Detached Power

Humans can be viewed as manipulators, meaning they can change their environment and themselves. They can cut down trees, build houses etc. When their basic needs are met they can go on to build beautifull cities Pyramids and Taj Mahals.

The source of all this power lies in our ability to imagine and then try to achieve that think we imagine. That can be a sandwitch in our stomach or our index finger touching our nose or going to Mars. Without imagination there is no choice between imagined futures and we could not demonstrate the first principle of intelligence, which is to choose the best future for ourselves at every step.

Humans have evolved for a world that would not change much over a lifetime. There is no way to evolutionarily select for adaption to cataclysmic events and environmental upheavals. A human will be prepared for everthing humans can do to each other and the environment, to the extent that there’s also now way to breed a notion of total environmental destruction into a human. The natural response is to move towards greener pastures, and this is always the response.

This simple environment can be artifical. In our modern society industry has created regions where people live more or less abstract lives. They hunt in the supermarket and forage in the shopping mall, their behaviour is curtailed in all kinds of ways into pressing a button or pulling a lever. Without judging this process of incarceration was driven by the desire of industry, people that fed on dependence of others on them to harness skills and manipulative power as well as energy from humans that would have otherwise be farmers and hunters. To create a product can have many motives, to gain power is one of them, to gain security another, to gain sexual favour as well, and there’s a part that wants to procreate through products as well. In all these cases a human that is so inspired has a desire to do more than it can. It will want tools and servants.

It is not hard to gain tools and servants though, as long as the human inolved is strong. The other humans will quickly give up any desire to resist for existential reasons and because they are not used to imagining a completely different world. The powerfull humans will have to deal with other powerfull humans, and the servants can focus on doing their job, usually with a considerably less troubled life than the ‘masters’. Both can see advantages in thier predicament, and the master will always say things that reinfoce his/her position, and force the servant to say things that reinforces the servants position. Quite often the servant will actually cheer the master on. This makes a lot of sense when it is a general returning from defeating a raping and pillaging enemy. Humanity has been organized with masters and servants for millenia, simply because otherwise it would not be organized at all.

In our highly abstract society, where symbolic acts are taken very seriously (and we don’t mean religion, but for instance the feeling I get when writing this post, where I have not actually checked if anyone read it or how they respond), it is not common the basis of power is effectively taught to the next generation. Those that do will not do it for anyone but their own. The power to change your environment, to master others, to get what you want and not want what you are being offered is an illusive thing. You have to hate not being the creator of your fate, while your fate is made very comfortable and there are all kinds of way to have symbolic power (for instance in video games). Kids grow up looking at those in power and may learn to manipulate others into serving them, but still they may not get it.

The thing these people don’t get is what they are actually doing. They may understand there’s all kinds of comfort in power, but the servants also recognize their own comfort. There may be guilt when you spend the money earned by your father wastefully but you may not feel this deep motivation to protect and build your father did. When running a company you have to know that you are getting payed for what you deliver, not for prancing around and looking bussy. “Fake it untill you make it” is interpreted “Pretend until you’ve got wads of cash” but of course it means “Model until you actually build”.

It is not surprising to see politicans fail and suck and lie and cheat and be pirates all the time. This is the struggle for power. A requirement to do that right is empathy with others. Not because you will be loved and voted for, but if you empthize with others you have a deeper understanding of what they do. If you empathize with firefighters you understand they run into burning buildings which is super scary. If you empathize with young jobless mothers you understand they can be pretty desperate and the fathers should not be allowed to leave them like that. If you empathize with soldiers you don’t want war and you want them to be protected. Treat others like you’d treat yourself and do onto others what you’d have done onto you. These are not directives, they are talents. They require courage.

Today leaders are voted into office by people who’s opinion is deliberately shaped, who are kept from having an effective vote through all kinds of tricks. Those that gain power may do so based on 70% lies, 20% hubris, and 10% arrogance. If you dress up like a busdriver and you sit in the busdriver’s seat, you will have people get into your bus. The problem is you may not know how to handle it, have no experience at all, may be suicidal or a maniac wanting to drive it off a cliff. The people living in their industrially designed comfortable live don’t really expect or get a chance to know enough to judge the candidate. And of course a candidate can explictly look for support amongst people that are prejudiced and limited in their judgement.

Those that gain power must know what behaviour it takes to produce his environment, which in case of a country means he has to have courage of a soldier and constructive desire of a builder, empathy of a mother and protective instinct of a parent. And even then things can go wrong, because the individual can feel special or different or better than a certain category of people he/she will wield power over. After all, we are all both superior and inferior to others and this can evolve into both an inferiority complex and a superiority complex. The more true power you take from people the sooner they will choose the comfort of servitude, simply because they have lost their grasp of what could give them the upper hand.

When in the past a leader had to gather a bigger army and teach it to be effective, today leaders gather the largest possible group of citizen and try to make them feel as ineffective as possible. Its simply the negative. You don’t have to achieve anything if you promise the world to people, then fail, because those people have felt that failure and empathize with you, while you don’t have to empthize with them (which you are also discouraged from by your desire to feel superior).

Now if you have grown up feeling your power, if you have lived in a place where all the sources of your comfort where people and actions you understood and empthized with, you don’t want to be “led” by airguitair players or symbolists or prancers. You don’t want to vote for one lie jukebox over the other. You don’t want the ego of the most ignorant in your society boosted in order for them to make the vote of active, empathic citizen irrelevant. You don’t want the fight for leadership to be a battle that has no benefit to you, has nothing to do with you, and actually harms you. You want that shit to stop.

The easy way to fight this detachement of power is to detach from it. To not feed into it. To not be a servant. This is how humanity works all the time, people don’t “like” others they can’t empathize with and whom they don’t feel empathy from. Cooperation should be withdrawn, one should strike, object, obstruct. At the same time whoever does get it should be supported. In the US one can easily imagine states leaving the union. The main reason that doesn’t happen is that poor states are dependent upon richer states. They are like children that have not learned what is needed to wield power.

The world in which renewables are cheap can enable almost any territory to become sovereign, even if it remains in the cooperation of larger unions. Even the dryest and hottest places can power cooling systems and irrigate and desalinate with solar energy. They do need to understand it is up to them to organize this, and this requires people that have skills and that cooperate. You can overlay this view on todays society and the distortions financial dependence and economic division of labour (euphenism for divide and conquer) become glaringly obvious. You will know you are fixing it when you meet resistance. But that is the only way to not the life of a neglected and abused servant.