4.2 The Basis of SOCIAL & CULTURAL

Systems, Structures & Constructs

This article examines the formation and development of

social systems and structures.

" What experience and history teach is this—that people and governments have
never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might
have drawn from it."........... Hegel

"History is about us - how we got this way. The second bad answer to why we
must study History is to make us aware and proud of our past. This is bad History
because it renders us ethnocentric - the notion that we are the best nation on
earth in all respects. This makes us blind to our faults. It doesn't make us good
citizens."........James Loewen

 

4.2.1 THE BASIS OF SOCIAL STRUCTURES

"Society is now one polish'd horde,
Form'd of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored.
"
.............Lord Byron

When the words "social system or construct" or structure is used here it invariably means
here a post-tribal and post-shamanic society having organized physical structures like
towns and cities as the epicenters of their development.

"For man seeketh in society comfort, use, and protection."........Francis Bacon

To understand the workings of a society or cultural system and their resultant structures or
constructs, it is essential first of all to comprehend the basic workings of the mind of man 
and this is  comprehensively covered in the preceding articles of  'Personal  Validity'.   For
society is, in a way, a collective reflection of the minds that make up that society. Thus as
the basic function of the mind is to seek a  state of maximized satisfaction with as much
safety and security as possible, so does a society also reflect this process, but in a more
amplified manner. Social and cultural structures are built upon this desire to have a stable
and secure environment  and  this is something that no member of any society opposes,
unless someone sees beyond the social patterns of behavior and where they are leading
the society to, and thus perceives a defect or danger that will lead to future problems,
and then attempts to convey or warn the other members of it.

"The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of
 the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it"
......John Updike

How the others respond will depend entirely upon the communicating power of the
individual, the fluidity of the value system of the society as well as the quality of the
social communication technology ( the artistic
as well as the rational usage of
its language).

" With the loss of tradition, we have lost the thread which safely guided us
through the vast realms of the past, but this thread was also the chain
fettering each successive generation to a pre-determined aspect
of the past "........Hannah Arendt

 

All social systems are founded on the basis of conformity and agreement to established
norms to be followed by the individuals, and in return the individual gets the much
needed security of life, without which a social system cannot function. 

And so,
conformity is the central pillar of social structures

"The opposite of courage is conformity" - Unknown

"When great changes occur in history, when great principles are
involved, as a rule the majority are wrong. The minority are right."
............Eugene Victor Debs

"Durkheim argued that social facts have, sui generis, an independent existence
 greater and more objective than the actions of the individuals that compose society.
Being exterior to the individual person, social facts may thus also exercise coercive
 power on the various people composing society, as it can sometimes be observed
 in the case of formal laws and regulations, but also in phenomena such as church
practices or family norms. Unlike the facts studied in natural sciences, a "social"
fact thus refers to a specific category of phenomena: it consists of ways of acting,
thinking, feeling, external to the individual and endowed with a power of coercion,
by reason of which they control him. According to Durkheim, these phenomena
cannot be reduced to biological or psychological grounds." ....Wikipedia

"If you are talking what they talk, writing what they write, in short, obeying
relations of power, then you are educated - Nietzsche saw this as conformity
and not connected with truth"
……..Rick Roderick ( TTC –  Nietzsche and the Post-Modern Condition)

But mere conformity to a social order
itself devours the  creativity of individuals, 
and so a rigid and strictly codified structure is
bound to decay and degenerate,
 ultimately leading to its corruption, that then leads to a
degenerate or destructive
 path, and which case it becomes, is dependent upon its
esteemed values (or lack of).
 At the same time, a flexible structure is vulnerable to be hijacked by greedy and

ambitious persons under the garb  of  progress and development or under the pretext
of danger to security, which easily gets the support of the majority since ordinary
 people are prone to be misled.

"Politics sets those boundary conditions and the necessary conditions within
which human beings can pursue things - like a good life for themselves"

……..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values

While social structures should ideally provide for the development and promotion of able,
creative and moral people, it should  also have safeguards against negatively creative, or
destructive  individuals.  This is far easier said than done for it needs  something that is
always in short supply  - moral power, which is so easily devoured by its opposing force -
greed.  Now greed is also necessary as  a driving motivation for accomplishing many
constructive things for most people, but it always comes down to where the line is drawn,
if at all, and redrawn, if at all, and if no line is drawn and adhered to then there is no limit
to which greed can go to and  eventually destroy everything in its path.   It must also be
kept in mind that greed is one of the cornerstones of social structures, since people gang
  up  ( "agreed"  can be looked on as "a greed" here for most societies )  on  the basis of
perceived benefits in terms  of "evolution"  to  every  member ( a sophisticated word
for greed ).

"From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where
to find ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond
all it can attain.".............Emile Durkheim

"Much of human civilization has been built upon economic motivations  upon
which people were culturally unaware. People in civilizations were economically
motivated, but culture made them unaware of these motives. This is one simple
 way to put Karl Marks's skeptical arguments. A way to look at Nietzsche's
arguments could be to frame them in terms of the state - motivated by
principles of power but unaware to where they were rooted".

……..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values)

" There is no History that leads from slavery to freedom, but there is  History
that leads from the the sling shot to the megaton bomb." ...Adorno.

 

4.2.2 INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY

" The pure and abstract philosophy, like Hegel's, is a sign of absent-
mindedness, merely a symptom of a broader social illness - ominously
present in 'The Public' - that abstract entity that is both powerful and
 invisible. 'The Public' is not a people, not a generation, not one's age,
not a congregation, not an association, not some particular persons -
for all these are what they are only by being concretions. 'The Public'
is all and nothing - the dangerous of all powers and most meaningless.
One may speak to a whole nation in the name of
'The Public'
, and yet, 'The Public' is less than the
 ONE ever-so-insignificant actual human being."
.......Soren Kierkegaard

WEB INT 2015: By 'the crowd' or 'the public' Kierkegaard means those set of people in a society
 who have no individuality of their own and are merely and blindly following the norms of the society
 or it's religious doctrines, and one of the examples he gives is the 'crowd' of Christendom - blind
followers of the doctrines of Christianity - which doesn't mean each and every person born in
Christian parents, but those who have no action or experience worthy of being called Christian.
The life of Jesus is itself an example of how he as an existing individual was pitted against the
rigid authorities of Judaism who lived their lives only according to the doctrines of that religion
 and rigid application of their 'laws'.
Therefore Kierkegaard concludes that 'the crowd' is untruth, meaning that the truth is 'lived' individually,
 and that 'the crowd' actually is a 'worthy adversary' to the truth. The genuine individual is always in
adversarial relation to 'the crowd', and the creativity of the individual arises out of this fundamental
conflict between the individual and 'the crowd'.
However, social institutions that are truly liberal, are ideally complimentary to the individual and
 these are true counterparts, that is, they both enhance or denigrate each other's development.
 

"In social institutions, the whole is always less than the sum of its parts.
There will never be a state as good as its people, or a church worthy of

its congregation, or a university equal to its faculty and students."
............Edward Abbey

"The great creative individual. . . is capable of more wisdom and virtue
 than collective man ever can be"............John Stuart Mill

"In the republic of mediocrity genius is dangerous." -Robert G. Ingersoll

"All the dialogs of Plato allude in one way or another of the tension between
the philosopher and his political community, between the life lived in the light
of the sun and the life lived in the semidarkness of the cave, between the
truth and conventional opinion."........TTC Bartlett

The ultimate goal of any society is primarily - Liberty, which is creating social institutions which
enable individuals to express and attain their potential so that they are able in turn to enhance those
 institutions. In other words the first and foremost goal of society is to maximize freedom of the
 individual.
 The primary institutions are those of Justice, law and order so that the liberty so granted is not
abused by an individual. The secondary goals are those of Fraternity and Equality - but these are
unattainable without the primary goal. The most important relationship in a social setup, therefore,
is that between the individual and the social system or construct, that is, to what extent does the
social system as an institution support individual creativity and
empowerment to further enhance
 the quality and efficiency of the institutions of the system.  Therefore, the individual  entity

versus the social institutions as the counter entity is the crucial relationship that enhances
and also inhibits each other's development.  And without a balanced system that is led by
creative individuals,  a social structure cannot sustain and once it starts slipping, there is
no knowing where it ends up. Leadership is thus the key. Redefined this way, the ultimate
challenge of a society is to recognize and promote leaders that have vision.

"The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which
were invaluable at first and deadly afterwards."..........Walter Bagehot

"Revolutionary movements attract those who are not good enough for established
institutions as well as those who are too good for them."....G B Shaw

Anyway, social structures build up and degenerate because these eventually devour more
of the moral power of human beings than regenerate it,  and it is this aspect alone that
determines how far a society goes before it self destructs.  The key therefore is how well
a society can promote creative people,  and effectively handles,  without  suppression,
  people with a destructive bent, that is,  how its system utilizes productively the power of
persons with a destructive disposition. ( for example, sport rather than war as a basis for
physical competitiveness ) 

"A good man can be stupid and still be good. But a bad man
must have brains".......Maxim Gorky

The ideal alternative is that social structures should have individual creativity, not greed, as
the foundation for ganging up or hanging together,  so that it is these creative individuals
that then build up on a base where the basic dignity of all life is assured, and responsibility
towards the environment  is the highest good, that is, actions that contribute towards
  giving back more to the environment than is taken from it, the most righteous of all
actions. Unless these values are inculcated in the educational system of a society, no
lasting progress is possible.

"The whole art of politics consists in directing rationally the irrationalities of men."
.........Reinhold Niebuhr"

It  may be argued  that all systems  and  structures  are bound  to  ultimately decay and
degenerate, and this is true,  but just  holding a great value  for this truth cannot be the
basis for undertaking  anything  meaningful in the realm of life,  for to undertake anything
meaningful is to first having to believe in it. While the basis of long term Reality is constant
 change of waxing and waning of social and cultural structures, it is in the short term and
immediate aspect of Reality that provides for meaningful thought, action and creativity or
else one tends to become a recluse, hermit or monk.

"No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it.
It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership
 composed of average human beings." - Peter Drucker

“Excess of liberty, whether it lies in state or individuals, seems only
 to pass into excess of slavery.”
―Plato
 

4.2.3 THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY

"Organization can never be a substitute for initiative and for judgment."...L. Brandeis

"The ultimate aim of government is not to rule or restrain by fear - not to exact
obedience, but on the contrary to free every man from fear so that he can live in
the greatest possible security. In other words, to strengthen his natural right to
exist and go about his business without injury to himself or to others.
The true aim of government is liberty" ...Spinoza

Meaningfulness always comes from individuals, not systems or institutions. The purpose of
Institutions  is to provide for the efficient availability of resources for the development of
exceptional individuals, not for promoting masses of monotonous robots that just serve to
maintain status quo which then stifles creative expression.  This holds true for all kinds of
institutions, whether these are religious or educational or social or political or scientific or
technological. So it is not only that individuals are to be taught to be responsible towards
society and environment but society too has to be collectively responsible for the
development of each of its individuals, whether they are ordinary or exceptional.
Whereas ordinary individuals will  invariably fit well  by themselves into established
social roles and vocations, it is the exceptional individuals that eventually provide for the
dynamic inputs to a social order, and so the existing norms are crucial in terms of how
well they have  provided room for or handling exceptional individuals, because exceptional
individuals can be creative or destructive, there being a thin dividing line between the two.
In general, any system or  institution is only as good as insofar it   manages  to utilize the
destructive potential of its individuals in a constructive manner, without suppressing the
potential of creative individuals.

"My ideal is a society full of responsible men and women who show solidarity
to those who can't keep up.".........Jacques Delors

“The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse
into greatness....This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs;
when he first appears he is a protector.”
―Plato

 

4.2.4 SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS

"The hallmark of our age is the tension between aspirations and
sluggish institutions"....John Gardner

"To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and
 the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way,
 the servant of the others".......Pope John Paul II

"The natural distribution is neither just nor unjust; nor is it unjust that
persons are born into society at some particular position. These are
simply natural facts. What is just and unjust is the way that institutions
deal with these facts." ........John Rawls

The most important institution in a society is no doubt the family and the founding deeply
ingrained beliefs of any individual are those that are acquired from those people that are
closest. Thus the parents are the real teachers, whose values are so easily mimicked by
their off-springs. Sadly, the more advanced a society, technologically, the lesser the
role
and interaction of the parents, thus the main learning then in technological societies is
that which is acquired
in school, the second most important social institution. Here not 
only are most of the social norms and mannerisms taught and programmed, but also the
 role of peers plays a crucial part. A lot of what we like
and dislike comes from the kind of
company one is exposed to (or chooses) and here choices made play a critical role for
  the rest of one's life, because it is at this stage that the pressure to make choices in
terms of carrier, vocation, goals, etc, become  prominent  and these are the  decisions
 that become almost irreversible.
This is also the time that one discovers what are the fields that one has  a predilection or
talent for.  Once again we see that this factor is so easily overlooked by the teachers and
parents  alike  and  for  most  part  all   kids  are treated  to  the  same  kind   of useless
programming  with  superfluous  emphasis  upon science and mathematics that for most
people turn out to be a waste of time, resources and even worse, takes them away from
what they may actually have a talent for. Education as it is today, for most part ends up
suppressing individual uniqueness, inspiration, creativity, free expression, self-development,
natural instincts and talents ; and instead promotes conformity, rote learning, machine like
behavior and thinking, subservience to and worship of data and fixed knowledge whose
validity is never to be questioned.

"The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural
 strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures
 called an education".....John Updike

Education should be oriented towards bringing out the Will and uniqueness of each and
every individual, rather than turning everyone into duplicate copies of a presumed ideal
human being (A super - scientist ?). The very concept of education implies that no fixed
standards, no fixed and predetermined goals can be imposed by a society upon the
members of that society. The goal of education should therefore be to enhance and
encourage the creative potential of every being and also to expose or at least to make
aware of the destructive potential in every one of us.  Once the educational institutions
fail to do this, all other so called higher institutions will also succumb to the resulting
malaise.

All  other  social  institutions more or less reflect,  as well as are, offshoots of the  learning
institutions, and like them end up  eventually functioning only to maintain their status quo,
irrespective  of  where it leads to and the long term  costs to the environment. The world
then is nobody's baby to be cared for, and a race takes place to somehow quit the planet,
  to establish  a colony  on the moon, or mars maybe, so that  a few can live happily ever
after. Or if all goes well,  and  technology becomes more  and more  powerful,  then just
  colonize  the entire  universe.  Such are the beliefs that prevail in this age of reason, that
absurdities abound.

4.2.5 THE FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS

"Because intellectual capital measurement is not confined to business but is likely
to be the first universal measurement tool for all human institutions—we will be
able to construct a more valuable society.".
...........Michael S. Malone

The social institutions should be founded on an intellectual platform which first
of all must have its  own  foundations  purged of personal and cultural egotism.
When the very foundations of a philosophy  or  understanding has been  based
upon cleverly  and deceptively hidden falsehoods and inherently bad principles,
any subsequently developed structures of understanding over and above these
bad premises will only lead to further and further deception of entire societies
or  cultures  of  people.  Those  falsehoods, over time, become invisible to the
society  and  culture,  but  still  actively  operate,  hidden  by  the  developing 
philosophies, religion, science and technology.  A structure that is rotten from
within its deepest core.  Like a termite infested  wooden  house. And one day
the structure cannot sustain any longer its own weight...

"Freedom lies beyond phenomena and beyond human arrangements. The State is
hardly directed against egoism in general - on the contrary it arose through egoism
and exists only to further it - for egoism is best aware where its interests lie.
It proceeds methodically forsaking the narrowly individual point of view in favor
of the universal point of view - thus becoming the common egoism of all.
The State is therefore created in the understanding that its citizens will not behave
morally - that is, choose to act in the right way, for moral reasons, that is, for the
good of all. For if this were the case, there would be no need of the State in the
first place. So the State which is intended for the well being of its citizens is not
directed against egoism in general - it is only directed against the multiplicity of
of particular egoisms and their deleterious effects on the collective egoism."
...............Schopenhauer

"No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking
for sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test
them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power."
..............P. J. O'Rourke

 

“Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated
form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty.”
―Plato



 

4.2.6 The development of Cultures

"Writing History is a matter of making choices - from the vast amounts
 of records or already written accounts - a certain amount of choice
 has thus already been made for you, because you can only write about
 a past that has already been written about. But human beings tend to
 scatter records and evidence almost
as promiscuously as litter. This
 may sound surprising to those of who may think that History is full
 of unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions. The truth is that
  more often than not written History is like a feast - too many solutions
 - not enough mysteries, too many answers and not enough questions.
 Managing the feast requires action on your part, not merely passive
 reception. It requires that you possess that you at the very least some
 active but subjective qualities. Like insight or empathy or previous
 knowledge of such experiences. Managing the feast may require some
 higher ideological commitments as well. You even have to choose what
 to call an event if you want to write about it.
 History writing is defined as a humanistic, prose narrative
 of events, based upon systematic inquiry into words, deeds,
 ideas, conflicts, and sufferings which occurred in the past and
 which have left verifiable evidentiary trails in the present."
......Allen Guelzo ( TTC- History )

"It is the narrative that I am interested in telling. As Tony Judd said
in his essay: 'History needs a story, a story needs a narrator, and a
narrator has to be standing somewhere. In other words, the view from
nowhere doesn't work.' Once the theme is chosen, the position of the
narrator also shapes the outcome of the story.
We are back to the question of not only where we come from,
but (also) where we are going to."....Pamela Radcliff

 

The  role that culture plays in our behavior is not so immediately apparent but has even
more  long term and deep rooted connections than society. Since human life developed
as distinct cultures in different parts of the world, reality was also differently understood,
and  constructs about reality therefore also varied greatly in different  cultures.  Initially
however, all constructs had certain similarities, particularly as far as the mythical beliefs
are concerned.  Most cultures start as tribal societies that are led by the shaman of the
tribe, whereby the  shaman fulfills  the   role  of  healer,  advisor,  leader and spiritual
interpreter,  a link of that tribe with the Spirit or Intent of the world.  A  shaman is one
who seeks, interprets and acts upon the commands of the Spirit, and understands that
the Spirit, being not a physical manifestation, cannot and should not be institutionalized.

 "It was not, then, wholly from ignorance or improvidence that he failed to establish
permanent towns and to develop a material civilization.  To the untutored sage,
the concentration of population was the prolific mother of all evils, moral no less
 than physical. He argued that food is good, while surfeit kills; that love is good, but
 lust destroys; and not less dreaded than the pestilence following upon crowded
 and unsanitary dwellings was the loss of spiritual power inseparable from too
close contact with one's fellow-men.
All who have lived much out of doors know
 that there is a magnetic and nervous force that accumulates in solitude and that is
quickly dissipated life in a crowd; and even his enemies have recognized the fact
that for a certain innate power and self-poise, wholly independent of
circumstances, the American Indian is unsurpassed among men."
........Eastman ( The Soul of The Indian)


Therefore shamanic societies do not go for an organized lifestyle of town and city type of
structured  society,  but remains  basically as a tribal culture that  lives in harmony with
nature without formal and structured institutions.  A  tribal  society  however, has myths,
stories and legends about their origins and the forces of nature, but these in a shamanic
society  are neither  taken as hard and fast truths nor are they worshiped as such in an
 institutionalized and ritualistic manner as seen in organized societies where religion
 becomes almost purely a matter of ritual.

The weakening of the power of the shaman means that a process of  institutionalization,
  hierarchical and  structured  social  system begins to take place. This weakening of the
  shaman's power in societies takes place primarily when the  shaman is unable to control
and balance the  moral  acts  of the  members of the society of which the  shaman is a
leader. The shaman may be challenged by a member and a member of lesser caliber
takes over control of the tribe as also one of the reasons.  In any case, a tribe becomes
post shamanic when their shaman's power and authority is depleted and the shaman is
unable to train another shaman or be able to sustain this power after death back into
the tribe. From this arises a hierarchical social structure where the priest now takes the
role of the shaman, and having more of a formal and ritualistic role and less of a
connection with the Spirit, does wield authority, but without the power and spirit of a
shaman. The myths become more like absolute truths to be worshiped and upheld. The
establishment of a social hierarchy that is perpetuated by the vested interest of certain
sections of society signals the beginning of a cycle of immorality from which a society
may never be able to recover from. Rituals are initiated
in temples and institutions, which
instead of promoting unique individuals, become instruments in the hands of privileged
  people who will use any method and means to perpetuate their unchallenged status and
privileges and to ensure their retention in their off-springs. A stratification of society into
classes and castes takes place in which human beings are classified according to their
birth ( family background ), skin color, physical features, racial background etc.
Another notable feature of a developing post-shamanic culture is the domination of
the man over the woman in all aspects of society and social institutions, even in the
trivial matters of the family.
 

"If civilization is to advance at all in the future, it must be through the help of
women, women freed of their political shackles, women with full power to work
their will in society."'.........Emmeline Pankhurst

"Thus far, women have been the mere echoes of men. Our laws and constitutions,
 our creeds and codes, and the customs of social life are all of masculine origin.
The true woman is as yet a dream of the future." ....Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 

The other narrative of a society becoming post-shamanic is by being overrun by an
invading civilization which has far more physical prowess in terms of technology or
manpower. The most glaringly obvious example of this is the conquest of the new
world by the Europeans, where many tribal societies became suddenly post-shamanic
and were either completely decimated or the shock to the remaining members
was such that it was found that they could not be 'assimilated' into the so called
mainstream civilization. The fact that very very few of the native people could
be enslaved by the invaders, and had to be almost exterminated, is indicative
of the 'shamanic' tribal culture of most of the five-hundred nations in the
Americas of that time.

[A rare positive fusion of different cultures seems to have taken place in the Americas around the time
indicated (aprox 14000), which has been sustained in many autonomous tribal nations - evident from
 the fact that no social-stratification occurred in most of the societies of the broader composite culture
 that developed, whereas social-stratification which leads to degeneration of human values is a hallmark
 of civilizations around the world.]....Hpost

 

4.2.7 POST SHAMANIC CULTURES

"General conceptions of a spiritual nature are indispensable constituents of a psychic
life. We can point them out among all people whose level of consciousness makes
them in some degrees articulate. Their relative absence or their denial by a civilized
people is therefore to be regarded as a sign of degeneration."......Jung

That  factor  of human  greed  that  the  shaman  has kept in  balance and control now
becomes  more prominent. The tribe instead of maintaining its balance and relationship
with  nature  shows  tendencies  to  expand  and  grow into larger numbers occupying
greater  areas  of  land.  Initially, if wars were waged between tribes due to perceived
threats,  misconduct  or moral  reasons,  now  the   wars  get  waged  in order to gain
resources,  land  and then  eventually  to   dominate and turn into slaves the people of
other tribes.  The exploitation of man and nature, by man, is the first step towards the
development  of  organization  and  structure of society into a hierarchy in which human
inequality  is the foundation stone. This structure then develops institutions in order to
control society. A system of rational knowledge  (which was earlier intuitive) develops in
which  certain doctrines, beliefs  and  ordered knowledge  is  taught and inducted into
others  to follow.  In many cultures like Greek, Roman and Hindu cultures, myths,
concepts about and forces of nature become personified as gods, deities and demons.
  A  bifurcation into myths and systematic knowledge takes place. Religion and science
take root as institutions which were earlier one and the same and non- institutionalized.
The function of these is to  perpetuate, expand or consolidate the order so created. The
 second function is to dominate other societies,  even if by force,  to create empires and
kingdoms.  Such a consolidation  of  societies   having  some common mythos or similar
deeply  engrained  beliefs  can  be called  a   culture.  Every  culture  develops  its  own
rationality: a systematic understanding of  the world and its processes, the various forces
of nature etc.  Since the rational process is a linear understanding of the world, based
upon cause - effect  relationships  ( or the   generalizations of perceived  causes),  every
culture  develops a somewhat different understanding and conceptualization of reality :
the rationality of that culture.

"It is important to see that there is a connection between these modes of beliefs
( philosophies like epicurean or stoic ) and the social or historical  conditions to
 which people are actually responding to when they form these beliefs."
……..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values )

4.2.8 TECHNOLOGICAL CULTURES AND THE RISE OF NATIONALISM

"If there is a technological advance without a social advance, there is, almost
automatically, an increase in human misery"......Michael Harrington

Initially, all cause-effect generalizations are based upon presumed causes whose sources
are not  clear  and  so  the  simplest   rationalizations  are  based  upon myths and stories.
 However,  with  the  development  of  the   physical  sciences, the older myths, seemingly
useless, are  discarded by the culture,  and eventually the physical sciences overtake and
suppresses any other understanding and also other cultures that persist with their mythos.
  The  clarity  of  many "discoveries" of cause-effect relationships  makes the dominance of
the physical  sciences  so  complete  that it  becomes an unquestioned presumption that
  the  material  reality is all there is to the whole and essence of reality. No other viewpoint
is admitted  as valid, since no one  can prove to the satisfaction of all scientists that the
physical is not all of reality.

Anyone who uses words like Spirit, Shaman, etc is ridiculed as primitive, superstitious and
irrational.  The nature of the Spirit is such that someone who has none of it can have no
conception of its existence,  let alone its meaning and function as the essence of reality.

It  should be clearly understood that the foundations of cultures having organized social
structures are laid when it becomes  post-shamanic and loses its connecting link with the
Spirit.  There  may come  spurts when  a person in such a society  does  momentarily
establish this link  and as a result point out the  social faults and shortcomings that are
 leading  the  culture  and  societies downhill morally.  But even if such a person is able to
convince a large section of the society about its faults, any changes usually turn out to be
cosmetic or superficial, and eventually  incorporated into existing institutions  and  people
more  or less revert  back  to their old ways,  with  a few  more  blocks added to the old
  structures. In any case, developments, advances in rational based knowledge: science
and its application in technology creates an illusion that the  culture  and its societies are
  evolving into a higher state of existence than the primitive man, since an organized
society offers many benefits, comforts and security than a tribal life. Now it would be an
actual evolution if the culture has been able to retain its Spirit along with developments in
physical  terms or at least develop a moral order in which reckless exploitation of humans
and nature does  not  take  place  and   the  destructive  tendencies have a natural non-
destructive outlet.  But  this can only happen in cultures in which there is a high value for
people who are capable of providing a direction and creative inputs into society by which
limits  (rules)  are  defined  to  which  extent   its  members  are  allowed  to  go.  The
fundamentals  of  these limits are those in which the basic dignity of all life in its natural
balance is cared for and a system of dispensing effective justice is in place.

"In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers
justice among men who conduct their own affairs.".......Walter Lippmann

 “Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first
it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.”
―Plato
 

This failure of justice in civilizations in general, leads to clusters of people forming what
are known as nations. This is more sophisticated form of sub-societies than the feudal
societies, but no less dangerous. Essentially the same old story of exploitation, capturing
and acquiring resources by war or coercion takes place, but with a a more sophisticated
manner of justifying of all kinds of unethical actions against other nations or within the
nation by the elite in the socially stratified classes or castes. Competition among nations
is more often in the form of taking undue advantage, deception, trickery or outright
intimidation or coercion. Just as in the Feudal system, there are so called 'allies' and
'enemies', de-facto vassal nations, puppet nations, banana republics and so on.
Control by governments and suppression of dissenting opinions  are often exercised in
the name of patriotism and nationalism. Even in democracies, minorities or minority
opinions, ideas, ideologies are brushed aside by a brute majority, even though some
ideas may be good for all but don't suit the ruling elite. Vested interests as a rule
rather than exception, become entrenched in the system, and subvert it for their
own benefits, to the long term detriment of the entire society.

"I want to make a distinction between patriotism and nationalism. It was Fredrick
Douglas who said 'I call him a patriot who rebukes his country for it's sins and does
not excuse them'. Nationalism on the other hand is this kind of thinking: 'My country,
right or wrong, I am in favor of America, no matter what'.
Those who argue for nationalistic history text books, on the one hand want a
text book that describes their country as without any faults, without repression,
without any conflicts, on the other hand they believe that we need to lie to students
in order to instill in them love of country. I mean if the country is so wonderful, what
is there to lie about? Surely in a democracy, a historian's duty is to tell the truth.
Surely in a democracy, students need to develop informed reactions to what goes on,
which means informed reasons to criticize our country, as well as to take pride in it.
Surely we haven't given up on democracy, have we?

....James W Loewen - Everything You've Been Taught Is Wrong : Fact, Fiction,
and Lies in American History

4.2.9 THE RELIGION - MYSTICISM CULTURES

"Compassion is not a sloppy, sentimental feeling for people who are underprivileged
or sick...it is an absolutely practical belief that, regardless of a person's background,
ability or ability to pay, he should be provided with the best that society has to offer."
............Neil Kinnock

The  real trouble lies in the development of certain fixed doctrines, or sets of beliefs that
are rigidly followed (and induce others to follow) by the key people or religious leaders
or priests, only to perpetuate their own status without any risk to themselves. This leads
to their lack of power to stop widespread  wrong doings by the members of their society,
and so these wrong doings eventually tend to get justified. Rather than dispensing justice,
this  justification  process  becomes  the  foundation  of  the  society  and  eventually, the
culture's philosophy. Theories and sophisticated explanations are  sought  to cover up the
heinous  acts of past and present, as if by providing a satisfactory excuse, all wrongs can
be obliterated  from their conscience. This only makes these faults get buried deeper and
deeper  into  the collective  psyche of the culture,  and so more easily passed on to every
generation until  the day the price has to be collectively paid.  When  the most obvious of
wrongs  are glossed  over  or  justified under some pretext or excuse or put on the back
burner,  a society  is only digging itself into a hole that will only  get  deeper and deeper,
and eventually there is no getting out of this hole.

"Wrongdoing can only be avoided if those who are not wronged feel the same
indignation at it as those who are."....Solon
(Greek statesman)

"Once a great wrong has been done, it never dies. People speak the words
of peace, but their hearts do not forgive. Generations perform ceremonies
of reconciliation but there is no end"............Paule Marshall


This happens when a fundamental wrong doing, instead of being dealt with by dispensing
justice, instead is covered up with justifications, then the resultant attitudes and values of
the  society tends  to repeat  and replicate the same wrong doings and justifications on a
broader and broader scale. In a manner of speaking, the unchecked wrong doings
 spreads a wide net of an infection of wrong attitudes that progresses to a sub-consciously
operating cultural mind set,  wherein sophisticated philosophies are conjured up only to
divert and camouflage a growing immorality that is plainly obvious to a person outside of 
all cultural baggage. This unwillingness to examine and acknowledge that a huge mistake
was made way back in time by a culture's forefathers is a symptom of a culture's
lost moral power.

"Society...prepares crimes; criminals are only the instruments necessary
for executing them."................ Jacques Quételet

Unfortunately,  even  this   is  not  realized  and  the  unchecked  wrong doings grow into a
gigantic structure of lies and deception that traps the entire culture within it. This growing
immorality  manifests  and  camouflages  itself behind two divergent kind of amoral ways
- science and mysticism.

"Thus, the more we know, the more we sense the possibilities of our technology,
and the more we realize the gigantic, dangerous gap between our enhanced
productive capacities, and our primitive, unconscious and ultimately destructive
 social organization. This is the objective thread that weaves the growing
connectedness of social revolts, local and global, defensive and offensive,
issue oriented and value oriented, emerging in and around the environmental
 movement."....Manuel Castells

Two kinds of divergent cultural philosophies and ways of living emerge. In the first
type, the highest value is  for the "evolution" of  physical sciences and its application -
technology.  In the other, the highest value is for "personal evolution" - or "mysticism " in
which the end all of existence is to escape the existential domain itself ( to break the cycle
of life and death, so to speak). In both the resultant societies one common thing emerges
- a growing social immorality and reckless exploitation of nature and man, to which the
societies are oblivious ( first type ) or uncaring ( second type ).


One type holds technological evolution to be the ultimate human accomplishment and the
other  type  holds  personal  evolution or enlightenment - a state of supreme bliss as the
ultimate  in human  accomplishment, which is presumed to be a unification with God or
whatever. One is ignorant and therefore careless about the imminent destruction of the
  world, the other cares even less because for them the world is an illusion, since they are
already  in  God's domain,  and therefore destruction also an illusion,  and  so although
inevitable but unimportant. One extreme is drowning in the arrogance of scientific
knowledge, oblivious of its destructive  nature,   and the  other extreme dwells in the
apathetic mysticism in which the end is an escape or denial of life itself ! ( the so called
breaking the cycle of life, death and rebirth)

"We must reject a privatization of religion which results in its reduction to
being simply a matter of personal salvation."..............Robert Runcie

None of them takes responsibility for the deterioration of the social conditions of which
they are a product of and party to.

"You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public"....Scott Adams

"The end of history is, alas, also the end of the dustbins of history. There are
 no longer any dustbins for disposing of old ideologies, old regimes, old values.
Where are we going to throw Marxism, which actually invented the dustbins of
history? (Yet there is some justice here since the very people who invented
them have fallen in.) Conclusion: if there are no more dustbins of history, this is
because History itself has become a dustbin. It has become its own dustbin,
just as the planet itself is becoming its own dustbin."....Baudrillard

Proceed to next article :

4.3 Religions : The Rise and Fall of Monotheism

Or

Section base page:

1. Metaphysics, What is it for ?

ROOT LINK  http://personalvalidity.webs.com/

 

[email protected]

epistemology, philosophy, metaphysics, religion, belief, system, social, cultural, paradigm, knowledge,
ontology, power, moral, fundamental, force, Will, Spirit, Intent, knowing, Heart, Mind, reason, intuition,
autonomous, unique, being, existence, space, time, meaning, purpose

GrossRyder Gross Ryder grossryder G RYDER GROSS RYDER