Introduction

This is part of the Systems Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism.
The sub sections are:
A New Paradigm
Introduction to the Global Ego
Introduction to a Systemic Solution

Most human expressions, activities and inventions first arise as thoughts and are shared via communication, therefore civilisation can be described as the outward manifestation of a communal understanding or a resonance of minds or a memeplex. The breakdown of communal understanding is instrumental to the breakdown of this civilisation. The work of rebuilding communal understanding must ultimately be the foundation of any effective attempt to resolve the crisis. The cause of the breakdown is complex but ultimately stems from fundamental delusions within our minds, which lead to the corruption of public discourse by manipulative agendas. The remedy is for each of us to overcome our fundamental delusions and for sanity to re-emerge within that collective discourse and clarify the confusions thus creating a space for rebuilding a communal understanding. "Speech is civilization itself.... it is silence which isolates." [FR] From this, greater awareness will arise and collectively we will know how to act to resolve the crisis and put civilisation on a firm and realistic foundation.

For greater insight into the root cause and how it unfolds into a global systemic crisis, see Simplified Anatomy of the Global Systemic Crisis and How to Heal Civilisation.

Whilst ever the dominant discourse is corrupt the voice of reason is just noise in the background that cannot meaningfully penetrate the discourse and bring sanity into the overall situation. There is already a vast body of knowledge that provides detailed evidence and deep analysis of the many problems but these have been accumulating for decades, even centuries, and have had minimal overall impact. Whilst these analyses are vital in the long term, at present they are largely impotent because the dominant discourse cannot entertain the simple logic and has no desire to act on it even when it can. Furthermore analysing and exposing issues one at a time is a reactionary strategy that creates an information overload that people cannot properly digest because there is no coherent paradigm within which to make sense of it all. What is required is a subtler strategy that can eventually penetrate the wall of denial.

There are rapidly growing numbers of open minds and we have the potential to form a diverse and integrated community that can create a parallel discourse that weakens the corrupt discourse and shifts the balance of power. We need a way to manage the information overload and integrate it into a coherent and compelling communal understanding that forms the seed of a more humane and more sustainable civilisation.

A New Paradigm

“The reception of a new paradigm often necessitates a redefinition of the corresponding science. Some old problems may be relegated to another science or declared entirely "unscientific". Others that were previously non-existent or trivial may, with a new paradigm, become the very archetypes of significant scientific achievement.” (Thomas Kuhn) [FR]

The ideas presented here are not just extensions to the current paradigm, which can be logically tested against what the mind already knows and thereby discerned to be true or false. They involve a radical paradigm shift, a reorienting of everything that we know about ourselves and the world. A paradigm shift involves looking at things from an entirely different perspective and thereby seeing them in a different way. It can only be approached with an open-mind that is willing and able to make the shift in order to look through the new paradigm at the world and to see things anew. Only then can we test its coherence and explanatory power.

Civilisation can be described as the outward manifestation of a communal understanding or a resonance of minds. However the current communal understanding relies on fundamentalist authoritarian dogma such as politicised religion, materialist Scientism or manipulative politics but these are fragile and destructive. It must be flexible, diverse, personal, universal and comprehensive enough to bring together all of the experiences in our lives and the events in the world and to integrate them into a meaningful understanding. This would make it personally verifiable and compelling, thus protecting it from delusion and enabling it to spread widely. It should help us interpret our experiences and available information and thereby meaningfully inform us of what is happening and how to respond. In this analysis I propose an approach that could give rise to a fresh communal understanding that preserves our diversity and yet creates a universal space of communal understanding.

For many people it will be new but it's actually a very ancient paradigm and has independently had a major resurgence throughout the 20th century arising from modern system sciences but it is still largely unknown to many people, (there is a survey of these later). There is a considerable philosophical, theoretical and mathematical background to the paradigm and the only new thing that I am proposing is a combination of certain ideas giving a new emphasis, and that we take the resulting paradigm seriously in a socio-political context and use it as a tool in progressive strategies. Keeping this unified/systemic perspective in mind will assist in developing competing discourses to the corrupt discourse, it will also assist in analysis of issues and strategic planning, and in coordinating these into an effective overall discourse of unified reason.

Just as letting go of the idea that the Earth is the centre of the universe opened up the field of astronomy thereby freeing our understanding from limiting constraints and allowing it to expand into the cosmos and to better situate us within the wider context. I propose the letting go of another assumption, this time within the context of complex systems and the web of life, thereby freeing our understanding from limiting constraints and allowing it to fully expand into the subtle systemic nature of the universe and the web of life. In its essence the paradigm steps out of traditional discourses and limiting perspectives, and using system theory as a guide it re-conceptualises the situation on all levels. Those levels most relevant to humans are cells, organisms, people, ecosystems, nations, civilisation and the planet as a whole.

This results in a world-view that is complex and yet intuitively simple, and that is compelling and comprehensive; making sense of all that is happening in our lives and in the world. We can understand ourselves and civilisation in a new way that can help people comprehend the course of their lives and the events in the world. We can then create a meaningful discourse that can overcome the dominance of the corrupt discourse, which relies on confusion and deception, nurtured by a closed loop of unconscious assumptions. Furthermore, given that everything is a system and many systems are already well understood, we can draw knowledge from other mature fields and map this onto the problems at hand thereby providing immediate diagnostic and therapeutic tools of a very subtle but effective nature that may be used to heal this civilisation. There is vast future potential that arises from this paradigm but it is these immediate applications that give us a chance of surviving into that future.

From the perspective of most traditional discourses it may seem strange at first; such is the nature of a paradigm shift, but upon delving into it and, from that perspective, looking out at the world things begin to fall into place. As the idea sits in the back of your mind it influences your subconscious interpretations of things, subtly diminishing the corrupt conditioning and nurturing clarity until it becomes clear what is happening. When looking upon the situation as a whole all of the information, ranging from obvious propaganda to mainstream analyses to progressive analyses to mystic wisdom, and the words of people such as Bush, Chomsky and the Dalai Lama, these all come together reinforcing each other and merging into a clear understanding of the problem.

It gives a way of bringing it all together where nothing is left out and there are no contradictions. Everything can be comprehended from this unified perspective and the past, present and future of civilisation can be seen in a new light. These are extraordinary claims but if you look into them with an open mind and question all of your assumptions you will eventually find no fault with these claims. If you do take issue to anything here then this is the basis of fertile discussions that can lead to new insights for us all. You will eventually see that these extraordinary ideas arise naturally out of these extraordinary times and that they are perhaps just the medicine that the world needs right now.

Essentially what I propose is the development and application of macro-psychology and macro-psychoanalysis. That by our micro-interactions we are creating a super-system and what we are experiencing in the world is the psychological tensions within that super-system. If we remain focused solely on the level of humans and traditional discourses about nations, governments, military, media, corporations and so on we remain fixated on the minute details. This is like staring at the pixels on a TV screen and watching them flicker in incomprehensible patterns, but if we step back and let the bigger picture come into view they all form a very clear picture of what is happening. This bigger picture can better inform us how to handle the situation whereas staying fixated on the micro-level keeps us trapped in the same kind of thinking and acting that is creating the tension.

"The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity" [FR]. "Truth, in its complexity, cannot be advanced if the discourse of intellectuals conforms to a self-reproducing closed loop of hidden assumptions." [FR] The purpose of this analysis is to step out of the loop of subtle dogma and to expand the scope of potential discourse so that we may better comprehend the complexity by discerning its underlying pattern, thereby we may see through our errors and not merely repeat them. This overall analysis is humbly offered to help fuel a communal discussion that can bringing together the knowledge and expertise of progressive minds into a coherent and effective discourse that can peacefully resolve the crisis in civilisation.

This book elucidates many parallels between phenomena in the world and the behaviour of complex adaptive systems such as living organisms. This is not an intellectual exercise but rather an attempt to derive an overall paradigm in which to holistically understand the phenomena in the world and to respond coherently and effectively to them. The parallels are not merely intriguing accidental correlations, they indicate a clear homology, which is a surface similarity that indicates deeper fundamental principles. For example, the similarities between the bone structure of a human arm and a bird's wing and the fore limb of many animals is not just a curiosity, it led to the formulation of the theory of evolution and the discovery of genetics.

System theory is in one sense the study of meaningful homologies between systems by recognising the common systemic principles that give rise to structural and behavioural similarities between systems as disparate as physical systems, biological systems and social systems. The central idea summarises the homology that is explored in this document and the remainder goes into detail on that homology, what it implies about the phenomena in the world and how to use this understanding to respond to the challenges that face humanity. The purpose is to elucidate a general conceptual framework that can overcome the distortions of limited traditional discourses and to develop a more holistic and realistic discourse through which people can better comprehend the world and collectively work toward resolving the many problems in the world.

The essence of this discussion is intuitively simple once our habitual perspective is broadened and it is summarised early on in the central idea. By simply "looking through it" at the world this will gradually break down many conditioned, unconscious misconceptions and reveal a great deal about the systemic nature of the world. Don't just think about it in a shallow sense but make sure that you take it in and look at your world anew to see for yourself if it makes sense, that is the real test of these ideas. Many people have found that given this conceptual lens very quickly things start to click into place and before long it becomes clear what is happening in the world on the wider scale as well as in their own lives.

"I would like you to come with me on a great adventure, an exploration of humanity's potential as seen through the eyes of the planet, and to share with me a vision of our evolutionary future. The journey will take us beyond this place and time, allowing us to stand back and behold humanity afresh, to consider new ways of seeing ourselves in relation to the whole evolutionary process. We shall see that something miraculous may be taking place on this planet, on this blue pearl of ours. Humanity could be on the threshold of an evolutionary leap, a leap that could occur in a flash of evolutionary time, a leap such as occurs only once in a billion years... the changes leading to this leap are taking place right before our eyes-- or rather right behind them, within our own minds." (Peter Russel) [FR]

It is an undeniable fact that there has been a massive growth of complexity in human civilisation and from the study of complex adaptive systems it is an undeniable fact that the growth of complexity gives rise to emergent phenomena. The changes in civilisation and the corresponding changes in ourselves are an intimate part of the broader changes that are occurring on a scale so vast that most people are oblivious to them. One such phenomenon is that there has been a growth in control systems at all levels. These are systems that either deliberately or effectively control other systems. These control systems have grown in breadth, covering whole nations and international conglomerations, and they have grown in depth, penetrating into finer and finer details such as people's everyday thoughts and actions. They may be identifiable systems such as the UN or the global financial system or they may be ideological discourses such as capitalism, authoritarianism or corporate culture or even being "cool", and many have yet to be identified and labelled.

Regardless of whether their creation is deliberate, accidental or as yet unknown, and regardless of the rationalisations that are used to justify them, the fact is that control is growing and spreading and deepening. This network of control is a complex adaptive system that operates according to the principles of such systems. Every control system gives rise to an emergent power structure as control systems emerge to control the control systems and so on. Systems integrate with other systems and adapt to each other forming a complex web of systems. The global economic system is an obvious example of one of these higher level control systems; we do not control it but it influences all of our lower-level systems from nations, economies, industries, communities and right down to our individual thoughts and actions. Our lives are a resonance with our environments and these are becoming increasingly socially constructed and permeated by control systems.

There are those who are deliberately seeking control for whatever purposes, such as various governments, corporations or ideological factions but they do not understand the deeper systemic nature of the process that they are dealing with. They themselves are not in control of it; they are simply swept along with it. They are simply nurturing the growth of control systems which will eventually develop their own power structures. At the scale of the higher-level web of control our traditional discourses are unable to comprehend the detailed dynamics of the higher level systems. We have been focused on the finer details of people, corporations and governments and we do not clearly understand the emergent control systems. In many belief systems that postulate an inert clockwork universe where humans are the only active agents, it is impossible to even conceive of these higher level systems let alone to understand how the world appears from their perspective.

Whilst we still retain control over ourselves within the scope of freedom allowed by the higher-level control systems (e.g. the economy) there is a growing phenomenon where we are losing control at the higher-levels and the systems are controlling things in their own way according to the logic of their systemic structure. We have created beyond ourselves and are losing control of that which we have created. To create super-systems is an inescapable fact of collective integration and of the dynamics of complex adaptive systems, but our loss of control stems from false beliefs about the nature of the world and lack of systemic awareness about the real meaning of the events in our lives and in the world at large.

Introduction to the Global Ego

It has been recognised by many that "the most satisfactory way of understanding the planet's chemistry, ecology, and biology is to view the planet as a single living system. The Gaia Hypothesis." [FR] and that "The idea is that of the earth not only becoming covered by myriads of grains of thought, but becoming enclosed in a single thinking envelope so as to form, functionally, no more than a single vast grain of thought on the sidereal scale, the plurality of individual reflections grouping themselves together and reinforcing one another in the act of a single unanimous reflection." (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) [FR]

Furthermore, the process of meta-system transition or MST (discussed at length {{later}}) is the process whereby systems integrate into super-systems and this underlies the existence of all complex systems in the universe. The world that we live in arises from particles forming atoms, atoms forming molecules, molecules forming everything from stars to planets to cells, cells forming organisms, organisms forming ecosystems and human organisms forming organisations and civilisations.

Although the same systemic principles operate throughout all levels of complexity, they manifest in different outward phenomena that cause the different systems to seem markedly different. At each new level of complexity these emergent phenomena arise and give the super-system its particular characteristics. For example, molecules are very different to atoms, organisms are very different to cells and organisations are very different to human beings. This growth towards higher levels of complexity is a fundamental fact of the evolution of all complex systems. Without this fundamental property of integration and emergence the universe would never have evolved into what it is today. Throughout all the many levels of complexity the underlying systemic dynamics is operating, hence the systemic universe functions on ALL levels and there is nothing special about our human perspective. All systems experience things from their own perspective and respond based on what they experience.

Due to naïve realism systems operate entirely within their experiential constructs and remain oblivious to the actual reality in which they exist. For example, a computer with a digital camera in a room cannot observe the actual room, it can only observe digital image data. In this way all systems experience their internal responses to incident information and respond only to these; remaining oblivious to the actual systems that were the source of the incoming information. In ourselves this phenomenon causes us to only experience cognitive objects of perception and to respond only to these, remaining oblivious to the actual systems that were the source of the incoming sensory stimuli. We assume that the objects of perception are the actual systems that we are perceiving but they are not. What we experience is the heavily conditioned response of the mind to sensory stimuli, not the objects themselves. The subconscious mind interprets the sensory signals based upon memory of past experiences, expectations, agendas, fears, desires and so on, this gives rise to experiences within the conscious mind and we fail to realise that these experiences of the world are not the actual world. So rather than experience the world as it is we experience the response of our conditioned mind to sensory stimuli. Naïve realism is a profoundly important issue to grasp if we are to discern the difference between delusion and reality, thus it will be discussed at length {{later}}.

Due to the illusions arising from systemic perspectives and naïve realism, particles interact with particles, organisms interact with organisms, memes interact with memes, nations interact with nations and so on. Whilst none of these systems can experience the actual situation that they operate within. Although people assume that their perspective is the only perspective, other systems are as oblivious to the people's perspective as people are to other system's perspectives, and all systems operate under the assumption that their perspective is the correct perspective.

The central issue is the subjective perspective of all systems and their tendency to assume that they have an objective perspective. Hence there is a multiplicity of subjective perspectives all trying to impose themselves on each other out of ignorance, thus giving rise to unending confusion, conflict and “le différend” [FR] (discussed in detail {{later}}). In brief, a le différend occurs when one system defines its perspective as “the correct perspective” and seeks to impose it on other systems.

The term was coined by the postmodern philosopher Lyotard [FR] who, along with Foucault [FR], explored this phenomenon in depth. Their combined philosophical politics [FR] suggests that it is impossible to reconcile the multiplicity of subjective perspectives using a 'totalist' approach [FR]; i.e. one that is defined from a particular perspective then imposed on the total situation. Systems theory can recognise the multiplicity of perspectives and accommodate them but all traditional approaches are based either on the human perspective (common sense, cultural norms, empirical science) or on an organisational perspective (legislation, propaganda, politics). These totalist approaches lead inevitably towards totalitarianism and tyranny, because "[t]he essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity" [FR].

These traditional approaches are only valid from the perspective of the system that defines them and are invalid and destructive from virtually all other perspectives. But due to naïve realism the totalitarian system cannot recognise or even conceive of this and it blindly tries to force its perspective on a complex systemic context that not only won't conform but cannot conform without being destroyed in the process. This results in ongoing destructive power struggles that cannot be overcome whilst ever we keep trying to solve the problem using a totalist approach. Only an approach that can accommodate the multiplicity of subjective perspectives can lead towards lasting peace; a systemic approach is required.

Hence naïve realism and le différend are the underlying causes of the ongoing dynamic that allows for destructive injustices to be perpetrated under the guise of civilisation, law and order, government, economics, education and so on. Out of ignorance the more powerful organisations formulate conceptualisations of the world from their perspective and formulate agendas within their perceived world, then in pursuit of their agendas they impose their perspective on the complex system of society and ecosystem and thereby do injustice to all other systems, which includes not only individual humans and human organisations, but the entire environment and everything that they come into contact with.

General systems experience their environment due to incoming information producing a cascade of internal responses that result in outgoing information. Simple systems that lack complex internal feedback loops provide a simple throughput of information and in that sense the term 'experience' is used in a much simpler manner that when used to refer to human experience. A simple system may experience, but it does not experience its experience, nor does it experience its experience of experience; it simply lacks the feedback loops for this to occur. However we humans have complex internal feedback loops such as the nervous system, brain and emergent mind. Hence when we experience it is a far more complex phenomenon. What we call 'experience' is the response of a complex web of internal feedback loops that give rise to many levels of experience and result in the experience of being and individual conscious entity.

Whilst all simple systems are intrinsically naïve realist, this can be overcome by a highly developed sentient consciousness and this is the goal of all mystic traditions. When it is overcome we come to experience the world anew, without the complex web of false perceptions that result in the formation of an egoic 'I' character that feels itself to be a separate entity in an inert world. We participate in reality rather than in the space of misconceptions and we thereby operate in entirely different ways. Those who overcome it are often called enlightened or saints and their participation is often described as miraculous but all they have done is escape delusion and come to dwell in the actual reality rather than in mind made fantasies that are mistaken for reality.

Until more of us overcome naïve realism and disentangle ourselves from delusion we essentially have a world dominated by naïve realist, totalist organisations and the only conceptual frameworks that most people use to understand the world are ones based on the idea that there is only an inert clockwork universe where people are the only active agents of change. Hence there is great confusion and spiralling destruction, despair and escapist denial.

We all need to realise that human beings are not the end of the evolutionary process but merely a stage along the way. Organisms formed due to the collective integration of cells and through our collective integration we are forming into complex organisations. We are creating beyond ourselves just as the integration of cells created us. These super-systems are experiencing things on their own level just as we experience things on our level, and just as we unconsciously accept that what we experience is our reality, so too they accept that what they experience is their reality. To a person a cell is just a speck that forms an inconsequential part of their body. Analogously, to a nation a citizen is just a speck that forms an inconsequential part of its body. Likewise, to a cell a person is just a numinous controlling presence and to a citizen a nation is just a numinous controlling presence.

We ourselves are vast civilisations of trillions of cells and out of this, higher-levels of control have arisen (mind) and converged to create a centralised control system that in others we call the ego and in ourselves we call 'I' or 'me'. A similar process is occurring in human civilisation as the complexity and inter-dependence grows and as the control systems grow. The reach for globalisation is the reach of the global system for centralised ego-hood; it too is beginning to conceive of 'I' or 'me'.

This analysis doesn't deny that there ARE individuals and elites seeking to dominate and exploit but things aren't that simple, they are the most enslaved by the collective ego, which is manifesting through them the most strongly. There ARE elites but to focus only on that level is to misunderstand the real situation. If it was only a matter of elites they would have to be super-human malevolent geniuses to enslave an entire planet, but they are not. There is a deeper reason why whole populations allow themselves to be enslaved and have done so for thousands of years.

It is the ego within each of us that enslaves ourselves and forms into a collective ego that enslaves 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. This analysis delves into the root causes of the systemic crisis so that we may better understand the situation and more effectively resolve it. 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.

System theory recognises the systemic nature of ourselves and of the world whilst the concept of Gaia directly expresses the idea of the ecosystem (including ourselves) as a unified 'vegetative' organism, which has a global unconscious mind through the loose collective integration of our many individual minds. The next step in this evolutionary process is the formation of a conscious mind and then of an egoic identity. Modern civilisation, particularly computer and telecommunication technology underlies the evolution of the conscious mind of Gaia. The growing authoritarian nexus underlies the evolving ego, which is an I-thought, an integrated identity within a being that in some sense experiences being 'itself' and thereby formulates desires, aversions, agendas and value judgements centred around its experience of I-ness. All of this is conceived from its own conditioned perspective and then imposed on the total situation.

The increases in complexity, communication, integration, interdependence, systems of governance and higher levels of control have all been a part of the formation of a rudimentary conscious mind, within which is forming a rudimentary ego. On one level these are all human innovations but on another level humanity is an expression of the planetary system; just as on one level it is cells that build and maintain an organism's nervous system but on another level their activity is an expression of the holistic organism. Only in very simplistic discourses is the world a stage on which humans are in total control and there is a neat dichotomy between 'natural' and 'artificial'. In reality there are deep and subtle resonances between all life on this planet at all levels from cells to organisms to memes to organisations to the planet as a whole. This gives rise to the incredible complexity, diversity and resilience of life in all its forms. We won't truly understand this until we have answered questions such as: what is life?; what is consciousness?; what is humanity? what is existence?

Whilst the body and the unconscious mind have life affirming tendencies that instinctively reach for vitality and health, the ego is a different matter. It can be confused, unbalanced, obsessive, neurotic and dangerous to the overall system. Due to naïve realism it experiences its own misconceptions and mistakes these for reality. When a mind is in balance it can serve a useful integrative purpose but when infested by ego it becomes confused and seeks to use the system as a vehicle by which to pursue its egoic agendas, thus it becomes a tyrant that ultimately destroys the system and thereby itself as well. Similarly our culture is the collective mind of Gaia and when infested by a collective ego it becomes confused and seeks to use the system as a vehicle by which to pursue its authoritarian agendas, thus it becomes a tyrant that ultimately destroys the system and thereby itself as well.

Within the body of the collective organism economics is analogous to biochemistry (discussed at length {{later}}). Money is a symbolic medium of exchange to facilitate human interactions, just as many biochemical substances serve as a symbolic medium of exchange to facilitate cellular interactions. However when the ego dominates there arises a fetishism around money. Firstly, complimentary currencies are either discouraged or outlawed and everyone is forced to use only a single type of exchange medium (legal tender) and the production of that medium is under tight control (central banking). It is considered more as an abstract resource (financial markets) than as the life-blood of society. And some parts of the body hoard it (authoritarian/corporate nexus) whilst some of the body is kept struggling for it (first world populations) and most are starved (third world populations). This uneven distribution of the medium of exchange means that most necessary interactions cannot occur and the body of society cannot function properly, thereby endangering the entire collective organism.

The instabilities of this world are largely due to the formation of the collective ego. By exploring the homologies (meaningful parallels) between the problems facing civilisation and the problems that egos create in our human lives, this can teach us a great deal about what is happening in the world and in our own lives, about the nature of the ego and its dangerous tendencies and about how to overcome a tyrannical ego and return the situation to balance, peace and vitality.

The global collective ego is forming in our midst whilst we have been pre-occupied in power struggles on our own level of existence and misguided by naïve realism and politically conditioned discourses. We have been largely unaware of the systemic nature of evolution, of ourselves and of civilisation; unaware that the planetary system is a living system that has its own metabolic processes that operate at a level that we humans have been oblivious to and are only recently beginning to recognise on the cutting edge of our science, philosophy and speculative thought, see this survey of the background to these ideas.

Whilst many minds are becoming aware of these very important facts of life, our public and political discourses still rely on simplistic beliefs about "humans as the measure of all things" about "the world as a stage upon which we act out our agendas" and about "the universe as an inert clockwork mechanism in which egoic identities are the only sentient beings". We are dominated by our own egos without truly understanding what the ego is and we are focused on our own particular perspective of the universe without realising that it is just one of countless possible perspectives. This is systemic parochialism and it gives us a very narrow view of existence that we generally assume to be the only view of existence. Systems exist and function on all levels from particles to galaxies and beyond but due to our senses, our conditioned minds, our egoic agendas and our lack of systemic knowledge we have focused primarily on our own level of existence and are mostly oblivious to the collective life within ourselves and to the collective ego forming in our midst.

We dimly perceive it and call it culture, government, authority, economy, ideology, the nation, globalisation or simply "the system"; these are glimpses of the structure and substance of the collective ego as experienced from within the body of civilisation but the collective ego itself is not any of these in particular. The collective ego is a memeplex, it is the centralised ideological power structure that forms within a civilisation and determines its collective identity, just as a centralised power structure forms within an organism and comes to call itself 'me'. Just as in the body the ego is not located in any particular cells or organs, it emerges at a higher level as a construct within the mind or the collective consciousness. Many people have never contemplated the relationship between their own ego and the organism that it dominates, thus the idea that a civilisation can form an ego or an integrated identity seems totally unreal. But once you realise that the 'person' that you feel yourself to be is actually a regime dominating a cellular civilisation and using it as “my body”, then the parallels with human civilisation become unmistakable. This is simply the systemic structure of life and our past ignorance of this is due to the systemic nature of perception, where a cell in a human body would be mostly unaware of the human ego too except as some numinous abstract influence, whilst the human ego is too focused on its outer agendas to notice the cells as anything more than inconsequential specks within “its body”.

Once one understands the wider systemic context one knows that creating beyond ourselves is the inevitable outcome of collective integration; that is the nature of systems, it is how organisms form from cells and how civilisations form from humans. The driving principle is communication leading to collective interaction and is a fundamental aspect of complex adaptive systems. Living systems have a tendency to evolve to higher levels of organisation which then take on a life of their own, that is how we organisms formed some 550 million years ago from the ecosystem of single cells (discussed in detail {{later}}). These living organisations arise via communication and cooperation resulting in interdependency and as they evolve in complexity there arises systemic feedback loops that give them complex non-linear behaviours.

We organisms are civilisations of trillions of cells, all of which are individual living beings carrying out their lives but arising from this is a 'person' which is a single unified being that formulates its own self-image, desires, aversions, agendas and values that have little or nothing to do with the underlying cellular civilisation. This mind evolved to coordinate and guide the whole organism (cellular civilisation) but it succumbs to perceptual illusions and forms an egoic self-identity that tends to serve its own purposes, oblivious to the underlying civilisation, even at the expense of that civilisation. Analogously, we construct systems that are designed to be controlled by humans for the benefit of humans, but beyond some threshold of complexity they come to serve themselves, even at the expense of humans. A classic example of this is a government created to enact the will of a society that then becomes a totalitarian regime that destroys the society. That is classic egoic behaviour.

Introduction to a Systemic Solution

We have succumbed to many profound and disorienting illusions but no one is “at fault”. There is no reason for us to feel bad about having been trapped in delusions, but we must clearly recognise them and overcome them if we are to move beyond them. We must be painfully honest with ourselves and with each other about these issues if we are to collectively go beyond them and secure a future for ourselves and for the evolutionary process that is operating through us. It is for these reasons that I reiterate the nature of our delusions, not to engender feelings of guilt but to make it clear where we have been, where we are right now and where we are headed.

Tyranny is not just a case of a few evil men; it repeatedly arises throughout history and in some form exists in all organisations from single organisms to families to simple organisations to nation states and international conglomerates. It arises from the tyranny of our own egos over ourselves and merges into collective tyranny. We are each a vast civilisation of individual beings and yet we think of ourselves as a simple 'person'. We create organisations and governments and think of them as made up of people, roles, traditions, legislation and so on. We focus on the mechanics of the collective but are so focused on the trees we fail to see the forest. Just as we fail to see the subtle life within ourselves we fail to see the subtle life within social organisations. We think we control the complex systems that we create and we fail to see how they take on life and control themselves; just as cells create us but the ego "gives itself life" and usurps the collective life as its own, thus seizing control. Even those of us who are supposedly "in control" are not really in control, they only think they are. Due to our ignorance of the systemic nature of the situation we lose control and allow things to get out of hand, with our base natures merging and amplifying into primitive egoic beasts, then we respond inappropriately and drive the situation toward instability and chaos.

To create well we must live well and to live well must dwell in reality and not just in naïve realist conditioned fantasies in which we are constantly engaged in futile power struggles. Until our fundamental misconceptions are dealt with, everything that human egos touch will eventually crumble to dust. And as the planet forms a collective ego based on naïve realist misconceptions, the civilisation, ecosystem and whole planet will inevitably be destroyed. We may lament over atrocities and destruction but by thinking and responding in the same ways, regardless of our intentions, we have all been fuelling the destruction, either directly or indirectly. Despite all that we have done to resolve the systemic problems, we have at best slowed them down and at worst drastically worsened them, but in no way have we reversed the process and started moving toward genuine and lasting peace, harmony, abundance and global 'health'. To truly resolve the many problems we need to understand the reality of what is happening and respond in holistically effective ways. We need to dig down to the root of our confusion and break our alienation from reality otherwise we will continue to come into ever increasing conflict with reality, which ultimately leads to annihilation.

We too often focus on narrow contexts and formulate rational concepts within these but these are irrational when applied in a wider context. A simple example of what I mean is if you look at the ground around your feet whilst standing on flat ground and then reason that all ground is flat that may seem rational from that narrow perspective, but once you start walking around you will fall into every ditch and trip on every protrusion. We are not that naïve in that context, but in many subtle ways we do exactly that all the time, especially by conceiving of the world solely in terms of human egos and traditional discourses on politics and power and then interacting in a deeply systemic universe that functions on all levels from particles to galaxies, with a vast multiplicity of subjective perspectives throughout.

Many of our rational concepts have arisen in narrow contexts but when we act in reality we operate within the total context. Reality does not narrow itself to the limits of our understanding, hence many of our supposedly rational actions are totally irrational in practice even though they seem rational within our narrow understanding. The purpose of this analysis is to broaden the context of our understanding of organisations and egos, thereby helping us to operate more rationally and effectively in that context, thus helping us to organise more harmoniously and productively rather than inadvertently creating destructive monstrosities and then wondering “how did that happen?”

There is a growing number of conspiracy theorists around because there are many clear signs that things are rapidly changing and thing are seriously wrong but there is little clear understanding of exactly what is happening; they often bring to light important facts but make erroneous inferences from them based on limited understanding. There has been no clear organising principle or simple 'paradigm' by which to integrate the vast amounts of data in order to develop understanding. This leads to much confusion, despair and inappropriate action. I propose that systems theory and a Gaian-ego hypothesis is a viable conceptual framework that can shed light on the situation and help us to resolve the global crisis. Don't just take my word for it, test it for yourself and amongst yourselves, look through it at the world and follow through all the details until it is clearly understood.

Put simply, this systems theoretic diagnosis of the situation suggests that Gaia (the planetary system) is in the lead up to a psychotic episode, her mind is driven by misconceptions and delusions thus giving rise to an ego (authoritarian power structure) that has become overbearing and unbalanced; she has become lost in self-delusions and internal power struggles thereby becoming dangerously unstable. The global ego, primarily through co-opting the cultural faculties such as education, industry, media, military and the global economic system, is in the process of reaching for full spectrum dominance [FR, FR, FR, FR] and total control over what it sees as “its body”, i.e. the planet and humanity.

The process of integration into more complex systems is a natural process and the same general principles underlie our own bodies and sense of self. However in this situation the egoic power structure is dangerously unbalanced and unprepared; it is driven by inappropriate motives and is prematurely reaching for dominance because of looming crises and will rapidly destroy civilisation and the ecosystem if it succeeds in gaining control. Gaia needs a reality check, followed by some recovery time and sincere self-reflection (self-reflection within each of us humans and a fresh open discourse between us humans). This crisis is an inevitable and important transition for her that has been brewing 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 of mind through a unified global civilisation but that needs to be built upon more harmonious principles than conflict, fear and authoritarian control.

As for us humans, what we call "human civilisation" is like the nervous system of Gaia and unless we implement radical and far reaching self-reflection and self-corrective measures we are about to experience what it is like to be nerve cells within an organism that is undergoing a nervous breakdown. The problem is systemic so there is no place to hide; the best we can do is to avert the crisis by reclaiming the collective discourse and breathing sanity into it, but if that cannot be done we must be prepared to minimise and survive the inevitable catastrophes that will arise throughout all aspects of the civilisation and hope that civilisation collapses before it destroys all hope of rebuilding anything.

The trend of collective integration is unstoppable and we dwell in denial about it at our own peril. The nature of the collective system is able to be influenced by us and we may choose the type of collective system that we manifest out of ourselves. Will it be healthy, wise and just or will it be sick, delusional and brutal. Thus it is important to understand what the ego is, what it is like to be a sub-system within a system that is controlled by an ego, what dysfunctions these egos can suffer from, what implications these dysfunctions have on us sub-systems and how we can subtly influence things to avoid or alleviate those dysfunctions.

Essentially what I propose is similar to what some call action learning [FR] which in many narrow contexts is an obvious thing to do but such things are the last thing that an ego would think to do. An ego focuses on pursuing its agendas and acquires knowledge only to further its agendas never to question its agendas, but when the ego and its agendas are the root cause of the problem knowing how to better implement its agendas only worsens the problem. What is required is to stop and rethink the whole situation, to learn what can be learnt from any mistakes and adjust course appropriately rather than stubbornly push ahead in spite of growing danger signs. We each in our lives and collectively, need to take a long hard look at ourselves and to question ourselves, our assumptions and our agendas, to learn from the mistakes and to adjust our course appropriately.

It is important to monitor the global situation and work on clarifying awareness of core issues and spreading information in key places to minimise the onset of fascism (collective psychosis). This will allow us to avoid the need for a bloody uprising, to minimise the long term suffering and to provide ideas and conceptual tools that will help both humans and organisations to navigate the situation effectively. Some sort of crisis is likely but it needn't be a total breakdown and annihilation of civilisation as we know it, it could just be a radical re-structuring that brings things back into balance. If we understand the systemic nature of the crisis we can act in holistically effective ways rather than be driven by fear and ignorance, which would seriously worsen the situation.

The events in the world suggest that the collective ego is growing strong and that it is seriously unstable and disturbed. This is a reflection of our own fragmentation, discord and disharmony. If we wish the collective system to be sane we must be sane in the way that we come together, the way we treat each other and the way we process our thoughts and communicate them, because these are the detailed "nerve signals" within the nervous system of the collective organism. If we think only of ourselves we collectively create a monster. If we, its nerve cells are in discord it suffers from nervous disorders and is prone to delusions and psychoses, such as fascism, manic consumerism and ecological destruction. If we are in harmony it enjoys clarity, peace and wisdom, such as genuine liberal democracy, sustainable development and long term vitality. In this way it is up to us to choose the type of world we create for ourselves and for the future.

The looming global crisis, especially the possibility of an imminent economic crisis that could potentially lead to a catastrophic collapse of civilisation, influences the timetable for the rise of the global ego and totalitarianism as a strategy for riding out the storm. The delusions implicit within the cultural traditions, philosophy, metaphysics, political ideology and so on permeate all of our minds to varying degrees and go unquestioned, these are the underlying driving force of the growth of the global ego and authoritarianism. If these cultural and personal attitudes were different we would take the coming crises as a cause for raising awareness, collective effort and cooperation, but instead it mostly engenders a climate of fear, escapism, secrecy, manipulative deception and power struggles. It is this disharmony that manifests the collective instability and threatens the sanity of the global mind. It is not too late to transform things from a power struggle leading to mutual annihilation into a collective effort for mutual benefit but we must first understand how to cooperate and pool our vast collective power without becoming victims of the corruption of that power. It must not be a totalist approach, but rather a systemic approach.

Systems theory is central to understanding the crisis because it is a systemic crisis, and knowledge of the systemic nature of the ego (individual and collective) and how to manage it is central to navigating the situation. This also highlights the important lessons that can be learnt from spirituality, especially meditation in all its many forms, which are a subtle and much misunderstood science of the ego and the path from egoic crisis to balance, harmony and liberation. It is normally applied to the context of individual humans, which are civilisations of cells governed by an egoic power structure operating within the mind, but its lessons can be usefully adapted to civilisations of humans governed by an egoic power structure operating within the culture.

Understanding the nature of perception, cognition and delusion is central to understanding how the ego arises and how one overcomes egoic delusion and returns to reality and balance. The content of the media is a large part of the psycho-babble that reinforces the ego and creates the social discourse that sustains it, hence the media is central to the problem. The development of clear channels for coherent discourse and critical analysis of the culture itself is central to disentangling the web of distortion and deception that is the very substance of the collective ego. The discourse of sanity can first grow via personal communications and over the internet but it must eventually penetrate the mass discourse and sooth the mass hysteria and culture of denial that is prevalent there. Facilitating the return of balance and peace is the purpose of meditation in an individual, which can be adapted for collective organisms. One regains balance by disentangling the web of self-deception and disengaging with the delusions thereby creating a space in which to reconnect with reality and regain balance. I will {{later}} discuss its adaptation to the collective context and it could be further developed into detailed guidelines for peaceful resistance to and effective recovery from collective tensions, mania, psychosis and authoritarianism.

This analysis goes into more detail on all of these issues, exploring the nature of the ego, the nature of the particular collective ego forming in our midst and what can be done to deepen our understanding and to exert a positive influence on the overall process. Given this wider systemic perspective on the global egoic crisis, it is much easier to understand all the many events happening in the world, from changes in our everyday lives to global conflicts to ecological catastrophe to the changing political and economic climate and so on. You will see that it all makes a lot more sense and that there is no point in responding with fear, violence or mindless conformity, these only worsen the situation. The best response is awareness and understanding, leading to growing and spreading awareness and understanding. The root cause of the problem is fundamental ignorance and the best remedy is clarity, awareness and sincere and open communication.

“When faced with radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work any more, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual human - or species - will either die or become extinct or rise above the limitations of their condition through an evolutionary leap. This is the state of humanity now, and this is its challenge.” (Eckhart Tolle) [FR]

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

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