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A universal constant in the realm of human affairs are the tensions of power brought about by the SocialContract. Those few at the top of the PeckingOrder are expected to fulfil the needs of those many at the bottom, lest the many at the bottom revolt and overwhelm the few at the top through violence. This forms the essential PowerLoop? that acts as a kind of rubber band held between the two foci of those in charge and those in their charge. From this tension has sprung forth a wealth of human insight on how to cope with the problem. Over time, many political systems have evolved to manage this gap, yet certain archetypical personas reappear over and over again.

The AntiAuthoritarian is someone who cannot accept the reality and necessity of this tension. There will always be someone that rejects the concept that some will be entrusted with the welfare of all. Rightly so, because it is easy for the few to confuse the necessity of their position in the SocialContract with their own RationalSelfInterest?. PowerCorrupts?, after all, and so the synomity of corruption and authority is also an archetype of the human condition.

Conversely, the SycoPhant? is someone who cannot accept the possibility that this tension could shift or even snap. A system under tension is a system in unstable equilibrium, and it can change at any time. Change to what is really the only question, and for those without a vision for a better future, for those whose imaginations stretch only so far as the end of their noses, change is more likely to be worse than better. And some have a highly invested RationalSelfInterest? in the status quo, and thus they must work to preserve the current system until they can see a path forward that preserves their stake.

And while the AntiAuthoritarian and the SycoPhant? are exceptionally realized anthropomorphizations of our own doubts about the BalancingForces of the world, those of us who are considered balanced (i.e. within ourselves) take a middle ground that accepts the insecurity present at both ends of the rubber band as a necessary part of life. We mostly remain ambivalent towards change in either direction, tending towards inertia unless we can see obvious advantage to change.

Change is often good. Over time, better and more stable systems of managing the SocialContract have evolved. Humanity has learnt that tightening the PowerLoop?, the rubber band, between those in charge and those in their charge results in less energy in the system. The trouble is that it results in both lesser kinetic and potential energy. Less violence, but also less passion, less adaptability, less growth. What we learnt instead was that we still need to create space for those with passion to move forward, but to do so in a way that will not snap the rubber band. Without that space, we must DefendAgainstPassion, which is a truly tragic outcome because passion is the joy of life.

Therefore, rather than view authority is a diametric opposite force to the benefit of the society as a whole, we must AcceptAuthority. Not like the SycoPhant? who merely latches onto authority, but rather we must accept the concept and necessity of authority in so far as it is good for the SocialContract. There really are things that must be done in any society, and someone has to do them. Someone not only has to focus on external necessities like paying the bills, defending the land, negotiating with other societies, but also someone has to pay attention to the health of the society as well, such as making sure people are happy, conflicts are defused, ideas are realized, and needs are met.

It is only because these tasks need to be faster, more efficient, cheaper, and altogether coherent that they seem to fall naturally into concentrated power, as a single mind or a small group of people can act faster and more coordinated than a very large group of people. That is why authority is synonymous with TheAuthor, the single sole genius who pilots an idea to realization. However, history has shown that it is not always the case that the SocialContract is more efficiently handled by ConcentratingPower?. For instance, the problem of meeting needs and even negotiating with external parties is more often than not best left to the FreeMarket?. FreeMarket?s do not tend to declare war on other free markets, but rather they try to merge with them in a peaceful and mutually beneficial ways.

If we AcceptAuthority as a necessary part of life, and yet we avoid ConcentratingPower? into the hands of the few because PowerCorrupts?, we must come to the conclusion that the intrinsic PowerLoop? in the SocialContract is not best realized as a rubber band between two foci, but rather as reins held in the hands of the many at the bottom hitched to a harness on those entrusted with directing the society as it moves forward. That is not only we should still seek to merely DevolvePower whilst preserving the necessary functions of authority in society, we can even seek to improve the effectiveness of these critical functions by devolving power, just like the FreeMarket? is a better manager of the economy than central planning. The more we create these kinds of democratic institutions, the more the role for any persons in the positions of power become merely to preserve the democratic process than to effect the desired outcome directly. ThePublic? at large holds the authorities to account for how much the whole society moves forward, and so the authorities direct their energies to ensuring the process moves everyone in society forward. In other words, society revolves around the principle that Rising tides lift all boats.

In this new view of authority, those in power, even if corrupt, have a hard time enriching themselves to the cost of the public. It happens, but it happens less severely. It is certainly much, much harder for any one person or group to collect enough power to pervert the system to work for only their ends rather than the society's as a whole. When people try, and they definitely do, there are mechanisms to deal with them that do not involve pitchforks and LynchMobs.


We've been talking about some of the concepts that you talk about here over at CommunityWiki:LiteracyOfHumanNature. The fact is that the world view of some people is structured in solving-problems-of-existence-way that causees them to be resistant to authority in different ways. Yet, the world view of others is centered around, or felxible to AcceptAuthrority? in different ways. Sometimes it is the authority of the "ancestors" as interpreted by certain living leaders, as in some tribal cultures. Sometimes it is the authority of those who represent the spiritual (ie the Pope, Dalai Lama, religious leaders). Sometimes it is the authority of those who control access and resources, and sometimes it is the authority of the group. A pattern that emerges over and over again, tat you represent in the Sycophant and the AntiAuthoritarian, is the InnerDirected? and OuterDirected?. That is: people who "express self now for _____", and people who "'Sacrifice self now for ______". This is based on the work of [Dr Clare W Graves].

The question is, how do you recognize WHY some people recognize authority differently then others, and WHY some people don't? Then, how do you balance these different worldview relationships with authority so that there is enough flexibility to avoid clashes between the worldviews?

The SocialContract, as you mentioned, is a great place to start. And, digging deeper, is the design realm, the way we design our social contracts can take into account a CommunityWiki:LiteracyOfHumanNature. BuckminsterFuller? created some tools that can be used in his ComprehensiveAnticipatoryDesignScience?. When I have a chance in about an hour, I'll lay out here apporximately what Fuller was suggesting. I really think it can inform the way people design social contracts.-SamRose



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