Posts tagged power

Posted 2 years ago

Pulling Down The Pyramid

Through generation after generation of living in authoritarian structures, we have been bred to believe the only way to govern ourselves is through hierarchies or States. All systems look like the great pyramid, with a single person or small group at the top, who delineate small pieces of power to subordinates, who then delineate further until the common person merely exists to support the others standing on top. This happens in almost all social aspects of life - most religious structures, forms of government, education systems, and employment structures operate in this nature.

Because we are confronted first with this idea from childhood, by the time we reach early adulthood, we are already predisposed to recognize and respond to symbols of authority in certain ways. Though the concept takes a long time to learn, the symbols are simple: A person in blue is a police officer, meant to keep us safe from bad people. A person in business attire is someone we can trust, because he or she is successful. A man with a hat or collar is someone we should listen to when he speaks on matters of faith, because he knows spirituality.

Long before we could rationalize or understand these symbols, we were already indoctrinated to believe that police officers and elected officials have our best interests at heart. We were nurtured on the idea the people we delegate power to will represent our interests, and the people society deems successful should be the ones we cast our votes for. We give these people our money, votes and confidence because we see the symbols of success and believe the bearers of those marks will lead us to our perceived promised land. That is why we give them our confidence.

The first step to self determination is to see through the structure of symbols and break our conditioned response. To do this we need only remember that no matter how elegant the Emperor’s clothes, no matter how tough the uniforms of his enforcers – we are all born in the same way – naked, screaming and yearning for life.