The Central Idea

This is part of the Systems Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism.
Also see Survey of the Central Idea, Consciousness or Materialism and Gaia or the Man Machine?.

Below is a general description of the central idea at the heart of this book. The idea is an extended analogy (or homology) between organisms and organisations, which is mapped out using system theory. It was briefly described in the introduction along with many of the related details but here the analogy itself will be presented in more detail. For some, this description may be all that is required to set in motion a sequence of realisations that will transform the way they understand and relate to their world. For others, the analogy may not become clear until more details are given and after much time has elapsed for the information to be integrated, however it is useful to keep this extended analogy in mind when approaching those details and going through the integration process.

To understand these ideas clearly and to fully comprehend their profound ramifications requires a paradigm shift away from simplistic traditional ways of thinking and seeing the world and towards more realistic ways. This is not just a minor intellectual idea that you can logically test against what the mind already knows and thereby discern it to be true or false. It involves a radical paradigm shift, which requires a reorienting of everything that we know about ourselves and the world. It involves looking at things from an entirely different perspective and thereby seeing them in a different way. We must approach it with an open-mind and look through the new paradigm at the world to see things anew and then test its coherence and explanatory power. We must test the analogy in our own lives and only then will we have tested it effectively.

First in brief. The ecosystem consists of all organisms including ourselves. It is the body of a planetary super-organism that some call Gaia and we organisms are cells within that body, just as organisms are cellular ecosystems. The large scale ecological dynamics involving climate, forests, mountain ranges and oceans comprise the overall physiological processes of that super-organism. The interactions between individual organisms comprise the detailed biochemical processes analogous to those between cells within an organism.

However we humans are rather specialised organisms because our interactions channel information and are therefore analogous to neurological processes. Our human interactions create society and culture which give rise to the mind of Gaia. Our informal culture, composed of individual communication and interaction, is Gaia's subconscious mind. Our power structures and the public discourse, composed of legislation, institutions, mass media and academia, are the conscious mind of Gaia. Mass media, diplomatic channels and telecommunications are the conduit of conscious thought for Gaia.

The feedback loops between mass communication and individual communication form the space in which culture resonates and comes to experience itself. Within this cultural/macro-cognitive scenario a collective ego has arisen that experiences itself as an individual being and uses society as “its body”. Just as within human organisms, which possess a complex self-reflective mind, an ego arises that experiences itself as an individual being and uses the organism as “its body”.

Whilst there are individuals and elites seeking to dominate and exploit, things aren't that simple, they are the most conditioned by the collective ego, which is manifesting through them the most strongly. There is a deeper reason why whole populations allow themselves to be oppressed and have done so for thousands of years. The ego within each of us oppresses ourselves and forms into a collective ego that oppresses us all. This is an emergent systemic phenomenon that is far older and more powerful than anything any small group of humans could create and sustain. All the conspiracies and politics are just symptoms of this phenomenon and not its real cause. Civilisation has gone through cycle after cycle of regimes and revolutions, with great suffering and destruction, and this is perhaps our last chance to break out of that loop and move on to something new.

The more control that the collective ego gains over “its body” the more we organisms become enslaved in a subtle yet all pervasive totalitarian regime. It imposes its perspective and drives the situation in pursuit of its agendas, thereby destroying the fabric of both the society and the ecosystem. Just as the human ego conceives of the ramifications of its abuses as 'ill-health' and 'ageing', so too does the collective ego fail to comprehend the true cause and only seeks to eradicate the symptoms in order to continue pursuing its agendas.

As cells within this collective organism our interactions are its metabolic processes, which make it what it is. If we are unconsciously manipulated we serve the collective ego but if we are aware we support the health of the super-organism. Through communicating our awareness we share it with others and spread the light of awareness. This casts out the shadows of ignorance, which returns the entire system to a state of balance and holistic health.

Now in a little more detail. An organisation is a collective organism. Metaphorically speaking the mind of an organism is the cultural space of a cellular civilisation and human culture is the mind of an organisation. The informal structure of human culture, composed of individual relationships, conversations, interactions, grass roots movements and so on, is the sub-conscious mind of the organisation. The formal structure of human culture, composed of authorised history (memory), academia (intellect), mass media (internal voice / psycho-babble), government / legislature (will) and so on, is the conscious mind of the organisation. The informal and formal structure are discussed in more detail {{later}}.

Within a mind or a culture the ego is the dominant regime, which is an emergent phenomena of the propaganda discourse and this defines the "collective identity". In society it cannot be simply equated with 'government' or a particular "ruling elite" just as in an organism it cannot be equated with any organ or group of cells. It emerges as a function of the whole mind and effects the whole organism.

In society it is a memeplex [{{FR}}] that permeates the entire cultural space; aspects of it can be seen in the ideologies of materialism, authoritarianism, capitalism, consumerism, nationalism, corporatism, pseudo-religion, Scientism (science wielded as a pseudo-religion), political correctness, economic rationalism and so on. It's root is naïve realism [{{FR}}], without which it could not have arisen and could not persist.

In an organism it is a memeplex of ideas based on naïve realist misconceptions, such as “I am the body” or “I am the mind” or “I am a person” or “I am a citizen” or “I am a worker” or “I own this and that” or “I am good or bad” or “I am lucky or unlucky” and so on. In this way the egoic memeplex fills the mind with egoic ideologies and permeates the cellular culture with egoic propaganda.

These ideologies or memes form into an integrated memeplex where each reinforces the others and they penetrate every level of the civilisation or the mind. In society the memeplex structures the entire system of government, bureaucracy, traditions and so on, thus a change of political parties is like a minor mood-swing that leaves the dominant regime (personality) intact. The memeplex within society permeates every institution and every interaction right down to almost every thought within every individual mind. So every aspect of the culture/mind is co-opted by the egoic regime's agenda.

The 'persona' is the ego's propaganda discourse, which is promulgated by the formal structure (conscious mind) and which permeates and manipulates the informal structure (subconscious mind). This forms a resonance of propaganda where each reinforces the other. The formal structure conditions the social norms which are reflected in the informal structure, which then expresses these back into the formal structure, thus they reinforce each other. Similarly the subconscious and conscious aspects of the mind reinforce each other.

When a regime or an ego observes the society or organism that they control, they only experience their conditioned perceptions from the regime's or ego's perspective within the formal culture or the conscious mind. Due to naïve realism the regime/ego unthinkingly assumes that its subjective perceptions are the objective reality so it thinks 'I' when it perceives the living system and it identifies with the system. It then develops a self-image, desires, aversions, agendas and value judgements that have little or nothing to do with the underlying system, but are centred around the regime's or ego's experience of I-ness. Then without understanding the living system and its needs it uses that system to pursue its agendas and satisfy its desires.

When a regime observes another regime or a person observes another person each experiences the egoic propaganda front or persona of the other. Due to naïve realism they accept what they experience as being the actual situation and thereby cannot discern the difference between a regime's propaganda, for example about “the nation” and the actual society, or between an ego's propaganda about “the person” and the actual organism. Hence the concepts of 'nation' and 'person' are products of collective confusion and are an unconscious agreement to treat the propaganda front as the actual reality.

Hence the ego is a centralised power structure arising within the mind that identifies with the organism, which is a civilisation of trillions of cells all of which are individual living beings who live out their lives within the body mostly oblivious to the ego. Similarly a collective ego is a civilisation's sense of self, which is a centralised power structure arising within the culture (public discourse, traditions, media, economy, government, churches, schools, etc) and that collective ego identifies with the society, which is a civilisation of millions of humans all of which are individual living beings who live out their lives within society mostly oblivious to the collective ego. We humans sense it only as a vague sense of collective identity but that is only from our perspective. From the regime's perspective it is the only entity and we are just specks within its body. This same perceptual misconception occurs between our own ego and cellular civilisation.

We know what it's like to be an individual within society but that is just one level of existence. To understand things deeply we must let go of the habit of thinking only on the level of human individuals because the universe operates on all levels from particles to galaxies and all systems have their subjective perspectives. We can however draw upon our human experiences and knowledge, then map this onto other levels whilst being cautious of personification because the other levels are not human. But the general systemic principles apply equally on all levels. All living systems suffer from illusion, craving, tension, fear and so in their own way and they respond to truth, contentment, relaxation, love and so on in their own way.

In this way we can use our experiences as individuals within society to imagine what it is like to be a cell within an organism where the ego is a regime that uses the body/mind to pursue its agendas and we can use our experiences as an individual with a body/mind to imagine what it is like to be a regime that uses a society/culture as its body/mind.

The mind serves an integrative function that is vital for collective coordination and serves as a focal point that enacts the collective will of the population. However when the collective ego identifies with the system and enforces its will in order to use the collective as "its body" it creates suffering, resistance and dissident messages from within. These it experiences as tension, anxiety, despair, pain and disease, which it tries to block out in order to continue pursuing its agendas. Whereas if the ego did not interfere with the integrative function and "give itself life", the underlying system would have otherwise enjoyed a natural healthy state of vitality and harmony. If a regime does not interfere with a culture and “give itself life” then the culture with all its institutions and processes serves only and integrative and facilitating function, then that society can enjoy a natural healthy state of vitality and harmony.

This 'natural' condition is the case of an open, just and responsive liberal socialist democracy where there are clear and open lines of communication between all levels of society and there is self-determination and self-organisation that is based on a memeplex of holistic well-being and cooperative participation. Whereas a domineering ego is like an authoritarian regime that imposes its will and ignores any dissent or suppresses it through coercion or deception or turns it to its advantage such as industries and institutions that profit enormously from war, civil unrest and mass deception and seek to encourage such things.

A true democracy is like an intuitive, sensitive, open minded and aware person that cares for themselves and others by seeking the root causes of problems and effectively resolving them. Whilst an authoritarian regime is like a strongly egoic person who either disciplines or neglects their body, who tolerates and adapts to growing tension and anxiety, who uses painkillers and other allopathic methods to cover up the problem rather than holistically heal it, who is outwardly focused on chasing agendas and desires and who is 'hard-headed' and unintuitive.

Furthermore, on a larger scale our global civilisation is like the nervous system of the planet (Gaia) and within this a power structure arises that is the global ego, where the national egos are sub-personalities. For thousands of years the nervous system (civilisation) has been evolving in complexity and connectivity. Where innovations such as language, writing, mathematics, telecommunications and computing are analogous to new forms of biochemical signalling between neurons. The system has now started to reach for unity (globalisation). The ego is becoming strong (especially through the American/Western sub-personality) and it is reaching for control over what it sees as "its body" (civilisation and the planet), but it is driven by fear and desire, and is using coercive authoritarian methods. In response the subconscious (human population) is being suppressed and becoming increasingly anxious. This fundamental breakdown of relations between the formal and informal structures of society is causing Gaia to be headed for a nervous breakdown. Hence we are all headed for a crisis of civilisation unless a critical mass of humans, organisations and nations awaken from the collective trance and bring some awareness into the situation.

The reach for global unity is an inevitable and important transition for Gaia that has been developing for thousands of years and could lead to re-structuring on a solid foundation and a more harmonious state of existence in the future. She will someday attain unity through unified global civilisation but that can only be built upon more harmonious principles than conflict, fear and coercion; such as cooperation, compassion and understanding. She needs to relax (social harmony) and get back to reality (overcome the authoritarian delusions and paranoia).

Ultimately it is we humans that manifest the collective system. It is our personal imbalances that merge to manifest the collective imbalance and it is the agitations within ourselves and throughout our cultures that creates the fear and desire that the collective ego experiences and feeds upon. There is a feedback loop where influence flows in both directions. Whilst we are unaware the collective system influences us, driving us into deeper fear and desire thus worsening the collective fear and desire and pushing the system into a dangerous spiral of delusion. By being aware we are not as influenced by the collective delusion and we can open up to positive influences and also channel our human influence into the collective system.

We can draw upon our experience of over 550 million years of evolutionary refinement as cellular civilisations, with a highly refined mind, heart, conscience, intuition, imagination and so on whereas human civilisation is still a very primitive and newly evolving being. It has enormous potential but still needs much refinement. We can share our human gifts between us creating growing awareness and understanding leading to less entanglement in the discourse of fear and desire and an orientation toward more coherent and harmonious behaviour. As this spreads throughout the culture we can influence the collective organism from within to ease its agitated fear and craving and to bring it back into balance and harmony.

It is we who create the collective system and animate it with our lives just as cells create and animate us, thus it is we who are the root of civilisation just as it is cells who are the root of us. These roots anchor living systems to reality and to life, else they can wander into delusion and death. It is our awareness that allows us to serve this vital function in civilisation whilst the delusions of the collective ego stem from our unawareness. Furthermore its reach for control encourages our unawareness by subtly inducing us into a collective trance that is a manipulative discourse by which it imposes its will upon our societies and minds.

In this way egos are a construct of subtle illusions and hence they are very susceptible to worsening delusion and can spiral into psychosis or fascism if we are not aware and we let them become overdeveloped and unbalanced. But just as light annihilates shadow so too truth annihilates delusion. If we remove the obstacles in our minds that are creating the shadows out of which the ego and authoritarianism form and within which they hide, then the light of truth and awareness will annihilate the shadow world. There would then be no place where assumptions, deceptions and manipulative agendas can flourish, either within our minds, our communications, the media and the entire global culture.

By disengaging from the discourse of fear and desire and returning to ourselves, our attitudes and beliefs begin to change thereby changing how we behave and interact. This gradually changes our cultural discourses and ideologies and thereby changes how we collectively behave. This changes the very nature of the collective organism that we manifest out of ourselves. Changing beliefs, throughout a population is like changing DNA throughout an organism; our beliefs interpret incoming signals and transform this into a cascade of internal responses that result in some external behaviour, just like DNA within a cell. Furthermore, by being aware and opening up to the positive aspects of the culture and challenging or simply not propagating the negatives we enhance the flow of positive ideas and filter out the negative ones thus maintaining the health of the overall system.

Rather than stay bound within the discourse of “humans as the measure of all things” I propose that we take a systemic perspective and understand the nature of the collective system, which includes ourselves and civilisation. Only by rising above the level of thinking that got us into this crisis can we overcome it. I propose the development and application of what might be called macro-psychoanalysis to diagnose and treat the tensions, paranoia and growing psychosis within civilisation.

I urge you to look upon the events in the world from a fresh perspective, not just from the level of a “person in society” or a “citizen in a nation” or an “employee within a company” but instead to consider the dynamics on all levels, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of what is really happening within us and around us. Some imaginative effort is required but if you hold this extended analogy in the back of your mind and look through it at the world, it will help you make sense of many things and to become holistically effective in living your life.

Next section is: Survey of the Central Idea
Or return to: Systems Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism