Checking Oneself on One’s Understanding of ‘Organization’
Is life really as Shakespeare’s Hamlet describes it?
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Are we really living our lives by playing ‘roles’ that we develop by intellectual mastery?
[[As you consider this question and try it on for size re your own life situation, there is something important that you may miss taking into account in this process. You can ‘check yourself out’ for whether you missed it or not at the bottom of this essay.]]
Surely, animals don’t acquire their ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘protector’, ‘lover’ roles by intellectual mastery, so why should we think that we do?
Well, animals don’t slap one another with their glove to signal that their honour has been demeaned and that a duel must follow to settle the injury, the time and place, choice of ‘seconds’ and weapons being part of this very mechanistic ‘protocol’.
A ‘protocol’ is a ‘code of correct conduct’ that is agreed upon within a human social collective. It is one of those logical ‘if/then’ structures. In the animal kingdom (ever wonder why we call it a ‘kingdom’ when it is in more realistically understood as an interdependent ‘ecosystem’?), the non-human organisms would just ‘do what comes naturally’, and we humans have that in us, as well, and it often associated with Americans (who mocked the British protocols) and who, according to some anthropologists, have picked up this ‘doing what comes naturally’ from the Amerindians; e.g;
“There is one scene that stands out above all others, a scene that powerfully conveys a message about modern civilization, and which always gets a laugh, no matter how many times the audience has seen it. It appears in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Legend has it that Harrison Ford was sick that day, and wanted a short take. Spielberg suggested this scene as the shortest one possible. I would like to believe that the legend is true. Across a large, open bazaar, Indiana Jones confronts his latest challenger, who is dressed entirely in black. He holds a sword. You know the scene. This master of oriental weaponry whirls his sword round and round, in a performance of razor-sharp dexterity. The performance says it clearly: “There is no escape, Western Imperialist.” You’re smiling already.Why are you smiling? Maybe because you remember your reaction to the scene the first time you saw it. But it’s more than this. That scene conveys a clear, unmistakable, unforgettable message regarding the clash of two civilizations, East and West.Jones reaches into his pocket, pulls out a cheap revolver, and plugs him. He crumples, sword and all.The audience roars.”
But the narrator is wrong, the clash is between the followers of protocol (in this case the Eastern version of ‘chivalry’ as what is shaping up is a challenge to a duel) and those who ‘do what comes naturally’ (in this case with some technological amplification).
The action of Indiana Jones re the challenger to the duel, is like that of the grizzly bear to the fencer (“aha, at last we meet face-to-face and now we shall see who shall vanquish whom”), there is nothing personal, the challenger is like a pesky fly, an irritant that has become annoying to the point of having to be dealt with.
But that brings us back to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hamlet was living in a ‘Kingdom’, not in an ecosystemic tribal community. Kingdoms are full of political intrigues hidden behind protocols. Everyone has to role-play and follow the protocols or be banished from the kingdom and live in nature. Underneath the role-plays and protocols are smoldering political ambitions and jealousies. The quest for more power, to bed the beautiful queen, … but wait, that would not be protocol unless one first accedes to the throne, a prospect that would be facilitated by the early demise of the present King.
Insofar as western civilization organizes itself hierarchically (Presidents, CEOs, superintendants, supervisors, ministers, policemen, judges, captains and commanders) and develops corresponding ‘protocols’ and ‘role plays’, Hamlet’s remarks apply. This form of organization is a cultural choice; e.g;
“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women. “ — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders
What is it about western authoritarian hierarchal organization that is ‘missing’ from Amerindian organization?
William Blake provided the answer to this in his ‘Marriage of Heaven and Hell’. In the early days of the western culture, poets used the metaphor of the Gods of nature to impute to local things, a river or a city, the source of their power, and then the priesthood came along with ‘religion’ that TOOK LITERALLY this putting God’s power inside of everything; e.g. the human individual, the sovereign state, the ‘living organism’ etc., a notion that converted the organism/organization-as-sailboat (deriving its power and steerage from the flow it is included in) to organism/organization-as-power-boat (equipped with its own inboard power and steerage). Total rubbish, of course, but rubbish that has become foundational to modern western-culture dominated society; e.g;
” The notion of “absolute, unlimited power held permanently in a single person or source, inalienable, indivisible, and original” is a definition of the Judeo- Christian-Islamic God. This “God died around the time of Machiavelli…. Sovereignty was … His earthly replacement.” (Walker, R. B. J. and Mendlovitz, Saul H. “Interrogating State Sovereignty.”
Of course, as Blake noted, this is the same model as the priesthood was using for the ‘self’ and that Nietzsche observed, western science would adopt as their model for ‘forms of life’. Each cell and organism in the western science of biology is ‘its own local sovereign state’ with its own inboard power and steerage, like the Aristotelian ‘acorn’, a powerboating sovereign state that has its own inboard power and steerage. In science, it is a ‘local system with its own locally originating, internal-process-directed behaviour’.
This ‘absolutist’ model of ‘living entities’ has no need of ‘organizing influence’ coming from the dynamic habitat in which it is included. it exists locally and independently as a ‘living thing-in-itself’. That model is basic to how we who are raised (psychologically imprinted/brainwashed) in the western culture, demonstrating at the very least, that the dynamics of the society we are situationally included in, orchestrates the organization of our thoughts.
That model is bogus. Nothing exists independently except in such ‘secularized theological concepts’ as ‘the sovereign state’ which is self-similar to the western model of ‘self’.
“All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts, not only because of their historical development … but also because of their systematic structure.” – Bartelson, Jens ‘ A Genealogy of Sovereignty’
“State sovereignty “is a ‘religion’ and a faith.” – Lombardi, Mark Owen, ‘Third-World Problem-Solving and the ‘Religion’ of Sovereignty’
The same model is, in the western worldview, is proposed for any and all ‘life-forms’; i.e. they are imputed to be ‘local systems with their own locally-originating, internal-process directed behaviours’. Not only is this the model of choice in western religions, but it is also the model of choice in western science.
Make no mistake, western science assumes that the universe is dead and that this ‘dead universe’ is locally infected with life.
Furthermore western science, not those who developed relativity and quantum theory, but the mainstream of western science which has not changed its common way of modeling since the new physics transpired at the beginning of the twentieth century, assumes that ‘life’ is a process that occurs within local systems (cells, organisms) which was not present on earth for the first 700 million years of the earth’s ‘existence’ (one of those ‘local object’ views again, this time of the earth which ‘came into existence’ at ‘a particular point in time’); i.e. science says the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that life-on-earth commenced about 3.8 billion years ago.
Now, as Poincare tried to make clear, the earth is the result of organization within the spatial dynamics of the universe. It is like the hurricane or convection cell. It never ‘leaves’ the flow since it is a feature within the flow, however, these foreground features attract our visual awareness more than the invisible nonlocal flow-fields which are continually parenting and regathering them.
What he said was; “To say that ‘the earth rotates’ is nonsense’. According to his own personal letters, few people understood what he was going on about. Only a handful of his scientific colleagues ‘got it’. What he was intending is more easily seen in the case of the hurricane; “To say that ‘the hurricane rotates’ is nonsense. As he elaborates, the hurricane is a word that we define, and by the way that words impart a local existence and local behaviour to something which is inextricably included in a dynamic unity, we start to regard the named entity as capable of its own behaviour, which is a radically flawed over-simplification that depends on our imposing absolute space as a reference frame to synthetically lend ‘localness’ and ‘locally originating behaviour’ to what is intrinsically a flow-feature within the common flow-medium.
Poincare could have carried that further and noted that this is the same radically-flawed over-simplification that we habitually apply to the ‘human self’ and to the ‘cell’ and the ‘organism’.
What’s the point?
ORGANIZATION COMES FROM THE OUTSIDE.
And before ‘language’ starts getting me in trouble here, I would like to clarify that I am NOT assuming euclidian space wherein the ‘outside’ and the ‘inside’ of any imaginary line/surface bounded form is mutually exclusive of the ‘outside’. As Poincare further says, Euclidian space is nothing like the space of our experience; i.e. the space of our experience is ‘relative’. If we take a circular loop of string and hold it in the palm of our hand, we would say it is ‘outside’ of us. But if we cut the loop, swallowed one end of it and injested enough so that we could gather it as it exited from our anus and then re-tied the loop. Would that loop be ‘outside of us’ or ‘inside of us’? Fuzzy logic (both/and) would be needed here. The ‘inside-outside’, ‘self-other’ split does not appear to be a hard and fast either/or (logic of the excluded middle) separation.
Now, if that string can be both inside and outside at the same time then so could a circular flow of nutrients, as in the case of fish in a small pond where there is circular flow of nutrients (energy in different forms), the nutrients being dissolved or in suspension in the water, entering through the fish’s mouth and after being modified in passage, exiting into the all-included body of water where it similarly enters into other organisms and after being modified in passage rejoins the common body of watery flow. Once we let go of the Aristotelian logic and Euclidian space notions of mutual exclusion of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the door is open to think of the ‘organism’ (in this case, ‘fish’ or ‘human’) as a kind of torus that forms in the flow, as some ancients conceived of man; e.g;
If we suspend our habit of imposing the abstract conventions of logic of the excluded middle and the imposing of absolute Euclidian space on this view of the organism, then there are no longer any ‘reasoned arguments’ for splitting apart the hourglass-shaped material being from the circulating flow it gathers within.
In fact, this would make even more sense if we included in the picture, many small toruses as models for algae and big toruses for fish. The water would contain within it particles in suspension of two different colours, red and blue and in passing through the fish, the balance of red and blue would be shifted in the direction of increasing blue-to-red ratio, but in the case of the algae, the balance of red and blue would be shifted in the direction of increasing the red-to-blue ratio. We would then have an ecosystem of the Mach’s principle type; “The dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”
This model could also be used for ‘the economy’ and in fact, studies of ‘exceptionally performing teams’, discussed elsewhere, suggest teams (enterprise initiatives) if they conceive of themselves in this conjugate habitat-inhabitant relational manner, as being sustained by letting their behaviours be orchestrated by the community dynamic they are included in, are likely to thrive.
Let’s not forget that this NON-culturally approved view, wherein the dynamic of space and matter are ‘one dynamic’ (one spatial-relational dynamic), which is consistent with the physics of relativity, is made possible by our suspending our acculturated habit of imposing absolutist logic of the excluded middle and the notion of ‘absolute space’.
But we don’t like to have to think of the loop of string being, at the same time, both inside and outside of our body. It confuses the logic of inside and outside that we like to use, which is the logic of the excluded middle.
Whatever our preferences, our choice of logic conventions and space conventions makes a radical difference to our worldview.
If we stick with our view in which organisms are local God-like entities (‘local systems with their own locally originating, internal-process driven behaviours’), then we are going to have to model ‘order’ and ‘organization’ in a very different way than if we opened the door to ‘inclusive [both/and] logic’ and ‘non-euclidian [relative] space’ wherein dynamics imply a conjugate extrinsic-intrinsic [habitat-inhabitant] relation, as in the above animated torus graphic.
In this case, if I say ORGANIZATION COMES FROM THE OUTSIDE, there is no need to interpret this in the sense that ORGANIZATION DOES _NOT_ COME FROM THE INSIDE, since outside and inside are in conjugate relation (flip sides of the same coinage).
In our western culture worldview, each organism is a God-like local system, so how, then, are we to understand the organization in nature? One way would be according to the notion of a ‘food chain’ (today, we more often speak of food-webs to capture the ecosystem aspect). If we define things in terms of what injests what, then it is clear that man can eat most things but the reverse is not generally true (men do get eaten by boas, alligators, bears, these are exceptions). Man’s G0d-like power allows him to consume or make use of the others so that man is at the head of the greater-lesser ranking of organisms. This is consistent with religious views of where man ranks such as that of St. Augustine who based his on the relative likeness to God. His hierarchy is; ‘God, angels, man, animals, plants, minerals’.
In any case, by not allowing the concept of ecosystemic interdependence to contribute to our model of organization (we disallow it by assuming the ‘independence’ and ‘local existence’ of organisms and states), we are forced to use a hierarchical source of organization. Our ‘simulation’ of organization in nature, constrained by our choice of conventions, the logic of the excluded middle and absolute Euclidian space-framing, then constrains our view of organization across the species to ‘competition’ amongst the diverse multiplicity of ‘independent’ organisms. That is, we can’t use this flow-based mutually supportive scenario to explain organization in nature since that would require us to suspend our imposing of ‘either/or’ logic convention and its partner in crime, absolute Euclidian space, which endows its inhabitants with ‘localness’ and ‘locally originating behaviour’.
This standard western schema for portraying ‘organization’ as arising from local force leaves no choice for organizations composed entirely of God-like humans, to impose some kind of empowerment hierarchy on the humans so that a mechanical drive train can be established wherein one part drives those below it and is driven by those above it. That people ‘go along with this’ derives from their knowledge of the huge amplification of power that comes from it (e.g. the might of a massive army that follows the direction of its ‘chain of command’). Thomas Mann speaks to this ‘organizational ethic’ in ‘Mario and the Magician’ written in 1929 as an observation of the rise of fascism in Europe;
“The capacity for self-surrender, he said, for becoming a tool, for the most unconditional and utter self-abnegation, was but the reverse side of that other power to will and to command. Commanding and obeying formed together one single principle, one indissoluble unity; he who knew how to obey knew also how to command, and conversely; the one idea was comprehended in the other, as people and leader were comprehended in one another.”
The solution, then, when one thinks of oneself in God-like terms, as a ‘local system with its own local behaviour’, is to accept a role-play in the family of Gods. This then gives us the ‘Kingdom’ game based on familiar role-plays, the King and Queen and the ‘nobility’ etc. all the way down to the simple peasant.
It is not to be overlooked that Shakespeare’s Hamlet’ occurs in the Kingdom of Denmark and he is deeply caught up in the role-plays and the Machiavellian intrigues that associate with this authoritarian hierarchy form of organization. Being captive inside of this organization is the source of Hamlet’s anxiety expressed;
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Such a nihilist statement would never be heard amongst those embracing the Amerindian mode of organization which understands relations between things as ‘interdependent’ and ‘mutually supportive’ as in an ecosystem. To the Amerindian, there are no ‘states’ and there is no superior-inferior hierarchy of rank.
Of course western analysts who see the Amerindian organization with Chiefs-and-Indians are free to interpret this relationship as a hierarchy of authority, but they will do the same in a marine ecosystem, portraying the big fish as being higher up the ‘food chain’ than the littler fish, the algae and plankton and phytoplankton etc. as lower in the food chain.
In presenting the ‘exceptionally-performing team’, to the eye of the western analytical mind of the manager, the ‘successful performance’ will immediately be broken down in terms of ‘who are the major contributors’; i.e. who are the big fish and who are the minnows. Seeing the team’s performance in terms of resonances in their conjugate habitat-inhabitant relations is not an option in analytical inquiry. Analytical inquiry starts off by seeng the system as a local, independent system with its own locally originating, internal-process-directed behaviour’, thus questions about performance are formulated in terms of which internal components and processes are ‘most responsible’ for the strong performance.
This is the wrong question, but it will always lead to an answer; i.e. one can always make assessments and allocate proportionate causal responsibility to each participant. But this fails to recognize that the community dynamic the system is included in, will accommodate some intrusions (inhabitant-dynamics) more receptively than others, just as water will accommodate some boat-intrusions more receptively than others, and if the ‘intruder’ (the dynamics of the inhabitant) is sensitive to this, the intrusion can be ‘tuned’ so that it is provoking the most receptive accommodating on the part of the dynamic medium in which the inhabitant is included. This is akin to ‘impedance-matching’ and it is the cultivating of resonances in the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation. Wildgeese employ it to move through the turbulence of the air, cultivating and sustaining resonance in the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation so that they go farther and faster for less expenditure of energy than they could ever achieve in solo model. We spontaneously use it in crowd dynamics (interpermeating people dynamics). It does not lend itself to analytical inquiry because the performance of the individual is not explainable in terms of the performance being attributable to the individual, seen as a local system with its own locally originating behaviour. The performance derives from the resonance in the conjugate relation. This constitutes a ‘nonlinear system’ and nonlinear systems must be solve ‘in toto’ (over the full habitat-inhabitant [suprasystem-system] dynamic complex) rather than by part.
Our worldview changes substantially if we suspend our western habit of imposing the conventions of either/or logic and absolute Euclidian space. We can then see beyond the notion of our ‘self’ as a local system with its own locally originating, intellect-and-purpose-directed behaviour’. We can then stop infusing God-like powers into cells and organisms and sovereign states and give the habitat its due credit for influencing form behaviour and organization (that is, we can continue to do it [over-simplification can have practical utility if we don’t let the tool run away with the workman] but this time without confusing it for reality). As in the animated gif of the torus, we can acknowledge that outside and inside rather than being two mutually exclusive absolute regions, are in conjugate relation; i.e. flow can imply inside and outside, as when convection cells form in heated water and the dynamics of the ‘cell’ attracts our attention while we at the same time lose our mental grip on the dynamics of the medium which is parenting the cell. Thus our habit is to define and name-label the cell and to PERSONIFY it (in the same ‘local system with its own local behaviour’ as is our western view of our ‘self’. The natural primacy of the dynamic medium is lost in this process and the sourcing of the dynamic is fully invested in the reified, personified local feature in the flow, as if it was a Ding-an-sich (thing in itself).
[[Now, here’s where you get a chance to ‘check yourself out’ as discussed at the beginning, to see whether you missed taking something into account as you contemplated Hamlet’s plight and his notion of life being ‘a role-play’ that signified nothing.]]
Did you put yourself in Hamlet’s shoes and wonder about whether life is really like that WITHOUT acknowledging that Hamlet’s troubles associated with the politics that characterize the pinnacles of power; i.e. this stuff was going on close to the King in a Kingdom, in a state where social organization is by authoritarian power hierarchy, wherein, it is often been said that ‘power corrupts’? Or did your thought process leave out the authoritarian hierarchy as a background ‘given’ even though Hamlet’s reflection was on the grand topic of ‘life’?
In other words, is one’s ‘life’ like a role-play, a character in a stage play where one postures with other role-players and things get all heated up and some players get shot and others die for their beliefs and the curtain draws and the next set of role-players come on stage. Or, IS LIFE IN AN AUTHORITARIAN CONTROL HIERARCHY like a role-play?
Had Hamlet been an ‘anarchist’, he might have said, all this authoritarian control system breeds is corruption. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and is it ‘the state’, … this ‘statism’, this authoritarian hierarchy with its artificial pecking order and class divisions. Statism has to go. Authoritarian hierarchy has to go. We must come together and organize in a new way, without imputing a God-like power to exist in every life-form so that we can ignore the interdependence that our experience informs us is inherent in nature’s ceaselessly innovative influencing of form, behaviour and organization. This ‘other way’ can be something more along the lines of;
“Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women. “ – Friedrich Engels, speaking of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois five nations).
Should we accept our western culture as a given when we reflect on life and thus assume that life (in any/all cultures) is like that of;
“… a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
Or should we, when we contemplate this, at least open up our inquiry to give some attention to the role of our culture as the provocateur of these role-plays. Is a ‘kingdom’ (statism) a natural form of organization? No, because it follows from our habit of imputing God-like power to features in the flow, as in our Aristotelian convention of seeing our ‘self’ and all ‘life-forms’ as ‘local systems with their own locally originating, internal process-driven behaviours’ (ultimate or absolute ‘first cause’ sourcing of behaviour).
If it turns out that you bypassed the (a) option in the mental branching (described roughly as follows), then you would have ‘jumped right over’ something important on the way to your inquiry. That is, you might have gone directly to either (a) or to (b) but chances are (loyal stalwart of authoritarian control systems) you went directly to (b);
(a) Captive of a dysfunctional culture that imposes behavioural protocols (role-playing)
“Wait a minute, Hamlet is talking about his life as if it were anyone’s life; i.e. he does not stop to dwell on his living in the craziness at the top of a power hierarchy where the climbers on all the ladders leading to the top (including his uncle), are held up by one and the same thing, the guy at the top (his father). The authoritarian hierarchy, its pecking orders and class divisions, its assessments of who is superior and who is inferior, that everyone is held captive to, are clearly a driving source of the social dysfunction that he finds himself caught up in. This dysfunctional system asks everyone to sing praise when the Kingdom’s flag is raised. They ask everyone to go to war and give one’s life if ‘your King’ thinks that war is a good idea. They ask everyone to play the role of the faithful servant, to publicly profess loyalty to God and the King and by so doing, swear an oath of allegiance to this corrupting system and commit to paying taxes to the King however excessive and unfair they are.” It’s enough to spawn tales of anti-culture heros like Robin Hood.
(b) Captive of life itself which is innately hollow and empty
” Hamlet is talking about me and you and everyone. Our behaviours are not free. Whether we are a farmer or a husband, our fortune makes us captive to roles and behavioural protocols which come to each of us via God’s roll of the dice. Once fate pigeonholes us in a category, it becomes difficult if not impossible to escape. How easy is it to escape from being a serf to rise to knighthood or to becoming one of the King’s courtiers? How easy is it to become King even if one is within arm’s reach of it.
If we go directly to (b) we ignore inquiry into whether the problem stems from culture rather than from ‘life itself’. This indicates that the ‘western cultural imprint’ has ‘done a job on us’ since it is the authoritarian power hierarchy that is the source of the role-plays. The role-plays correspond to cogs in the machine since that is the organizing principle of an authoritarian social system. When organization is by control from the top, it must cascade down through layers that range from big wheels to little cogs.
That is not the only cultural option. The land (the natural habitat) can be seen as the opening of spatial possibility that orchestrates the behaviour of those included in it in the manner that the oasis and the fertile valley draw people in from out of the desert. The inductive opening of spatial possibility is the extrinsic influence that invites the emergence of (human) community and as the community dynamic takes shape, the opening of spatial possibility orchestrates the participation of others who become part and parcel of the continuously evolving and complexifying community, which continues to open new spatial possibilities which continue to bring in and bring to blossom, creative/productive potentialities of others. It is the opening of spatial possibility that not only orchestrates the behaviour of the incoming participants, but creates community. There are no role-plays here, there is healthy situational learning, development arising from the coniunctio of the opening of spatial possibility and the blossoming of creative/productive potentialities (those who evolve in this manner are entirely unlike those who move up and down through the ‘snakes-and-ladders’ game of role-play that characterize authoritarian organization).
But wait a couple of generations as things activity patterns begin to ‘stabilize’. Then the way is clear to apply our analytical skills to what is already in place (Recall how Newton said that his laws of mechanics only described things (orbits, dynamics in general) once they were already in place but were not capable of informing on how things gathered together in the way they did.) Those people who believe that community is deterministically constructed by the assertive actions of the participants seen as local systems with their own locally originating, intellect-and-purpose directed behaviour will soon have things ‘running backwards’, and crediting the rich and powerful in the community for having brought this all about. (Who else? That is, if one models community as a structure that is determined by the actions of its citizens (leaving out its extrinsically influenced origins), then the standard analytical process will be to assess the relative contributions of the participants, and the notion of a causally responsible hierarchy, implicit or otherwise, will be the inevitable fallout of this analytical process). If you became a plumber because your community needed a plumber (because of the opening of spatial-possibility) and because you wanted to participate in the co-evolution of community, then when the city manager is hired and he sees you one of the lackeys or commodity skills the founding fathers directed as they built the community, then you are likely to feel ‘betrayed’ and rightly so. You were much more than a machine part, as you will appear to be in a purely analytical inquiry that looks at community as a ‘local system with its own locally originating internal-process driven behaviour’, and breaks it down into components to explain its functioning (as a Ding-an-sich).
Having to live one’s life in a role-play is characteristic of an authoritarian hierarchy, but it does not arise within a culture where individuals understand their behaviour as being orchestrated by the dynamics of space they share inclusion in. Hamlet, at least in the play by the same name, takes for granted the Kingdom’ (authoritarian power hierarchy) and its characteristic behaviour corrupting tensions. What he is really saying, then, is;
“Within this accursed cultural contrivance, this authoritarian control hierarchy with its power to induce class divisions and bestow on everyone imputations of superiority and inferiority, its cultivating of a lust for power that corrupts the most innocent into Dark Princes of Machiavellian deviousness, which asks us to believe in the bullshit notion that it is God’s roll of the dice that slots us into the hierarchy of pigeon-hole within it, … within this Godforsaken role-play-rat-hole, Life [i.e. the life of the poor unfortunates trapped within such a bullshit culture] is but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”
* * *
footnote: The ‘Kingdom’ is like the ‘sovereign state’ and like science’s ‘local system with its own locally originating behaviour’ in that it assumes a local point from whence there is absolute first-cause sourcing of behaviour. This notion is a theological notion. There is nothing in our experience that supports local first-cause sourcing of behaviour. One has to impute that the ‘local things’ is ‘inhabited by a God’ to make this idea ‘work’. In an energy-flow continuum, as is how the new physics portrays the universe, the notion of a local source is non-sensical. There are ‘singularities, the ‘sinks’ and ‘sources’ where contours close, but these apply to surfaces such as where water disappears as it ‘inwells’ down into a vortex or where water appears as it ‘outwells’ up out of a boil in the flow. One can think of energy-flow in this manner; e.g. from visible kinetic energy associated with matter to invisible potential energy associated with space. When we consider the social organization we call the Kingdom, whether or not the sourcing of behaviour is alleged to derive from the local system known as ‘the King’ or whether the King is seen as the local point through which the people are expressing themselves, we are still not taking account of the space in which the King and the people share inclusion. The ‘Kingdom’, then, is an anthropocentric organizational concept and it implies an intellect-directed behavioural dynamic. The Sovereign State is the same thing, but it goes farther and bundles within it the notion of ‘land ownership’. If you can steal enough land and hold on to it, you can make yourself King. In Chuang Tzu’s words
Teaching love and duty
provides a fitting language
with which to prove that robbery
is really for the general good.
A poor man must swing,
for stealing a belt buckle,
But if a rich man steals a whole state
He is acclaimed as statesman of the year.
Hence, if you want to hear the very best speeches
on love, duty, justice, etc.,
listen to statesmen…
Localness is an abstract quality. The existence of a Kingdom SETS THE STAGE for a lot of tomfoolery. The ‘stage’ allows local sourcing of dynamic behaviour and organization (ignores extrinsic influence). Stealing land and installing a King not only allows for local sourcing of behaviour but sets up a top-to-bottom gradient for the development of a system of role-plays. The whole organizational dynamic can be thus reversed from what is natural; i.e. what is natural is the emergence of form, behaviour and organization derives from the dynamics of habitat. As Chuang Tzu’s remarks testify, authoritarian control based social organization was not confined to the west, but the use of land-grabs for setting up new ‘colonial Kingdoms’ was the tactic of the western European Kings that continues to prevail today, in a thinly veiled way.
The ‘bottom line’ is that Shakespeare’s reference to a life of meaningless role-play is an attack on authoritarian control based social organization. What is rotten in the state of Denmark is the ‘state’, the ‘statist’ system of social organizing.
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