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Applied Philosophy

The Stifling Effects of Authority

People often become blind; they cannot see things that are not in line with what they accept as the authoritative view. Such people don't want to be confused with facts, preferring to stick to their "Beliefs". The earth was flat for a long time because authoritative "Truth" ruled science and the almost sacred status of democracy is hardly ever questioned.

Wouldn't bullying a country into accepting democracy by use of superior power of arms be saying, "Hey, you primitives, I'll save you, I know what's best for you! Here, take my generous gift of democracy or else..." Wouldn't imposing democracy be an act of dictatorship? Yet democratization (also by force) is a fact that however paradoxical, the definition of democracy allows. Democratization and an aspiration to global democracy is a missionary dream to generate a democratic monopoly. Anyway, the majority of people anywhere are mediocre at best, but realistically, quite uneducated believers in dogmas, slogans and whatever truth they are fed; so what would render their judgment to be the superior wisdom, ethical or altruistic? Why should they be the voice of authority? They will always elect the one with the best slogan who will sweet-talk their beliefs and promise tax reduction whereas progress and innovation emerge from minorities. And if a democratic country elected a dictator, would that be the victory of democracy? This is a very realistic scenario, in which case, if democracy is democracy, then it is not democracy (if people democratically elected a dictator). Although there is no "true" democracy anywhere, even the historical ideal of democracy is a "Paradox". When democracy means that a majority can freely suppress, kill, maim and humiliate a minority in the name of moral superiority, then why is democracy assumed to be the most coveted form of government?

The following question was asked by a prominent educator. See how SHET answers:

Q: According to one theory, the brain has evolved in three stages: the oldest brain which is called the reptilian brain in the popular manner, the second the mammalian brain, and the neo-cortex. I don't think there is any chance for having a democratic society because most humanity is dominated mainly by the reptilian brain while democracy needs knowledge, thinking, sharing and other functions which are beyond this primitive brain. What do we have to change today to approach this democratic ideal?

A: Why do you think democracy is the best social system? Even within the most ideal democracy there would be the minority that draws the short straw. Democracy is giving equal voice to non-equal people. People are not, and should not be equal. That's the beauty of creation, the variety. It's OK that people have different views, different attitudes, that can be a very enriching state for all. Some people like to lead, most like to follow, and some like to be left alone. In a world where variety is encouraged, that can be a blessing, and there is place for everyone. There will always be conflicts of interest; even within a company there are conflicting interests between the different departments. That's why there should be a leader, to see the whole picture. You cannot expect all the people to both see the whole picture and also the details, even with evolved brains. What you can aim at is educating people, each and every one to best develop according to his or her talents and inclinations. To create dynamic harmony where each instrument plays his own tune, but at the same time, as a harmonic part of the whole symphony.

Don't try to create a democracy. Just as education, democracy has not proven itself for thousands of years, so why keep sticking to it?

Each person is creating his own reality, and together, we create history, our era. We influence each other, and we can help make each other's life a misery or happiness. We are all looking forward to a Messianic era when the wolf dwells with the lamb in harmony (some say, every day with a different lamb, but that's another story). We believe that our best shot today for a just society is democracy. According to SHET, that's not the ideal way of coexisting. "Democracy at its mildest, at its best is using force, enforcing the majority's will. A better way of course, would be when humanity is on a higher level of awareness, more aware of its transcendental source and thus, knows the way to harmony, which is seeing itself as a manifestation of the ONE in its beautiful variety: each one a world in itself, but like an orchestra, like a live organism, acting in harmony. Of course, some cells in the organism have a certain role and other cells have other roles and thus, when each fulfills his, then there is a possibility for harmony. I see for an enlightened society a better way than democracy: that would be an enlightened ruler, who is specified in that, meaning, he functions as a cell would for the whole organism."

What does that really mean? What does it mean that an enlightened ruler would function as a cell would for the whole organism? As described in the article, The Loop Logic, a living organism consists of numerous feedback systems, and the function of all these systems is to regulate each other. Each system consists of other systems, which consist of other systems, in a dynamic loop - each system regulating itself and being regulated by the others, so the live organism is not so much a conglomeration of valid values, but more the act of regulation (complex non-linear loop dynamics) that maintains the necessary dynamic balance that can perpetuate the act of regulation. The living organism is structure. It is the process that gains expression as living cells. There is no basic material that becomes a cell, but a dynamic structure that eventually stabilizes. In the case of the living organism, structure stabilizes into the right space of action of a given biological sub-system. This sub-system interacts with other sub-systems of the organism, and this non-linear interaction re-stabilizes all the sub-systems, which dynamics is the regularization of the whole organism. There is nothing uninfluenced or non-interactive within the live organism. The live organism is its function, which is, regulation of its sub-systems so it can continue to interact with itself and the rest of the world - or in other words, survive. Accordingly, the substitute for democracy advocated by SHET would be the model of a healthy organism, or rather, the structure of an alternative healthy social system would be similar to the dynamic structure of the organism. Or in SHET's words, "Understanding the dynamic structure of the loop followed by a control system that controls the preservation of this structure could become the future system that allows freedom within structural integrity wherein this dynamic structure can evolve in desired directions. The structure of the structure is a realistic constitution or gospel or whatever."

Many religions expect a Messiah, a savior who will set us free and solve all our problems. Some believe salvation will descend upon us from the Heavens in the form of aliens, angels, or extra terrestrials. And then, when the time comes, this savior/s will tell us what to do, what to think, and we will know that he/they tell the truth. He/they will be the ultimate authority that rewards the righteous and punishes the sinners. This supreme authority then knows and judges our actions as right or wrong. And then, we will all be saved and a new golden age, a new era of harmony will commence. Everyone will attain a higher level of "Consciousness", suddenly everyone will be endowed with spiritual enlightenment. What's wrong with this picture?

First, this unquestionable authority will tell you how things are and what you should think.

Second, a true evolution of consciousness would be the endemic knowledge of how the consciousness works, what the mechanics (structure) of thinking are, and ultimately, how to think. Knowing how to think would eradicate any need to subscribe to an authoritarian dictum and in fact, it would shun authority as trying to suppress free thinking (creativity). As knowledge and ability to utilize the process (structure) of thinking forms what we think, being told what to think would suppress this aptitude.

Consequently, the idea of a Messiah that will save us contradicts the possibility of enlightenment. I named this "Inconsistency" the Messiah paradox.

"Holophany" does not deal with either democracy or politics; it plunges the reader into the philosophy of paradoxes daring to question the holy cows. It provides surprising new tools because it emphasizes the structure of our thinking process rather than the contents thereof. When we know how we think, we can change what we think, feel and believe. When the authoritative truth defines for us who we are and what we should think, then such definition stifles our evolution. The following quote is from my book, Holophany, The Loop of Creation. It's a discussion between Clara from the left and Clara from the right about the value of the new logic presented therein.

Clara from the left: "Big words! But what is all this logic good for? Intellectual masturbation?"

Clara from the right: "Don't you see? It's a tool to create."

Clara from the left: "The market is flooded with enhance-your-awareness-and-become-enlightened formulas, change-your-reality-and-heal-yourself recipes, and you can even become master for a symbolic fee of a couple of thousand dollars for a weekend workshop. So who needs you?"

Clara from the right: "By understanding the logical structure, you can wield the magic wand of perception to know or actively "Unknow", to define or seek to perceive the "Indefinite", which means: experience. Instead of being significance, a well-defined object with limited scope, you can tread the soil of dreams and make them real. How many times were you told to experience the present, enjoy the moment, and you felt you could not, that you didn't deserve it, or you were just too troubled by worries? Of course you cannot experience when you are overwhelmed by defined situations. Remember, experience is attempting to define the indefinite, perceiving something new and inconsistent with your system and trying to assimilate it. It takes guts to experience, because you face something unknown, indefinite.

"Governments, administrations and religions control you through enhancing your fears, by convincing you that the world is dangerous, uncertain. The more you seek certainty, the easier it is to control you (coax you into voting a certain way, into supporting wars, into consuming). You become the slave of whoever offers you the solution to the problem. You might not have been aware of having been in danger; but when convinced, you are willing to obediently follow your savior's advice. If you only seek certainty, you are forced into trying to control the environment so it won't surprise you. You do it by defining everything, including yourself, and instead of acting, being the actor, you become more like matter that reacts. This aspiration to define, to know, prevents you from spreading your wings to expand into the realm of experience. Experience is learning, and it is enriching because it is an attempt to assimilate the new into your structure. But if you are afraid of change, then you will avoid experiencing in an attempt to preserve your familiar, known, well-defined structure. You keep defining yourself, claiming you are like this or like that, definitions that prohibit you from being different. You identify with your role; you think you are the role. Yet if you could let go of identity, if you could be Nothing, then you could be the potential to be anything. This superposition of indefinite identity grants you the possibility to collapse into playing any role instead of being stuck in a limited and limiting rut.'

Clara from the left: "What's wrong with choosing an identity and sticking to it? Look at people willing to die for their religion, country and ideals. They seem happy enough in their commitment."

Clara from the right: "To have an identity, to belong to a group or to subscribe to a creed is but another manifestation of the yearning for certainty, to have answers for all questions and rules for all actions in order to be OK. To belong is to benefit from the protection and privileges of the group and to be accepted. But what is the price of this choice?"

Clara from the left: "What are you saying? That one should not belong? That people should be non-conformist, individualistic, egocentric eccentrics?"

Clara from the right: "That's not what I am saying. The craving to be accepted crushes "Self-confidence", and the person becomes more and more defined to fit the environment. And then, to achieve or maintain the rightness of one's being, one starts comparing himself, and in seeking to self-define, one becomes overly self-involved. In this state, you don't really see the other. You only see yourself through the other's eyes. And then you forget to experience. Look, even the most tolerant entity, if well defined, cannot accept the different. This kind of tolerance is theoretical: it is OK for people different than me to exist in another community, in another country, on another planet. But not here, thank you. What do you think most wars have been fought for? Religion, country, honor. More specifically, to conquer for honor or for freedom for the identity."

Clara from the left: "So you regard social skills as impaired self-confidence and pleading allegiance to country or religion as intolerance. This is gross."

Clara from the right: "To accept the different, to truly be tolerant rather than merely giving lip-service to these concepts, you need to assimilate the different. First, to experience it and then incorporate it into one's structure. The different is the other in you, and that's real responsibility, or response-ability - ACHERIYUT (אחריות). Real social skills would emerge from this tolerance then, and not from fear of being rejected. Knowledge of the isomorphous logical structure allows the choice of the degree of indefiniteness one is willing to experience. It furnishes the tools to differentiate between beliefs (considered to be reality, how things are) and the process of definition with which one can create realities, which is the real control of reality, not the false dependence on a chimera of external reality that disregards the only means we do have: perception."

Clara from the left: "You take away from people their faith in an external reality, you leave them without reward or punishment, you rob them of their stable reality anchors, calling them beliefs, and you don't even give an alternative truth to replace their demolished values. Briefly, you leave them hanging in mid-air."

Clara from the right: "That's the price of being a creator. I only provide tools. There is no finished product I can supply, and if such a thing existed, it would only be another slogan, another belief, another truth, just another significance. Either you create your reality or you have it imposed upon you."

Clara from the left: "You are stamping out faith, blaspheming!"

Clara from the right: "Am I? Isn't asking favors from God blaspheming? Putting small written requests into the creases of the Wailing Wall - ‘Please God, give me a husband/wife, give me money, give me health, give me children, give me, give me, give me' - isn't that idol worshipping? Asking for reward in the afterworld for your person, isn't that blaspheming? Seeing God as a person who pays individual attention to you, is that what the abstract God is about? Or could it be that God is not a definable "Significance" but the lawfulness that makes you a creator (in his image), which gives you everything if you will only reach out for it?"

Understanding Holophany can affect our personal and social conduct, and also technology, the impacts of which could reverberate for millennia and contribute to positive personal and social evolution. When the discovery of a universal logical structure can beget amazingly innovative technologies, this should also be taken seriously for its value for personal and social growth, especially since this is the basis for moral conduct - not fear of punishment, but understanding the universal value of life, any life. Then love and cooperation is not the result of the aspiration to certainty and to belong, to have a fixed identity, but the natural outcome of an existence that knows its own structure. Happiness and well being for all is no longer a dream.

Following one's ideals without doubts, without stopping up from time to time to check other directions, which means, looking, is an inability to stop; it is becoming the ideals instead of generating them.


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