This is part of the Systems
Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism.
The sub sections are:
Why is it that Power Corrupts?
. . . . . . . . How can a System Wield Power Without Becoming Corrupt?
Security? Who's Security?
The nature of the ego is to control and assimilate. It seeks total control of that which it defines as 'itself' and it seeks to control its environment to acquire that which it desires and to avoid that which it is averse to. In this context it forms agendas of various kinds involving personal security, acquisition, avoidance and expansion. It seeks to expand its field of control and to secure its control, this is its principal agenda. Unlike the body/society the ego has no existence other than as a thought/cultural construct that arises within the mind/culture. Anything that it defines as 'me' or 'mine' becomes a part of itself and in this way it assimilates and grows. Whilst the body/society has definite constraints the ego can grow and grow as it assimilates more and more. In this way the body/society is like the 'hardware' and the ego is a piece of 'software' within the mind/culture, which is the "operating system", hence the ego is effectively a control system program.
A person who owns a vast empire has an ego that encompasses that empire to the extent that they identify with it. If they were to lose everything except their body their ego would feel enormously deflated because it had expanded well beyond the boundaries of their body. This is often the most crushing part of a big loss or a relationship break up; the ego identifies with the possessions or the 'us' and it assimilates this into its identity, which is then torn apart when the possessions are lost or the partner leaves.
Left to itself the ego seeks control of everything that it can reach, over other egos and over the entire environment that it finds itself in. The tighter its control the more secure it feels and the broader its reach the stronger it feels. The more it gets used to having control and strength the more that it feels it needs these, until it has achieved total control and total dominance. The only thing that limits it is either competition from other egos of directed self-awareness that constrains it and keeps it in holistic balance with the associated body/society.
A collective ego will only feel secure and strong when it has total control and dominance over the civilisation, the ecosystem and its general 'environment', just as the human ego feels most secure and strong when it has total control over what it confusedly calls itself (body/mind) and its world (possessions, relations, etc). A collective ego will only feel totally secure when it has total control over every aspect of our lives and every aspect of the environment, as well as over every thought, belief, aspiration and action in our lives. It will only stop expanding when it reaches global domination, but even then it will seek to expand into space as soon as it can.
If it gains total security for 'itself' we will no longer be human and the environment will be nothing more than a "natural resource", we will be totally enslaved, not only in our actions but in our thoughts and in every minute detail from birth to death. We will solely be cells within “its body” and nothing more. It if reaches global domination there will be no 'other' through which it can reflect itself; it will be alone in the world. There is nothing more agonising than total isolation for an ego, this slowly destroys it because it has no reality other than the reflections of itself in others. So a single global ego will go insane and become self-destructive.
If an ego develops wisdom and deep introspection it enters into a subtle communion with the civilisation of cells/people and the natural environment and thereby regains balance with its body/society and the wider context. Thus the mind/culture remains connected to its roots and doesn't diverge into unbounded delusion. Such as mind/culture would no longer be solely a construct of naïve realist reflections from others; it would come to know itself from within, as it is. It would no longer be an 'ego' as such but simply a point of integration that coordinates the harmonious functioning of all of its parts and that can arise or subside as and when it is required.
The underlying system will be augmented rather than oppressed and life would thrive in abundance rather than decay. In an individual human this is what is often called 'enlightenment' or 'samadhi'. Similarly a collective ego could attain global unification and foster harmony and new levels of growth for itself and for us all. But the current ego would only destroy itself and us all in the process.
Control is the nature of the ego and power is the ability to control so power strengthens and enlivens the ego. It seeks to cling to this power and it fights to maintain the threat or at least the perception of threat so as to maintain itself because it only arises when there is some threat. If the ego is more than just an integrative apparatus and it succumbs to naïve realism and clings to what it confuses as "its power" this leads to oppression and systemic dysfunction.
The mind/culture must serve a purely integrative function without succumbing to naïve realism and “giving itself life”. It must have holistic wisdom or full context rationality. It must integrate and wield power without confusing that power as "its power". It must arise and serve its purpose when circumstances call for it and it must subside and go dormant when circumstance call for it. If it fails to arise the collective is in danger from external threats and if it fails to subside the collective is in danger from internal threats.
If the ego can channel power without clinging to it then the whole being can become a channel for great power. The being may channel and wield this power but the moment the ego seeks to cling to it or subvert it to pursue egoic agendas the being will begin to lose power and fall into egoic delusion. When individual humans overcome their egoic grip on themselves they experience great vitality, endurance, balance and holistic well-being because they enter into a harmonious communion with their cellular civilisation, which is the true source of their life and power. The same has happened at times in history when benevolent and wise rulers have brought the people together in a creative flourishing that leads to abundance peace, prosperity and power.
The strategy of a collective ego is to remove or corrupt all channels for reasonable resolution of grievances against the state by the people. Any constructive feedback for the adaptation of the state to the needs of the people is ignored or silenced. This is equivalent to a person blocking out or ignoring all signals from their body simply because these get in the way of them pursuing their agenda, this is often portrayed as a heroic tendency, but that is within an inherently egoic discourse; sensitivity and responsiveness is a holistically more heroic tendency.
This breakdown of communication means that the only options remaining for the people are conformity or revolt; they pragmatically choose the former for a while but when the abuses become intolerable they have no choice other than to revolt; which is equivalent to the onset of disease in ones body. The collective ego appropriates the power of the people to arm itself with violence and propaganda against revolt, thereby encouraging only conformity; this is equivalent to modern allopathic medicine.
This gives the collective ego free reign to set and impose its agenda, regardless of the underlying reality. Any reasonable grievances or appropriate adaptations are suppressed and the civilisation wanders blindly into suffering whilst in pursuit of its delusional agendas. This is how the collective ego seeks to secure itself, but rather than increasing security it ultimately destroys the civilisation and harms the people; this is equivalent to permanent disability and death for an organism.
Next section is: Why
do Some Egos Become Psychotic?
Or return to: Systems Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism