Thursday, December 19, 2013

On the Nature of Power, Relationships, and Roles

IMPETUS: 

"I feel sometimes when a set of beliefs or ideologies take root in a society, the opposition loses its voice, and struggles to exist, especially when it comes to politics . The party with the louder voice and deeper pockets can direct what is shared with the masses, and in doing so, is able to condition minds. You see it enough, you start believing it." The aforementioned, from a previous conversation, inspired the following:
MUSINGS:

In some cases the opposition arises due to an ideology, only to undermine and displace it or to exhaust itself in its efforts to do so. In other instances they merge, and in others still, they collide - annihilating each other - making room for new emergent standards to spring forth in their stead. There always seems to be a struggle between "what ought to be" and "what ought to be."

So, is what's taking roots the adversary or is what's resisting them - that is to say, the agent of change or its "opposition"? Don't both parties act out from a place of perceived necessity? How are either all that different from one another? They are equally unwavering on their terms as they are flexible. Both have been aggressor and defender towards one another. They feed off of and oppose one another. While they may have some things in common both seem in disapproval of and threatened by the other's presence. It's everyone feeling pressured from their (and one another's) life situations; situations presumed outside of their control. It's your being, my being, and their being all constantly brushing past, narrowly missing, rubbing up against, and colliding into each other. It's an ongoing exchange. Those pressures are real. We react to those pressures with varying degrees of firmness and pliability - we must. If one becomes too rigid or strictly convicted to a code of behavior, ideal, moral code, paradigm, point of view, standard, value - ignoring or unaware that it is in their 'human nature' to ADAPT - they will collapse under pressure. If one becomes too pliant or loosely convicted - also forgetting their adaptability - they will similarly collapse under pressure. We spend our lives contributing to the pressure, either naturally or as modeled. What you've described is an example of how this behavior is made to benefit politics, which is just one, albeit a very influential, area of our lives.


It brings to mind Edward Louis Bernays and how he theorized the importance of appealing to the desires and unrecognized longings of people, so to "tap into their deepest desires or their deepest fears," for one's own profit. It strikes me simply as an intentional play (and prey) on people's convictions, with the aim that in leveraging them, one might set the people apart from or at odds with each other. When people must constantly prove and improve their value (i.e. self-worth) - acquiring, attaining, defending or maintaining their positions (image or status) - they have little time to evaluate what's influencing their behavior, that is to say what's triggering their desire to think and do as they choose.

Essentially, everyone or thing is competing for space: consolidating, expanding, or sustaining personal space. This jostling about exerts force on neighboring space, the effect of which is the pressure felt by competing forces that occupy that space; forces that are either taking roots or resisting them. The #1 natural resource is human 'being', namely, public opinion. Pressure is the means by which the resource is both extracted and steered. As Bernays described, by tapping into people's deepest desires & fears you motivate them to react. Similarly, if you appeal to their "good nature" you'll also prompt a response. However, by appealing to their desires & fears you'll prompt a response at the level of their insecurities. That's an appeal to the instability, uncertainty, or peril that lurks within the darkest recesses of human consciousness. That challenges a person's irrational tendencies and can be perceived as an imminent threat to their self-image or actual self. That, in turn, prompts the urgency towards self-preservation (aka fear), and that is an effective incentive - what you've identified as "condition[ing]." Which is precisely what it is, a condition that we find ourselves in. So, while we all seem to have personal realities within 'a' reality, all are governed by the limitations that are or are not in place. We operate from within those conditions. Where there is an opportunity to improve upon one's condition, they will. Which may be part of the reason why humans are competitive. In the belief that life is somehow finite, ending in death, we tirelessly compete for some sense of certainty in otherwise uncertain conditions. We conceptualize certainty in our attempts to rationalize life and the thereafter. Some believe in an afterlife, reincarnation, or nothing at all, while others put their stock in science. Death, however, remains the greatest uncertainty of all, from which all other doubts arise. And so, this remains the womb of our insecurity.

Imagine the possibilities of using the base insecurity of human beings (i.e. their sense of mortality) to inform their actions and decisions. If you create certain conditions (i.e apply varying pressure to elicit behavioral responses), you can proceed to identify the outcomes. In time outcomes may be predicted with greater accuracy, if not eventually, determined all-together. From this place a person or persons may exploit the prevalent behavioral patterns, either in their awareness of existing patterns or their engineering of new ones. I'm sure those are "the loud voice and deeper pockets" of whom you speak; those that concern themselves solely with the modification of public opinion and all that's yielded from it. All of us participate in the exchange to some degree or another. All give and take no more nor less than each 'believe' they require; some taking roots and others resisting. It's only when one's existing "set of beliefs, ideologies" are threatened by predominant or oppositional beliefs that it becomes an imposition to the affected party, one worth stating. This is where an extinction or redress occurs; where things may be brought more fully back into balance, where the momentum shifts, or where we start from scratch...I presume.

Be Well, Loved Ones...

Albert

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