ethnocentric focus and the force of enculturation are determined by and predetermine the social locus of power--it provides a center and concentricity of symbolism about which world view and the sense of collective order can be cultivated and maintained.
The psycho social process of personality development, ego identity and socialization described so far are fundamentally processes of the inculcation of the authoritarian character in individuals vis a vis their dominant cultural ethos and nomos. Authoritarianism is universal in human personality in the sense that the Freudian thesis of the Oedipus complex is a thesis about the internalization of male authority in the formation of the ego--it in a psycho social problem of authority. Authoritarianism has been described psychologically and sociologically but has never been directly broached as an anthropological concern.
Authoritarianism s the psychological internalization of the symbols and values of authority, and the conventional constraints and repressions associated with authority, and the internal conflict which results from this internalization and which creates rigidity, rebellion, the need for control, defense mechanisms and anxiety, and leads to other personality disorders. Sociopathy and counter cultural rebellion from authority are expressions and reactions to authoritarianism and the problem it leads to. We are all authoritarian to some extent--it is a question of how much and in what ways. It is a greater dilemma for some than for others, and others develop more morally mature ways for dealing with it. The psychological problem of authority is part of the central problematic of the psychology of power. Authoritarianism is a psychological preoccupation with power which frequently results in the perversions of its expression.
The manifestations of psychological authoritarianism, of the authoritarian character, takes several distinct forms and has many forms of expression. Common manifestations include fear or deficiency motivation, closed mindedness, symbolic dependency, rigidity and inflexibility in dealing with change, sexual repression, self denial or a preoccupation with ego, high levels of cognitive dissonance and emotional anxiety and a kind of 'evil' fascination with death.
Whatever its components, psychological authoritarianism is functionally associated with forms of sociological authoritarianism or the formation of 'authoritarian power structures' which may exist as a shadow organization within other organization frameworks, and which inculcated, promote and attract authoritarian personalities and cultivates authoritarians among its constituency. Such power structure exist for their own ends, for the end of 'power' and the perversion and moral corruption which power produces in human social relations. Authoritarian power structures accrete authoritarianism and power and lead to the problems associated with these.
Authoritarianism and its resulting power structures are a central existential and ethical problem confronting humankind today, one which must be effectively dealt with theoretically, methodologically and ideologically. It requires an elucidation of 'non-authoritarian personality' and of non-authoritarian power structures'. It is wondered whether the so called 'egalitarian personality' is the opposite of the authoritarian character or whether the 'non-authoritarianism' might have other attributes and traits and implications for personality development and social structuration which lie beyond the moral dilemma of equality. One of the predominant values of authoritarianism is the principle of social hierarchy--a belief in the efficacy of controlling power. Can power be articulated in or social world in fundamentally non-hierarchical ways.
Authoritarianism has been associated with low achievement motivation and with feelings of low self esteem. It can be argued that the association between the archetypical authoritarian character and low self esteem is fundamental to the understanding of both kinds of psychological phenomena--authoritarianism and low self esteem are caught in a cybernesis in which one leads to and comes from the other. Furthermore, just as authoritarians tend to flock together to socially reinforce one another and become caught into webs of relational interdependency which reinforce one another's identity and bolster each other's self esteem within the power structure of authority. The 'sense of being at the bottom' feelings of inferiority lead to a need to feel superior and to be on top, which are manifestations of authoritarianism. The need to feel better than another sets a person up for recursive failure--self fulfilling frustration--which enhances one's feeling of inferiority.
Chronic feelings of failure and fear of failure within a hierarchical arena creates a strong need to over compensate such fear and feelings by symbolically adhering to symbols of success and power, and also to a need to create, foster and maintain the existence of devalued out groups upon which such feelings and fears can be displaced and projected.
The key characteristic of authoritarianism is the preoccupation with the principle of hierarchy (hierarchism) in which elements of a group are ranked into a top-down relational structure in which dominance/subordination and inequality and relational asymmetry is stressed and symbolically, linguistically, behaviorally reinforced in social relationships. Preoccupation with hierarchy reinforces the social structure of hierarchy, and social hierarchy reinforces its psychological correlate. Authoritarianism leads to a dependence upon symbols of power and authority which reinforce such hierarchy and which devalues or downplays principles of egalitarianism.
Such hierarchism creates a predominant nomothetic arrangement of social structure in which people are normally classified, categorized, ranked and identified within a cross cutting comparative hierarchical taxonomy and are regularly, normally dealt with on the basis of such categories, labels and classes. This leads to an objective reification of people on their basis of their rank order status within the system--individual identity becomes subordinate to and dependent upon social hierarchy. Within such a nomothetic framework, the idiographic identity if the individual is systematically ignored and undermined. There is a denial and repression of intersubjectivity, longitudinal experience and personality differences and individual uniqueness and symbolically these become the characteristics of weakness, non-conformity and abnormality, and are projected onto appropriate out groups.
Embedded values of hierarchism are related to another phenomena of the growth and development of bureaucratic organization within social structures. The life cycle of organizations as social historical movements tends to follow a sequence of stages from a preliminary revolutionary, anti-structural period, lead by a prophet or a core group of revolutionary aesthetics. As such movements gain power and organize themselves, they tend to enter into a phase of corporate organization structure which becomes progressively routinized. Eventually such organizations ossify into top heavy bureaucratic organizations, with the original emphasis upon egalitarian values gradually becoming transformed to values of hierarchy. With the ossification of such institutions, their adaptation to environmental changes decreases and control or prevention of change becomes their primary purpose. The time is ripe for another 'fissioning' process of a new revolutionary splinter group which may separate on the basis of relatively minor doctrinal differences. The cycle begins again. Much of human history of social movements is one of a continuous process of branching and solidification and ossification.
There seem to be several reasons for this cyclical patterns of the spread and proliferation of social movements. First, successful movements grow and proliferate while unsuccessful one will die out while still relatively small. As successful movement expand they adopt organizational structure and associated 'centers' of ideology in order to cope with the enormity of its constituency. It stratifies at several levels, and promotes more hierarchical relations and values. Such organizations become 'grand and impersonal' and often fail to any longer meet the emotional and social needs of its basic constituency in any but the most limited or specialized manner. As it grows to encompass a broader range of diversity of people, there is more possibility for the formation of smaller, interpersonal splinter organization to form at the margins of its control, to crystallize in social organization and begin to challenge the power of its parent organization.
Bureaucracy itself begins to proliferate within an organizational framework, and as it does it becomes less and less efficient and more top heavy and parasitic to its population base. As it stratifies into multiple levels of decision making there is a tendency for lower rungs to specialize in conflict mediation, control, delegation of negative authority and the preservation of the status quo of the power hierarchy. As it proliferates and stratifies it becomes less effective in dealing with face to face encounters except in highly formalized and hierarchical ways. An organization saddled with an overgrown bureaucracy tends to ossify and become less flexible and adaptive to change.
Once bureaucracy grows it becomes more and more difficult to control completely or to diminish it. The attraction of bureaucracy is the limited security it offers. Bureaucracy is also the most inflexible to change and maintain attitudes of 'false consciousness' or are ideological 'true believers' in the efficacy and reality of their 'system'. They are instituted with the codification and enforcement of a legal structure and laws tend to increase in number and in elaboration, and laws are easier to institute than to repeal. Also the primary purpose of bureaucracy is the mediation of conflict on behalf of the interests of the system and such mediation is the source of stress and high levels of cognitive dissonance and require extreme levels of compartmentalization.
It goes without say that bureaucratic structures tend to be authoritarian power structures and that authoritarian power structures tend to become highly bureaucratized in function. It also goes without saying that bureaucratic organizations tend to accrete a great deal of authoritarianism into its rank structure. It promotes values of routine operational efficiency and behavioral/attitudinal conformity, as its primary functions of control, conflict mediation and preservation of the status quo of power relations are best served by these values. Shows of individuality, of independence, of internal conflict are regarded as 'rocking the boat' and threatening to the status quo of power, and are therefore demoted or persecuted as nonconformity or criminality.
Bureaucratic structures tend to become 'mediocracies' as they tend to promote mediocrity rather than talent or ability up its rank structure. Mediocre people make the best conformers who are the most routine operationally efficient and the least questioning of the ethos of their system. With the rise of mediocracy is also a rise of authoritarianism, maladaptiveness to change, organizational inflexibility and the promotion of sycophancy and blind ideology. In a mediocracy it can be bad to know too much, ask too many questions, out perform superiors, do 'too good' of a job, be overly productive or have too many talents or pre-occupations which interfere with the routine. Conformity tends to become valued above ability, and impression management becomes promoted over actual performance.
There is another hidden facet to the rise of bureaucracy. Bureaucracy serves as an official front for screens of obfuscation of opportunity and manipulation of power behind closed doors. Bureaucracy disguises the actual articulation of power through insider networks by which changes are actually mediated. The extreme degree of compartmentalization creates a whole organizational 'back region' in which laws, rules, rights, routines are routinely usurped or disregarded in order to 'get things done'.
There is a formation of a circle of deceit and a common front of routine denial. In such organizations, social relations tend to be spurious for the sake of manipulation and convenience. People in such organizations are ultimately self interested in the promotion of their own hidden or private interests via the mechanism of the system. They are the most frustrated when their own expectations are nor met and their own needs and demands are nor served. Sacrifice of their own personal identity and conformity to organizational ethos is the price they pay for membership, social status and advancement within the system. Even 'true believers' who have lost personal identity for the sake of their identification with the system are surreptitiously most selfish in their expectations of what the system will do for them. Thus the back region hides the competition, the interpersonal strife, the 'back stabbing', routine scapegoating , brown nosing and victimization which bureaucracy inevitably eventuates in.
Authoritarianism is mostly an unconscious process. This is what makes it so invidious, so transparent and invisible, and so prone to hypocritical and pretentious presumptions and so difficult to eradicate when it becomes organized into power structures. This makes authoritarianism surprisingly easy to mask and cover over and conceal from the critical scrutiny of others--unconscious authoritarianism appeals to and speak to the unconscious authoritarianism of others in a paralinguistic, contextual and symbolic dialogue which is concealed within and hidden by the conscious rationalizations which might take neutral or even authoritarian forms of discourse. Although there are manifestations or authoritarianism which are conscious, its structure predetermines behavior and thought at an unconscious and contextual level of constraint. The paradox is that authoritarians act and react guided by dictates which they themselves are at best only scarcely aware of. There is a conscious need to cover or block out or avoid this self recognition of the ethical implications of their own behavior and attitudes. This unconsciousness of authoritarianism is what confers the fascination and preoccupation with symbols of power and authority. It allows people to behave aggressively toward others without their full conscious apperceptive recognition of their own aggressiveness. Unconsciousness is the consequence of the repression and denial of the causes of authoritarianism in their own weakness and character. There is a need to appear 'strong' and 'unemotional' which covers over weakness and a subconscious cauldron of emotionality.
Within authoritarian power structures there can be whole underground networks of authoritarian discourse which goes on secretively and is even subconsciously reinforced by peoples attitudes and behaviors. The paradox is also that basically authoritarian personalities can so mask their authoritarianism with such sophistication that they appear or seem to be quite non-authoritarian on the conscious, surface level of interaction.
Secret services, covert operations, closed door policies and politics, and behind the scene manipulations and the maintenance of circles of deceit, grapevines, plants among people and ears in walls, are all sociological manifestations of the communication and collective unconscious of authoritarian power structures. Voters may be manipulated on the unconscious level and can be guided to vote according to their unconscious inclinations inspite of their conscious, rational disagreement. As authoritarians, we may know better, but feel compelled to act in authoritarian ways inspite of our conscious awareness.
Words and symbols convey messages at both the conscious and unconscious levels--messages which may be mutually contradictory or covertly complementary when the conscious manifest level is configured against a broader latent unconscious context. It is at the unconscious level that authoritarianism is typically transmitted and elaborated. While we may be entertained consciously, we may be quite unaware of the unconscious messages being conveyed which may provoke anxiety or trigger aggression.
Symbols, while mediating the conscious and unconscious levels of communication, validate or valorize unconscious vales by their juxtapositioning within conscious arrangements. Propaganda and argot typically carry unconscious loadings of authoritarian values. We may enjoy the entertainment but remain unconsciously, or subliminally aware of the stereotypes we are accepting or that are being expressed. Unconscious drives empower symbolisms, vitalizing them with importance and relevance.
Symbols may be simple and crude, or quite elaborate and sophisticated, appealing to different levels of mind, different degrees of conscious and unconscious integration. Symbolic repression is a cause of psychological disorder--people adjusted to more sophisticated symbolisms can no longer find crude symbolisms adequate to meditate the conscious and unconscious, the ego and the environmental context. The de-symbolization of downward mobility, reverse migration, marginalization, and the accompanying psychic disintegration--symbol systems once culturally relevant may no longer be adequate for one who has 'grown' out of them, who are tuned to different levels, kinds and styles of power symbolism. Symbols from past epochs and periods are usually transparent and nonfunctional in their unconscious appeal and manipulative power. They no longer mediate for us--they lack their relevant historical context and appear trite, old fashioned and out of date. They appear naïve or 'see through' and obvious. In a sense societies elaborate different forms of symbolisms to different degrees and the unconscious repressions become more sophisticated and elaborated. Movement between cultures reveals the discrepancies in the values which are symbolically reintegrated.
It is the unconsciousness of authoritarianism which makes it so difficult to identify and account for and so intractable to analysis and reform--though it may be pervasive and predominant in social environments, we may remain only marginally aware of it, and though we may strongly sense its presence, we may remain quite unable to focus upon it as a central problematic inherent to a particular social situation. Largely we lack the understanding and vocabulary by which to frame and objective understanding of authoritarianism as a psychological and social problematic or as a 'paradigm' of power.
Consciousness must uncover and reveal the unconscious ground of authoritarianism in order to exert control over it--which is the only means of getting a healthy handle upon the problem. There is a natural and normal resistance to uncovering things in the unconscious especially as it threatens the 'status quo' and awakens the insecurities which authoritarianism copes with. Authoritarianism represents a frequently predominating and overwhelming power to control the unconscious and to cause the consciousness to conceal and cover over the unconscious.
The egalitarian personality is frequently contraposed as the opposite of the authoritarian character, and yet strictly speaking egalitarianism is actually the opposite of hierarchism, but one dimension of the authoritarian complex. Egalitarianism is actually only one aspect of the non-authoritarian character. Other aspects include low level of aggressiveness, non-competitiveness, high self esteem, relative open-mindedness, a 'reality orientation' and a wide acceptance of and tolerance for interpersonal difference. Egalitarianism is not so much a personality of values held to be basic to a democratic and egalitarian society. It can often disguise a great deal of hypocrisy. It is interesting that the model of egalitarian personality is often that of an enlightened, liberal minded, Jewish college professor. Such a stereotype can often conceal a paternalism of the 'law of the father' and a 'binding over of the son' as an unconscious form of authoritarianism in which authority is viewed as a kind, gentle, firm and parental in relation to children.
There are people that are relatively free of authoritarian traits and who have a rather relaxed preoccupation with symbols of authority and power. Such people no longer need to define issues of power in social relations, with secure egos not threatened by nomothetic comparison with others, in terms of authoritarian frames of reference. They have brought to conscious awareness the unconscious dimensions of authoritarianism in their own personalities and such dimensions become visible in other people's personalities as well. Non-authoritarianism is not so much an overemphasis upon equality, if in name only, as 'egalitarianism' implies, though this is one important aspect of the non-authoritarian trait complex. Rather it is a de-emphasis upon identity and difference and a need to establish some form of reciprocal symmetry or give and take in social interrelationships. There is a tendency to deal with others in more personalistic, inter-subjective terms of idiographic personality and longitudinal experience rather than in terms of their status role identity. Status symbolisms are relative unimportant or neutral to the non-authoritarian, rather they are more in tune with the basic 'goodness' or qualities and attitudes of others as separate individual personalities, regardless of or in reference to group identity.
They do not prejudice or discriminate against others on the basis of status or appearance. These people tend to have a more idiographic orientation in their own life trajectories and in the understanding of and relating to others, rather than a categorizing framework in which they are measuring themselves and others in comparison and ranking.
Understanding others is a process of 'getting to know them'. People become interpreted against their own relational backgrounds in reference to personal life history, as they have been molded by past experiences or influenced by past events or environments. Such people may have systems of belief and entertain ideologies but they are relatively non-exclusive systems of belief--they are will to consider alternative viewpoints and to see the value of alternative orientations.
The non-authoritarian does not seek power in its dependent social form, but seeks an independence from the control of such power, and an independent form of self empowerment in terms which are self actualizing but not premised upon the domination of others. The non-authoritarian values a strong sense of normative and intellectual independence and action, and stresses a moral code of self responsibility.
Relatively few people are either extremely authoritarian or non-authoritarian, most people have aspects of their personality which are relatively authoritarian and other dimensions which are relatively non-authoritarian--and the differences in these traits varies widely between people, as do the forms of expression which such traits take. Most people are 'mixed types' for better or worse.
Being relatively non-authoritarian does not mean that such a personality is relatively unfree of the kinds of frustration and anxieties which reinforce authoritarianism. Typically the ways that such individuals learn to deal with such insecurities are fundamentally different from those coping mechanisms adopted by authoritarians. Yet it is possible that non-authoritarians are more flexible and adaptable to environmental transitions, creatively and constructively sublimating their sense of stress in ways which enhance adaptativeness and therefore are typically 'low stress' individuals.
Such individuals may function better in 'high stress' situations without the degree of regression, need for routinization or breakdown seen with authoritarians. From an ecological standpoint this would make non-authoritarians a more desirable personality orientation in the functional adaptation to environmental changes.
Genuine non-authoritarians are few and far in between in a world which is becoming increasingly stratified, stressed, bureaucratized and burdened by the problems of power. Authoritarian power structures which predominate in the world do not value highly or promote the kinds of traits exhibited by non-authoritarians. Adopting a non-authoritarian value orientation is often tantamount to self abnegation of power, status, identity, sociality or friendship in the world. It is to suffer a kind of social death in the world. On the other hand, the world is replete with authoritarians who are all trying to come out on top in the world.
EMPOWERMENT AND DEPOWERMENT
The problem of difference and inequality in the world is seen as being a problem of powerlessness with the result that 'empowerment' has become the main ideological agenda of modern reform and social movements. It is usually not recognized that the problem of powerlessness is but a complementary part of the more pervasive and important problem of power in the world, with the result that efforts to create empowerment leads down the same road to ever greater divisiveness, difference and inequality.
It also leads itself to hypocrisy as the movements which seek to 'empower' their people becomes entangled in the kind of power which subordinated and marginalized its people in the first place. They seek power for a select few as a special interest group.
The problem of power is its entangling process and its inherent corruption--social movements of the powerless in the face of power must be redirected toward the goal of 'depowerment'--the disinvestment of power in authoritarian structures and 'great organization' and its subsequent 'leveling' to a local level and decentralizing to an individual focus. Depowerment is the forsaking of the goal of 'dependent power'. It entails 'mobilization of the masses' in the sense of moving the great inertia of the collective and of tapping into the great reservoir of energy and ability of the powerless and bringing to realization the greatest potentials of their power.
IDEOLOGY AND POWER
Power centers world view. World view symbolizes and expresses power in the world. Ideology is the self fulfillment of power in the world. It is the making of power in the world according to world view. It is the logos which relationships of power and world view are founded. Ideology as a symbol system articulating power and expressing world view forms a mythology, a belief system of collective representation which centers reality by valorizing, naturalizing and consummating certain symbolisms with supernatural and super organic authority. Ideology transcends reality by attempting to step outside the natural influence of change.
WORLD VIEW AND POWER
World view is a consequence and a cause of the psychology of power. The corrupting nature of power must be seen in terms of the psychological origins and consequences of world view. World view shares in the paradox of power, and world view is a manifestation of empowerment in the world. It simultaneously liberates us and limits our liberation by situating us. World view as the psychological expression of power in the world is inseparably linked to power and becomes inevitably associated with its corrupting tendencies.
Part of the psychology of power and the key characteristic of world view is its 'totalizing' sense of order--it fosters the illusion of comprehending the total order and final nature of human reality. This totalizing sense of order in the world, which is complete, does not require other justification, and leads to a sense of 'totalitarianism'--a totalizing world view which maintains complete control and refuses to recognize and as a consequence suppresses, all other possible world views. It is not too much to suggest that a totalitarian world view and a psychological of totalitarianism is strongly associated with a totalitarian world order. It is in this sense of totality that absolute evil is to be found.
WORLD VIEW AND WORLD ORDER
People have long debated whether a certain world view leads to a kind of world order, or that world order will lead to a world view. It is enough to recognize that any kind of world order will be associated with a certain kind of predominant world view. Other perspectives may be available but the predominant world view will find the greatest degree of validation in the world, whether it is true or false, good or bad, healthy or diseased.
It remains to be asked that if our current world order is an evil empire, then what is the character of the world view that is most strongly associated with it, how can this world view be accounted for by relations in the world, and how can such a world view be used to rationalize and legitimate evil in the world, and also how is such a world view promoted or inculcated within the character of people which leads to the perpetuation of the dominant world order.
It may also be argued that there is not one single world order or a single predominant world view, but there are actually several which are competing or which dialectically cohere to form a dynamically self organizing world system. If this is so, then it makes no sense to speak of a single world view, but of several, and then it becomes necessary to outline the difference and interconnected between them and to demonstrate how they cohere to form a single dynamic world system.
It may also be the case that if and where evil genuinely exists, it is not an inherent part of such a system, but an inadvertent but inevitable outcome of its psycho-social dynamics, an unintended by product of its functioning and transmission. But evil is defined by its intentionality, or at least its intentional failure of responsibility. So the question of evil and world view requires a second, closer examination in order to better understand that if there is indeed evil in the world, then how does it become rationalized and how does it structure and become structured by the world evil.
It may also be the case that the world system being a self organizing and self regulating one composed of multiple orders and models, is in a sense a natural outcome of certain pre-dispositions, past orientations and future ward directions of development, of which no one is really in control or responsible for, and which would have like come into place whatever our intentions or irresponsibilities. If this is so then we may have no other choice than to tolerate and learn to live with its unintended evil consequences and to try to device means by which we can minimize its evil effects.
Whatever the case may really be, world view remains something important to be reckoned with, not just as a global perspective or general orientation, but as a model for belief and behavior, a predominant and pervasive attitude, inherent psychology and process of socialization and transmission. It is a paradigm of power. It also has certain implications of moral, ethical and existential efficacy which require examination.
It is not too far fetched to understand how evil can organize itself on a global scale in the structure of multiple authoritarian power structures. And it is not too unbelievable to see how such a world organization of evil can be accomplished ideologically in the name of preventing evil through the security of world order--how it can promote a world view illusion of the efficacy and moral legitimacy of its own promotion of power and the use of force in the name of its peace, order, prosperity and protection of individual liberties and freedoms.
There is little question that a world order can be established by an evil empire. The important question is whether or not alternative world order can be achieved without authoritarian power structures and if so, then how. Evil flourishes in the absence of moral order--it entails a corruption and perversion of morality for the purposes of power. If world order is achieved prematurely in a world which is morally unprepared then it must be an order of evil founded upon the efficacy of power and the bureaucratic bankruptcy of a common humanity.
THE POWER OF PEACE
It is time to learn to recognize and to cultivate within ourselves an alternative kind of power that does not depend upon the efficacy of violence. This is the power of peace that comes from patience, from the healing of time, and from the regenerative capacity of the earth and of our own human nature to forgive and forget. The power of peace lies within a state of powerlessness--forsaking the preoccupation and pursuits of power and seeking instead an independent form of power existing independently within our own unique personalities. We must learn the value of living peacefully with ourselves, with our neighbors, with our environments and with our earth. We must take care to pay heed to all the troubles within ourselves and outside of ourselves which cause us to seek to control the worlds, and we must learn to resolve these troubles in a peaceful way, by learning to live with them in an uncontrollable world.
THE PACIFIST PARADIGM
The pacifist paradigm challenges all our paradigms of power and the power of paradigm with an alternative kind of 'unpower'. The paradox of the pacifist paradigm is that it is 'anti-paradigmatic' in the conventional sense of 'world view'. It is the dialectical counterpoint to or paradigmatic realities--of patterns, models and examples, yet outside of patterns, models and examples. It is meta-paradigmatic and thus transcends the problematics of paradigm through its synthesis of realities.
Its synthesis of realities comes from its keen sense and valuation of difference in the world, and the ability to transcend this difference through compromise and integration. It remains always one step ahead of the Difference of differences.
The power of the pacifist paradigm is the potentiality of people unfettered by the shackles of fear and blindness. It is the paramount paradigm of our children. It is the infinite question mark and the eternal answer.
Blanket Copyright, Hugh M. Lewis, © 2005. Use of this text governed by fair use policy--permission to make copies of this text is granted for purposes of research and non-profit instruction only.
Last Updated: 08/17/06