We have a system of human interconnectedness that is institutionally parasitic on most people (for the benefit of a small faction) but which has everyone oriented within distortions of reality that obscure and sanctify the parasitism. Specifically, we are oriented within beliefs that our situation is exclusively a personal creation such that as long as we dare to dream big and don’t blame others or rock the boat we can by our own efforts ride the social mobility bus up levels of dignity/ support/ love/ money/ power/ honour/ glory and achieve the best life-of-our-dreams possible given our talents, energies, and personal circumstances; in other words, that the capitalist politico-economic system efficiently provides the best possible life to those who deserve and earn it, to those who prove they are worthy. The argument presented here against that distorted orientation is that the politico-economic system in fact consists of parasitic systems of subordination which are institutionalized and maintained in place by deliberately manipulating mass reverence for fictitious parent-forms, externalized pseudo-intelligences declared to be sacred, supposed enlargements of ordinary intelligence situated externally as gods, nature, history, sovereign governments, corporations, and the oligarchic celebrity systems often used to represent communities. However, all such parasitic distortions can be overcome non-violently by any individual through recognizing the unique transcendence of all individual intelligences, and there are good consequences, both personal and collective, philosophical and political, in the self-possession that results from doing that.
Exploiting Child-to-Parent Conditioning
The primordial system of subordination is childhood. For every human newborn, infant, or toddler, there is a deep dependence on an inexplicable parental intelligence which is just there in the structure of the world, along with gravity and ground, and whose limits are unrecognizable. That experience of child-orientation is exploited and used as training in perpetual subordination, looking outward for the initiation of agency, direction, approval, self-definition, and life goals. When an individual matures to adulthood, that psychological pattern of emotional dependence should fade away, but certain cultural mechanisms intentionally keep it active to enable an institutional takeover of the role of supervisory intelligence with indefinite limits. One of those cultural mechanisms is religion and another is institutional sovereignty.
Real Parents are Often Self-Sacrificing
Although there are often parasitic practices in the treatment of older children by their parents, a crucial difference between actual parental intelligence and false parental avatars is that parents are generally devoted, to the point of self-sacrifice, to the fullest development of their children, but the institutional parental avatars work to formalize and preserve systems of life-limiting parasitism on those they supervise.
Just There: The Parental Alpha-Structure of Sovereignty
We all know that there is a sovereign superstructure around here with a whole set of warnings put into effect by watchers and investigators, agents prepared with special equipment for assaults, arrests, and facilities for confinement, and with methods of gathering information and justifying their controlling behaviour. The superstructure makes proclamations of laws and penalties. “Anyone in our territory caught doing X, or not doing Y, will have penalty Z imposed on him or her.” There is a claim to power and a warning about how the power will be used. On the basis of such warnings each person in the territory makes decisions about how to act. That supervising superstructure is just there when we arrive on the scene, as the buildings and streets of a city are just there, and just as to newborns, infants, and toddlers parental intelligences are just there. To carry on a livelihood here you have to get used to dealing with that watchful, interfering, and sometimes brutal supervising organization.
Sovereign superstructures are territorial and display strong drives to preserve and strengthen unlimited control of resources especially people. They organize defined borders and control the passing of properties and persons across borders. They proclaim and enforce exactly who gets to enter or leave their territory. Various branches of the superstructure watch and investigate the world beyond the borders for threats or opportunities for gaining advantages. It has been very common for neighbouring superstructures to do deliberate damage to one another in efforts to gain advantage and dominance. Some proclamations of superstructures require mainly young adult males to serve in lethal-force assault and defence formations to destroy threats and exploit opportunities. The lives of individuals are often destroyed in a superstructure’s promotion of its policies.
Different superstructures have different ways of originating proclamations, edicts, and decrees. Some base themselves on a single person with total authority. Those people often have ongoing conversations with a select group of advisors who assist in forming proclamations and supervising compliance. Other superstructures have collectives of several hundred people to discuss and approve proclamations. Selection to membership in such collectives is done in different ways, sometimes by nomination by political clubs and public election by region, and sometimes by a tradition of primogeniture from the most propertied social categories. Sometimes the superstructure canvasses people in its territory for ideas about how it should conduct business and who should have executive authority. Sometimes it has branch organizations that give certain people the opportunity to vote for candidates for positions of authority or for new policy and project proposals. This is unusual, however. Usually people with authority in a superstructure get to recruit their replacements. For such parental-type authority which is “just there”, mass compliance works exactly the same way in democracies, monarchies, single-party states, or overt dictatorships. People generally accept that the sovereign authority is “just there” and organize their activities accordingly.
The sovereign superstructure is surrounded by supporting branches which gather money and materials for its functions. Some of its proclamations stipulate which categories of people must submit portions of their wealth and income to the superstructure, or must pay the superstructure whenever they buy certain goods or services, cross certain borders, or periodically for items of property in their possession, or for whatever reason the superstructure proclaims. Whatever the superstructure proclaims is backed by its watching, investigating, lethal-force, and penalizing institutions.
The superstructure makes proclamations, takes money, and requires periods of service of some categories of people within its territory. It is not going to stop operating just because there are people who dislike what it does, so the sovereign superstructures do not operate contractually. In fact, the superstructure could not be based on a “social contract” because the concept of a contract requires equality of power among contracting parties (otherwise there is duress of the weaker by the stronger, voiding the concept ‘contract’). The supervising power recruits and acts through a lot of people trained and screened to support and agree with each other. Those people are not encouraged to question the arrangements. They are very strongly encouraged to carry on with established practices and functions of the superstructure, and to enjoy benefits to themselves which it provides. Shared culture and a chain of command unify a large selection of apparent individuals.
For many centuries in the historical past superstructures explained their proclamations (and their existence) as god’s commands and claimed special knowledge of the most powerful god or the only real God. Fear of the God’s retribution in an afterlife has proved a powerful instrument of control and supervision, coupled with promises of sublime and eternal rewards for obedient submission. Typically superstructures which use this technique have meeting facilities in every settlement, where people are expected to come regularly for small-group lessons on afterlife retribution and reward, and to make contributions of money.
Within monotheist religions, the individual’s situation suggests that the primal sense of the sacred among ancient middle-eastern herder-nomads, where the ideas originated, was childhood fear and awe of the father’s unpredictable and mysterious rages. The God of Abraham is that kind of father in the sky, all-knowing, all-powerful, not limited by any rules or finiteness and so unpredictable and dangerous, quick to anger and inclined to terrifying violence. The relationship of that God to the humans He creates, commanding devoted obedience, fervent declarations of admiration and submission, and unquestioning service, is quite overtly an idealized image of the relationship of the herder to his flocks, the herder father to his dependants. Such an orientation situates every individual on an externally imposed axis of submission to, or defiance of, an absolute self-justifying power, an externally imposed axis of grace or disgrace, reward or punishment. However, that peculiar sense of the sacred is not confined to ancient herder-nomads, because the early orientation of every human newborn, infant, and toddler is similarly dominated by the inexplicable external intelligence of parents. On that basis, every human acquires very early in life the psychological disposition to gaze outward for the initiation of agency, direction, purpose, validation, and even self-definition.
Within that cultural background it is well worth observing that the raging power of an angry parent is not sacred. What is sacred within the pre-determined world of nature is the transcendent freedom of every intelligence-as-such. For the majority of citizens the supervising apparatus of nation-state sovereignty is just there, in exactly the same way as the inexplicable parental intelligence is just there for every newborn, infant, and toddler, but as an adult the only influence possible with the sovereign superstructure is to vote every four or five years from very limited choices which are pre-determined by the superstructure itself. That negligible possibility of influence does not apply to all people, however. A gross misrepresentation of sacredness has been exploited to render masses of people compliant to external forces, to render people controllable, because in addition to the cultural mechanisms to perpetuate the child-orientation there are social factions with special advantages in profiting from the mass psychological/ emotional manipulation those mechanisms enable, factions which are fixated on the rewards of maintaining and perfecting that manipulation. There are factions of any politico-economic system which know how to influence and profit from the superstructure, and they use it as a Wizard (of Oz) avatar, working the levers and mechanisms that play out the persona of transcendent Parent, the fictitious higher intelligence.
Any arrangement or mechanism that appeals to and exploits the universal pre-conditioning to orient toward an external parent-type of inexplicable intelligence will take on the character of divinity, will become a god avatar, no matter how ordinary it may be in origin and actuality. Pretty much anything can be deified. Monarchies and dictatorships (as well as nominally democratic political parties) build larger-than-life personality cults around the leader, who is undeniably embodied in the ordinary way. They do it by taking advantage of the universal childhood conditioning. The cultural construction of an inexplicable parental intelligence, like the angry father in the sky, attracts emotional projection of parental qualities onto an external force, fixating subordinated people in an emotional mental pattern characteristic of childhood.
The reason to go beyond the imprinted parent is not just political, to avoid parasitic exploitation by parental pretenders, but even more fundamentally philosophical, for basic self-discovery and self-possession.
Legitimacy of Sovereign Superstructures
The way in which superstructures of power formed, now encountered by succeeding generations as “just there”, has been described below in posting 68, (https://intheblindspot.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/lines-of-human-parasitism-through-western-civilizations/), in addition to postings 55, (https://intheblindspot.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/finishing-the-work-of-the-enlightenment-part-1of-2/) and 56, (https://intheblindspot.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/finishing-the-work-of-the-enlightenment-part-2-of-2/). The origin of sovereign superstructures in human-on-human parasitism has determined the behaviour and character of institutional power ever since, and it serves parasitic power well to be accepted as “just there”. Power is never an end in itself, but instead is always a means of reaping the benefits of parasitism on those over whom the power is exercised. (Michel Foucault (1926-84) politely refrained from recognizing parasitism as the purpose and product of power.) The sovereign superstructure protects top-down human-on-human parasitism partly by devoting itself to resisting and controlling bottom-up or petty human parasitism (fighting crime, maintaining “law and order”) which is laudable as far as it supports a degree of public safety and stability. However, in spite of the fact that institutions of mass subordination do their best to insinuate themselves into the semi-blind spot of ordinary habituation to parental influence, a question of ultimate legitimacy must be faced.
Myth of a Social Contract
In spite of the fact that sovereign institutions are just there for most citizens, there are theorists, such as Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), who claim that citizens agreed to this, that there is (or was at some point) a contract or agreement among citizens to create sovereign power, and by that agreement citizens gave up some liberty and autonomy for the stability and security which a sovereign power imposes on everybody. (On Hobbes’ view the sovereign is not a party to the contract, which would disqualify the social contract as instituting the rule of law. While claiming to champion the rule of law, sovereign governments routinely evade and violate their own laws, interpreting the social contract as Hobbes did.) Hobbes was specifically trying to remove the obscurity of supernatural foundations from sovereign power.
The basic mistake made by Hobbes was thinking entirely within the culture of reverence for the imprinted parent, and specifically within the version of that culture based on alpha-trophy-looting masculinity, which originated with ancient nomadic herding groups and became the universal ideal of masculinity. That is the cultural source and origin of the whole edifice of sovereignty. Political power structures and theories have always been cooked up among male-only clubs of the most privileged, and those structures and theories always project the ethos of alpha-trophy-looting herder masculinity by celebrating some (supposedly obvious) inherent alpha-male right to rule, in other words, superiority to (and fear of) women and other unprivileged groups. Hobbes believed that creating a super-father is the only way to avoid a war of all against all, which he imagined as the pre-contract course of nature. In that faith there is a sort of Confucian myth of the divinely ordained transcendence of father-power. That is how Hobbes smuggled false transcendence into his justification (sanctification) of sovereign power. There is a set of assumptions about how the new father-sovereign would behave: something like a good aristocratic father, imposing order through rational fear of the father’s violence. However, the proposal to designate a great parent wouldn’t even make sense without the childhood habituation to the external “sovereign” intelligence of parents, the primordial model of external transcendence. In addition, for Hobbes, the social contract institutes Leviathan, the superhuman collective, the super-family, that also has the presence of transcendent necessity since is supposedly expresses the same nature as the common family. According to Hobbes, just as nature and human (male) nature decree an original war of all against all, so also the seam of rationality in human nature decrees agreement to the social contract and so the cultural construction of Leviathan as the only relief from eternal war (a clearly failed promise). Hobbes’ theory claims to identify sovereignty as the product of a co-ordinated act of multiple rational intelligences. However, Hobbes shared the restricted concept of rationality that was becoming current in his time, in which rationality was just an alignment of a basic animal drive for self-preservation or self-interest with the necessities of nature, in this case the supposedly natural consequences of father-power.
What Hobbes failed to recognize or imagine is the fact that there is another generally known approach to human interconnectedness, namely from within the feminine culture of intense personal engagement with newborns, infants, and toddlers for the project of initiating them into the connection of intelligences through language, shared culture, caring, and nurture generally; in other words, the first-language-nurture worldview generally cultivated by women. From that alternative state of nature the interconnectedness develops without the social contract or a super-father. The fact that women carry on with their nurture culture is what actually accounts for the stability of human interconnectedness. Sovereignty is not the source of that stability. Language and mutual support create for intelligences the opportunity to experience more of the best of values, namely intelligence itself.
The Norms Fallacy
When philosophers (pragmatists and utilitarians, for example) talk about an indispensable framework of community norms, it is difficult for them to be quite specific and historically accurate about the meaning or referent of “community” or “civil society”. There is no recognition in their claims that the actions of states in conducting wars (often clandestine), for example, and actions of corporations in looting the earth’s natural resources, express a crime-family ethos that extends back historically to nomadic animal herders and from there forward into universally celebrated ideals of masculinity, modelled most conspicuous in parasitic aristocracies of medieval societies (armed men on horses) which invented and imposed the forms of organization now called “sovereign government” and “corporations”, as ways of institutionalizing subordination through the universally imprinted parent. That crime family ethos is intrinsically and irredeemably parasitic on subordinated humans and, since it expresses the cultural norms of the social faction which directly influences the actions of national governments and their covert agencies, armed forces, and police, it stands as a clear revelation that there is no coherent system of community norms. The routine use of deception and violence by national governments and corporations is completely contrary to norms and values respected and considered definitive of decency by the mass of wage-dependant families, but is entirely representative of the crime family ethos which animates ownership/ governing classes. In clear contradiction of ideas about a social contract, there is actually a semi-stable system of human-on-human parasitism, kept operating by strenuous and increasingly scientific and technological efforts at behaviour and thought control by the beneficiary factions, which is obviously not a decent or dependable foundation for anyone’s values or standards of truth. In that situation of effective manipulation and pacification of host classes by parasitic classes anything like a social contract would be strictly tactical (deceptive) in an adversarial sense.
In pre-modern cultures, after the general diffusion of the culture of herder masculinity, everything was ascribed ultimately to the will of patriarchal gods, to divine involvement; whereas in modern cultures everything is ascribed to nature as an unalterable nexus of causal chains, but the old assumptions of divine involvement are so ingrained in the culture that they are still called on for the sanctification of power, and even lurk within the scientific conception of nature. In the modern world of nearly-nihilism, strictly utilitarian economic incentives and rewards are the everyday “front window” justifications for superstructures of sovereign power and authority (“peace, order, and good government”). Appeals to transcendent justifications are not normally made up-front, but they are always held in reserve for times when emotions run high in the collective. Nature is now just as much an externalized projection of parental super-intelligence as gods have always been.
Nature Takes its Inevitable Course
One of the justifications of capitalism as well as of sovereign superstructures is the claim that this is just the normal course of nature with a minimum of rational tweaking to reduce nature’s more abhorrent forms of brutality. However, that claim expresses the view of a particular cultural faction, specifically the faction of herder masculinity. The alpha-trophy-looting culture of that cowboy masculinity claims the exclusive distinction of authentically expressing nature, but that claim is a ridiculous bias. The female cultivated culture of first-language-nurture has every bit as legitimate a claim to express nature (and a greater claim to intelligence), and points toward a social organization much different from capitalism. The claim, that the capitalist politico-economic system efficiently provides the best possible life to those who deserve and earn it, depends on a claim that the superstructure of sovereign government, as well as corporate operations, are just (immutable, unalterable) nature taking its course. There is a claim of scientific necessity for their just being there, too immutable and gigantic to be resisted or re-conceived. “Just there” is a version of “it’s just nature running its course”.
There is always an unspecified suggestion of Intelligent Design in such appeals to nature and history, and behind every Intelligent Design there is an implied super-intelligent Designer, if not overtly a separate disembodied divinity then a spirit manifested through inspired geniuses, so inexplicable as to be incomprehensible by ordinary people, and so adding up to divinity. The apparatus of state sovereignty claims to represent design in history: the great unthinkable Parent was erected by forces including inspired statesmen and brave military heroes, sanctified by the blood of sacrificed soldiers, and rationalized by rigorous science, scholarly research, and tried-and-true business know-how.
Nature and Intelligences: Beyond Nature’s Parental Embrace
Arguments of the form, “this social arrangement is just part of nature running its inevitable course” all crash against the recognition that social arrangements are creations of intelligences, and intelligences in every case operate outside the course of nature. That is to say, intelligences transcend nature. Intelligences can’t be part of nature because nature consists of strict actualities, the totality of the categorically actual (being), but we intelligences orient and define ourselves (live our lives) in a structure of time (becoming) which is a fabric of non-actuality, almost entirely beyond what is actual; for example, constructing a directionality always exiting a non-actual past and with a heading or bearing structured in terms of increasingly improbable possibilities for a non-actual future. It isn’t that intelligences just make imperfect wild guesses at things that really exist in some actuality, because past and future really have no actual existence. They are creations of intelligences. That orientation-complex of non-actuality defines “the interiority of an intelligence” outside the actuality of nature, and it is a unique creation by every individual intelligence. There is no requirement for, or benefit from, postulating some separate initiating or originating super-intelligence behind or beyond individuals.
Before anyone has a gender or becomes a child of a certain religion, language, family, landscape, or nationality, before any of that, he or she is already a particular intelligence, and those other features are just variables in the situation of that intelligence. The ground on which to stand to judge culture of any kind, and so masculinity, is the innocence of intelligence-as-such, deep underneath gender culture.
Because of the dominance of outward-gazing science in modern culture, contemporary people have difficulty with the idea that intelligences are outside nature, each an individual interiority which transcends nature. Apparently it is comforting for contemporary people, in the current culture of nearly-nihilism, to imagine belonging within the embrace of cosmic nature. However, recognition of the remarkable freedom of intelligences requires recognition that intelligences are separate from nature. Nature has become the great unthinkable parent and it is urgent to recognize that intelligences operate beyond its deterministic embrace. Only when we stop looking outward for validation, even from nature, can we recognize our innocent inward identity as transcendent freedom in self-created time, and begin re-creating our precious interconnectedness beyond the imprinted parent-forms that are being abused by factions expressing a culture of human parasitism.
Copyright © 2014 Sandy MacDonald.