Thursday 9 March 2023

Alone with-God and against The World. What is the basis of human cooperation?

The problem of human cooperation only became 'a problem' through history; because (it seems) in early human societies Men regarded themselves as primarily part of the family and community within-which they were born.

But now, insofar as Men introspect, we experience ourselves as cut-off, alienated - and we presume others are the same. How to get individuals to cooperate is one problem, and another is that the group is understood (and, often, experienced) as intrinsically hostile to the individual. 

Me versus the world, and the world versus me...

Which means that groupishness is, must be, imposed upon individuals - even when this is for the long-term benefit of the individual, this still opens-up an ideal that 'everybody else' should work for the group while we our-selves (covertly...) selfishly exploit the situation. 

Thus we get the actuality of totalitarianism; whereby groupishness is imposed, top-down and by a mixture of coercion and propaganda - yet the rationale for such imposition is merely expedient (i.e. because the alternative as a chaos of each against all, in which civilization collapses instantly). 

The choice is between coerced order and chaos - and the choice is made on selfish grounds (i.e. an evaluation and choice of that circumstance in which I am most likely, personally, to do best)

In other words; the implication of modern experience and explanations at the individual level is that ideally each person should be a hypocritical psychopath - hypocritically expounding altruism and groupishness for other-people, while (covertly) selfishly exploiting this situation for oneself. 

...In other words; exactly the hypocritical behaviour of the typical modern leader - whether in politics, the mass media, corporations, or any institution such as a charity, a school/ hospital/ army/ or whatever. 

...A superficial ideology of altruism and public-good covering a core ruthless and exploitative careerism and hedonism. 

This is our situation: i.e. a cynical, arbitrary, purposeless and meaningless totalitarianism.. Top-down and coercive arbitrary order is imposed on individuals at every level and scale - because there is (believed to be) no other possible basis for groupishness. 

And the analysis is self-fulfilling over time; because all actual human groups become subverted by this understanding; such that all actual institutions are indeed assimilated to the totalitarian whole, and behave as such. 

Yet, while our consciousness - and all the modern explanatory schemes - regard humanity as a collection of individuals; there is also a suspicion of, or hope for, some kind of spontaneous (not imposed) groupishness - although its basis is typically unclear; and the available explanations tend to be unconvincing hence weakly motivating. 

We 'know' that there really is a groupishness among Men; but we cannot explain it - at least not in a way that convinces both ourselves, and others. 

Traditional Christian explanations - such as that all Men are children of God, and have a shared divinity - have lost their power to motivate. 

Indeed the churches use these groups explanations to justify totalitarian goals! As when the parable of The Good Shepherd is said to support mass immigration, "the feeding of the five thousand" to justify bureaucratic communism, and the interests of the people of God are said to mean obedience to "the church" and its current-actual leadership.

The answer is twofold: 

To understand groupishness from an individual perspective - intuitively from-within, where that understanding cannot be touched by worldly totalitarian imperatives. 

And to understand groupishness spiritually such that the material corruption of this world cannot corrupt or otherwise affect it. 

This is a very extreme stance, by world historical standards - but it is exactly the corruption of the world that leads to the need for it. 

It regards our cut-off individualism as a fact; but moves beyond the negative aspects that have led to totalitarianism in the public sphere. 

Since we really-are cut-off in the public sphere - this means we can and should disregard the public sphere in our explanations and understandings. 

On the one hand, totalitarian groupishness is merely external, because it cannot (exactly because we are cut-off in consciousness) penetrate to our inner self-experience. On the other hand; from this state of inner cut-offness, we can strive to discover an understanding of our groupishness that we find to be real and true. 

Even as we are inwardly cut-off from the old spontaneous groupishness; we are also cut-off from the new totalitarian groupishness. 

We can revel in our absolute independence from the imposed evils of physical control and psychological manipulation! 

That which makes us alone, also makes us free. 

Thus one individual person can stand, if he chooses, with-God and against The World: silently indomitable. 


agraves said...

That which makes us alone also makes us free! Hopefully over time, one can come to understand and accept their aloneness and what it means for our spiritual development. There is no development without struggle. In a way it appears to me that this kind of work is something one is born for and not something you decide to do. No matter what the conditions of your life present, the spiritual goal is present and actively guiding you.Thank you

Francis Berger said...

"We can revel in our absolute independence from the imposed evils of physical control and psychological manipulation! That which makes us alone, also makes us free. Thus one individual person can stand, if he chooses, with-God and against The World: silently indomitable."

That's a spot on way of describing spiritual freedom and what it means to be "free for" God.