23 January 2008

Western Dualism

Western philosophy have a tendency to spilt everything into "good vs evil" binary opposition as a result of the muslim/christian/judeo -tradition that has formed the base of our philosophy.

An eternal struggle between the two competing forces seems to be the standard delusion of our society and has been used as the justification for the demonization of the "other" in almost all conflicts in our history.

But reality is not constructed that way.

Our very existence is dependent on fusion and collaboration bridging the biggest duality that exists in humanity, between men and women. If men and women were locked into eternal conflict the way our western thought endorse, the human race would cease to reproduce and humanity would die out. Computer binary numbering system relies on both 1´s and 0´s and electricity is equally dependent on both negative and positive charges. Mathematics would be useless if addition "won" over subtraction or division "won" over multiplication.

In mystic traditions on the other hand, such as Zen, a key to "enlightenment" is transcending this sort of dualistic thinking, without merely creating a new dualism by substituting it with monism vs pluralism.

Individualism - Collectivism
The earth is a collective of individual living organisms. In terms of society, a collective is a group of individuals and an individual is a collective of individual cells.

If an individual cell suddenly considered itself more important than all other cells and started to grow uncontrollably at the expense of the collective of individual cells we call the "body" - then this would be diagnosed as "cancer" and could potentially end up killing the whole organism.

But hanging on to the big delusion, we are continuing the old political and philosophical struggle between collectivism and individualism that is in fact only a dated and futile attempt to artificially divide reality into two conflicting entities and fight over which of these is the "right" one.

If one of these extremes, individualism or collectivism, is allowed to dominate, the result is the same, a minority elite of individuals will have all the power. In an ultra-individualistic society the financial elite will rule and in an ultra-collectivist the political.

And after the Soviet empire collapsed it has been said that individualism won over collectivism and this is hailed as a big victory for the freedom of humanity. But this is just a continuation of this delusion. The term "collectivism" is incorrectly used as a description of a society where a minority political elite rule and "individualism" a society where a minority financial elite rule.

The only thing that happened was that power shifted from one minority elite to another. The "state power" criticized by the individualists is replaced by the "financial power" criticized by the collectivists.

As in George Orwell´s famous satirical allegory of Soviet totalitarianism, the Animal Farm; "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others" is just as true about a "individualistic society" as the US as it was about the "collective society" in the former USSR.

The worst concentration of power occurs when the combination of the political and financial elite form an alliance where the majority, is made completely powerless. The marriage between these two are obvious in both China and the US and the differences between these types of hierarchical structures are not as big as they are made out to be.

And this minority of the political and/or financial elite will do everything in their power to hold on to and increase their grip by means of control, surveillance, coercion, propaganda, 'perception management', war, jail, torture or any other type of oppression.

It's no coincidence that large transnational corporations provide funding for free-market think tanks who promotes individualism, because under the law, a corporation is legally treated as an individual, a corporate person. And that type of 'individual' would want as little restrictions as possible from the 'collectivism' of society.

The state comes in as a tool for the corporation when it comes to promoting corporate friendly policy and to punish less equal individuals who might threat the corporate profit, like farmers who are sued for storing patented seed or p2p sharing children being slapped with ridiculous fines by huge media cartels.

One of the biggest political delusion in western culture is the illusion of choice, the concept of right and left, of democrats and republicans, effectively nullifying any real threat to the elite by ridiculing and demonizing any other alternative towards real democratic influence by the population. Easily done when you own the media.

Power to the Elite
What is happening as a result of globalization is that the power concentration is accelerating and becoming more obvious as a result of both nation-state mergers in transnational agreements like the EU, NAFTA or ASEAN and corporate consolidations and cartels protected by these pacts, both working together effectively to move power further and further away from the national populations to a minority collective of individuals that is the global financial and political elites.

If an honest politician came along who actually tried to live up the the expectations of the voters, he can be easily outmaneuvered since he would no longer have any control over the national economy and will have to obey the rules of the globalized market and the laws of the transnational pacts.

On the positive side, the larger global collective of individuals interacting and collaborating over the internet, like in the open source movement, is a clear example that another, less hierarchic structure is quite possible, a more natural grass root globalization as opposed to the neoliberal version, but this is still a privilege for people who can afford a computer and a connection plus that this type of global technocratic society would demand a huge cost in terms of natural resources if everyone on earth would enjoy this privilege.

But I think it's high time we dropped the misleading "Individualism vs Collectivism" pseudo-debate. The answer is of course the same type of collective collaboration of individuals necessary for the reproduction of humanity or the type of collaboration of cells that makes up the human body. This is not about any delusional 'free will' or blind ideology - it's about the survival of humanity, the planet and the fact that we really have no other choice.

Psychological projection
G. Edward Griffin - On Individualism vs Collectivism

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