Tuesday 17 September 2013

Beyond the tipping point: when institutions become un-reformable


There is a big difference between an attitude that things are terrible, getting worse: let's try and set that right; and a realization that things are terrible, getting worse, and there is no realistic possibility of improvement.


In relation to institutions, my adult life has been a gloomy series of enlightenments that one after another of the institutions in which I was involved and towards which I felt loyal was not just terrible, but un-reformable.

So, this would apply to the National Health Service, the medical profession, science, Universities, State schools, the Civil Service, the Church of England and to the United Kingdom as an entity - and England specifically.


The final recognition typically came from a sequence of sub-recognitions - first about how bad things were and that they were getting worse, then a historical insight that this process had apparently been at work for some decades, then a realization that the majority of the people in the institutions (especially the leaders) approved the changes and regarded corruption as progress, then the final nail of perceiving that the collective will of these institutions had actively (albeit limply) embraced the spirit of self-corruption and suicide.


Typically, there was a sudden realization of being in a minority of one (well, there might be another few minorities of one scattered here and there throughout the organization, but typically low in the hierarchy and on the verge of retirement).

There was a realization of not speaking on behalf of anybody else.


Whether radical or reactionary, anyone taking an active role in trying to shape an organization must feel they are genuinely speaking on behalf of legitimate authority within that organization - but when there is no legitimate authority, then he is silenced: necessarily, since he can with honesty claim only to be speaking for himself.

Of course, in a rational world he would be able to speak on behalf of the divine order even against a majority of the rest of the world (as with some of the prophets); but that is impossible when the church is itself part of the corruption: in such circumstances anything truthful a prophet says will be taken as idiosyncratic subjective preference, enlightened self-interest, sheer destructive evil, or evidence of insanity.


An organization may be very-probably un-reformable in terms of the inter-dependent complexity of its corruption; but still in theory a sufficiently insightful, good, powerful leader might be able to cleanse the stables.

However, once an institution, a nation, consists almost entirely of the corrupt who embrace corruption; once people have got used to regarding bad and good and good as bad - then that entity is un-reformable.

It will collapse, it may be destroyed before it collapses; the function it should perform must be done by something else or it will not be done at all.

Something from outside the entity will intervene at some point to replace it - and if all around the entity shares in its un-reformability - then the 'outside' intervention will necessarily be extremely 'alien' to that entity, because only the alien could be sufficiently free from the layer upon layer of corruption.

How could it be otherwise? One way or another something very different (but not necessarily better, probably worse) will prevail. 


Note: The 'tipping point' here is usually only seen in retrospect, and does not have a formulaic definition: it is that point at which an institution has some combination of factors such as leadership, majority, internal structure, internal propaganda, recruitments and appointments and promotions and redundancy practices etc at which it becomes solidly-commited to its own corruption and destruction, at which this becomes irreversible for lac of any counter-constituency. After this tipping point has been reached, any remaining persons who (for example) try to be honest, or loyal to the institution's original function, will be ignored, starved of privileges, actively-suppressed, or expelled from the organization and replaced with corruptible or already-corrupted personnel.


Anonymous said...

Once you have concluded that not just the institution you've worked for but the entire culture is in terminal decay and there's nothing you or anyone else can do that might stop the rot in even the most obscure particular, then what?

Well, beyond disengagement and mere pessimism lies passivity. For my part, I've got rid of the television, weeded out any book (from my "library") that I'll never read again, and more or less retired into a world of music.

Obviously, I venture into the world wide web from time to time: I still have a computer. I don't despise all the technological apparatus of modern life. But the consolation of music, not philosophy or religion, is a comfort on the journey to death, I think.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Alex - Being a Christian means that pessimism (that is, a probablistic expectation that things will get worse) is perfectly compatible with *hope* - because hope is 'not of this world' - and the good things of this world are interpretated founded as temporary and partial experiences of things which will potenitally be much fuller, more satisfying, more enduring in the future - glimpses and foreshadowings of better things to come.

From a nihilistic perspective, in which one's own personal feelings are the only reality - then some strategy as that which you outline is a logical consequence - to divert oneself as plasantly as possible, stay comfortable, try to escape suffering...

except that sooner or later these all will fail and then suicide becomes the 'logical' thing to do - and then once this is accepted as inevitable, and the risks of life are contemplated, then suicide sooner rather than later becomes the rational solution to a deterioriating situation...

Before concluding *that*, it is therefore essential to examine your rejection of Christianity - to make sure it is rock solid..

Are you really *sure* that Christianity cannot be true? (Not that it is certainly true, nor even than it is true on balance of probabilities - but that it cannot be true.)

Because the logical/ rational implications of rejecting Christianity are pretty much as above. And almost anything seems preferable to that! - so you should only accept it if you are sure that Christianity cannot be true.

Titus Didius Tacitus said...

"So, this would apply to the National Health Service, the medical profession, science, Universities, State schools, the Civil Service, the Church of England and to the United Kingdom as an entity - and England specifically."

England is a geographic expression; I don't see how it is an institution.

The English are probably in too much trouble demographically and politically (lacking a truthful self-awareness and self-will) to be called a nation any more, as minority-English Londonistan shows. But they are still a fraction of the white race. They are still an extended family.

Until they lose that - which they can through mass immigration and forced integration - everything that is wrong with them can be put right. A race is irredeemably corrupt when its genetics are reduced to noise, not when some institution through which it once knew itself and expressed itself becomes fatally corrupt.

Moreover an extended family, a race, has a totally different claim on loyalty and love, compared to any institution, even a church.

The elimination of one's race is never an acceptable goal or an acceptable outcome to a good human being.

What I mean by a good human being in this context is someone who is in conformity with the proper ends of humanity, just as a good dog is properly doggy and a good cat is a good mouser and does the other things that cats are for. A cat that insisted on being a vegetarian would simply be a bad cat. This is not the sort of thing that can be a choice, one has a given nature, and one has to recognize it.

In the same way, men are men and women are women and they ought to recognize it and act accordingly, and both men and women properly combine in families, and the proper end of a family is perpetuation. But it is inadequate to achieve that on its own, because the children need someone other than each other to marry. So a proper human nature has inherent ends that it must aim at, including a sustainably large extended family, that is a race, to be maintained perpetually. The effort is not optional.

This is unlike the loyalties one might owe "universities" or "the National Health Service" or a state or a political party. It was reasonable for a Slav to decide, "the Soviet Union is hopelessly corrupt and must be allowed to die" but it would have been inhuman for the same person to decide, "the Slavic race is hopelessly corrupt and must be allowed to die". Large bodies of related persons have claim on one's love that ideas crystallized as institutions do not.

That even applies to a church. The law is for the people, and not the people for the law. A church that - under whatever theoretical and theological cover - effectively says "that's it for you and all your breed" has no more claim to loyalty than the People's Temple of the Reverend Jim Jones. It must be mad; it cannot be holy. It is out of harmony with the given essences of things, and that makes it hollow and without spirit.

I suggest you reconsider your feelings about "England" and the English, your own blood, and add to your list of things a good church must have a positive attitude to the preservation of your race.

Bruce Charlton said...

@TDT - You must surely see that you are conflating an ought with an is? Clearly you believe that racial loyalty ought to be a strong factor in life and second only to religion - but that is just an assertion. Meanwhile, empirically speaking, what you say just is not true: by observation, the kind of racial loyalty for England that you speak of is weak to the point of invisibility, so weak that it has been flipped into its opposite. But even if racial loyalty was true, and if we were to allow that it was strong enough that it needed to be taken account of in social institutions; then that in itself does not make it a Christian priority - especially in the face of so much counter evidence in the New Testament which seems to me to advocate a move from ties of blood to adoptive ties of Christianity. And the subsequent experience of the Eastern Roman Empire showed that this was compatible with very strong Christianity combined with a multi-racial society (not, of course, one which ignores realities, but a society that combined all sorts of people). The problems of our psychotic society - including the so-called multi-culti aspects but not restricted to these - are a consequence of our apostasy from Christianity and descent into secular hedonic nihilism. If we were strongly Christian (a society in which Christian values ruled the public realm), we would hardly need to think of these matters, matters would be obvious - because we would not be suicidally mad as at present. There are no secular solutions to our situation; nothing useful can or will be done without a great awakening, a revival. But obviously I am not going to persuade you of this, since this is your bottom line - so I will close on that.