Why do Some Egos Become Psychotic?

This is part of the Systems Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism.
The sub sections are:
Why the Sudden Rise in Egoic Fascism of Late?
Why are Some Societies More Susceptible to Fascism than Others?
. . . . . . . . Structural Dynamics of Society and 'Terrorism'

A cycle of growing self-deception, delusion and denial occurs if the ego engages in pursuing agendas that conflict with the body/society's deeply held convictions and principles. The sinking feeling of guilt and bad conscience is a direct result and unless there is contrition and self-examination it only strengthens the ego thus leading to manic irrational behaviour such as trying to cover up the bad conscience through distraction or to project the blame onto an external scapegoat.

As the agitation worsens the ego's judgement is clouded and as it becomes gradually more desperate it engages in more desperate actions, which only increase its agitation and so the loop spirals into eventual breakdown. This loop can only be broken through honour, self-honesty, contrition and self-corrective behaviour leading to expanding awareness of reality rather than futilely trying to force reality into the confines or its narrow understanding.

In the case of a collective ego or regime, by the time it has established itself and developed a self-image as well as a feeling of control and a taste for power it has also formed its own agendas, desires and aversions that define its personality. Any laws of the land, constitutions or other restrictions that constrain the regime from pursuing its agendas are easily circumvented if its desires and aversions are strong enough. If necessary splinter personalities are created so that the core personality can retain its self-deception of legitimacy whilst the splinter personality pursues hidden agendas. For example, “the Enterprise” involved in the Iran/Contra operations in the US [FR] and the growing proliferation of covert operations in general both there and throughout the world [FR].

A covert operation is “An operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor. A covert operation differs from a clandestine operation in that emphasis is placed on concealment of identity of sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.” (US DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms) [FR].

"US officials spent years denying that their School of the Americas trained torturers. Faced with their own training manuals, they found it 'incredible', a result of 'bureaucratic oversight', that such material existed." - Tom Morris Public Awareness Co-ordinator Amnesty International Canada [FR]

These covert operations inevitably result in ‘blowback’, which is the “unintended consequences of covert operations. Blowback typically appears random and without cause, because the public is unaware of the secret operations that provoked it.” [FR, FR]. It is a term that seeks to deflect real understanding of the fact that the events are the inevitable consequences of the regime's actions, which any sane entity should take seriously if they wish to learn how to exist in reality. But such denial tactics are commonly used by irresponsible egos. The regime's principal personality denies or refuses to acknowledge the true causes so the reality of the situation is met with obstinate denial, which leads to growing conflict with reality. This creates general paranoia, fear, delusion, social decay and further motivation for expanded authoritarian responses which include military and covert operations.

Why the Sudden Rise in Egoic Fascism of Late?

Because of the gradual rise of unbounded power structures within civilisation (particularly economic power) we are approaching a major systemic crisis that is compounded by the convergence of certain environmental crises (not just greenhouse gases) and evidence of a generational crisis [FR]; primarily the retirement of the baby-boomers that will effect far more than just their personal retirement plans and will impact on the global economy, potentially resulting in an economic crisis. There has been some talk in society about the impact of the baby-boomers but its true ramifications have been hidden from most. Countless people are openly analysing it on the internet and books are being published about it but the media is entirely silent about it. It is like a tidal wave on the horizon that we cannot stop - we can only prepare for the impact.

These crises are creating a climate of increasing threat that is strengthening the rise of egoic / fascist tendencies. In the face of such threats to civilisation we need to come together cooperatively but this is co-opted by fascism and turned toward militarism and fear mongering leading to violence and destruction when we should be focusing on analysing the looming crises and implementing effective cooperative strategies. In this sense "fear is the mind killer" and unless we awake from the authoritarian nightmare we will be fighting amongst ourselves when the tidal wave strikes and we will be totally unprepared.

The approach of the generational tidal wave [FR] is hastening the rise of the global ego and the ego is what's driving most of the large scale events in the world - such as America's militarism and the so called "war on terrorism", the bubble economy in the financial markets, the silence of the media regarding important events and its culture of manipulation and distraction, the push for globalisation, rising corporatism and the rampant consumer frenzy over recent years.

The global ego can see the crisis coming and is panicking and trying to do something to protect itself and to take advantage of the chaos. It likely seeks to go beyond the concept of a "free society" and to consolidate its control, effectively consolidating the global ego. The generational tidal wave only has impact if society still depends on free spending choices and capitalist liberal democracy; but if the world transforms into a fascist dictatorship the generational tidal wave will have less impact. The growing climate of fear is driving the growth of the collective ego, which is reaching for "full spectrum dominance" over every aspect of life. The mass media is just a propaganda organ that is silent on most of the truly important issues and is driving people to-and-fro in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the crash, and facilitate and cover-up the march toward egoic fascism. There is no deliberate conspiracy, it is just than the psycho-babble that sustains the ego within the collective consciousness.

The dynamics of the flow of money drives the metabolic processes of the system and a growing instability and likely breakdown in those processes, resulting in a catastrophic economic crisis, necessitates a restructuring of the whole system. The changes operate at the level of the whole system and are therefore more like a systemic phase transition rather than some simplistic 'conspiracy' by a small elite. But most people are focused on the level of people, corporations and governments and not on the 'system' as a whole so it is understandable that many people see it as a conspiracy. No doubt there are conspiracies being played out and small elites trying to benefit from the situation but they do not understand the situation any better than others; the situation is a function of the total system and cannot be neatly controlled by any small part of it. However when looking through the conceptual lens of systems theory the wider pattern within the global system is clear.

"The current global condition of widespread violence, enduring economic difficulties for both capital and labor, and a vacuum of hegemony that is expressed in the adventurist war initiatives of the U.S. imperial state are symptoms of crisis in the modern world-system. Though this crisis has produced disruption and suffering on a wide scale, it may also reveal the limits of the current global order and create opportunities for collective agency toward transforming it." [FR]

By mindlessly following the authoritarian agenda we are gradually transforming this planet from a natural profusion of life into a homogenised slave camp. If we keep applying narrow rationalisations in the broader context and thereby keep taking steps in an authoritarian direction some people may feel an artificial sense of security for a while but if we do not take significant steps in the opposite direction toward real peace and harmony then a slave camp is where we will end up.

The metaphorical road to hell is paved with good intentions but ultimately it leads people to hell. On the road to fascism every step may be backed up by believable rationalisations and good intentions but the direction they take us is towards fascism. In a fascist hell everyone suffers, the fascists are plagued by paranoia, growing unrest and bad conscience whilst the victims are plagued by suppression of the life within, horrific brutality and crippling despair. The entire system becomes unstable and can only be reset by the breakdown of that civilisation. Before we pass through the gate inscribed with: "Through me you pass into the city of woe... All hope abandon, ye who enter here" [FR] and then have to work our way through to the pit of hell and then pass through purgatory before things start to get better, it is far better to realise that we are on the road to hell and turn around before it is too late.

Why are Some Societies More Susceptible to Fascism than Others?

It relates to power relations between "informal structure" and "formal structure" [FR]. (discussed earlier). They are two parallel systems of governance within any organisation. The informal structure within a society is the original organic level of governance, its main communication mechanism is the 'grapevine' and its code of conduct is traditions, norms, taboos and so on; it can be anarchic such as a group of friends or it can be highly structured such as a tribe that has well defined roles and power relations. The formal structure of a society is a later outgrowth that institutionalises the basic nature of the informal system of governance and extends it over a broader reach. Its main modern communication mechanism is mass media and its main code of conduct is legislation.

In any organisational structures these levels of governance exist to varying degrees. It is most commonly experienced in corporate cultures so I'll first discuss it in this context. Too often the system is envisaged from the perspective of the formal structure so the culture becomes authoritarian; the staff are objectified as the corporation leverages its control and pushes for productivity but due to the ignorance of the nature of the organisational system the formal structure abuses the informal structure leading to stress, low morale, lower productivity, absenteeism and staff turnover. These are then naively blamed on the staff and tighter controls are implemented thus worsening the situation [FR].

"All your hard work at cutting benefits costs can be undone by an unhealthy work environment that's a breeding ground for stress-related ailments and medical claims. Downsizing was supposed to produce efficient and invigorating working environments... Can-do workers, empowered to take risks and execute their ideas... Such was the intent, anyway... but the attendant workplace upheaval has had unpleasant side effects. Heavy work loads, the departure of coworkers, constant fear of job loss and the conflicting demands of work and family have turned many downsized operations into modern-day sweat shops. Stress and its manifestations-including low morale, high turnover, burnout, excessive absenteeism, violence, substance abuse and hypertension-are omnipresent in the modern office... Ironically, the human and financial toll of on-the-job stress is routinely overlooked by the very same managers who devote untold hours to cutting the cost of health benefits. The fact is, creating a healthier workplace atmosphere can make a profound contribution to employees' wellbeing and productivity. It's not rocket science, just good management." [FR]

Managing the informal structure is a matter of managing the overall culture, but organisational culture is usually defined from the perspective of the formal structure with little or no regard for the informal structure. That is why there are so often negative side-effects arising from attempts at cultural change. The culture is "that ethereal something that hangs in the air and influences how work gets done, critically affects project success or failure, says who fits in and who doesn't, and determines the overall mood of the company [society]... cultural issues may be responsible for low morale, absenteeism or high staff turnover, with all of the adverse effects those can have on productivity." [FR] It is also responsible for growing depression, vandalism, drug abuse and suicide.

The key to harmonious and efficient organisational structures is communication and respect between the two levels of governance, the informal and formal. The key to this is communication: "Surveys show that workplace miscommunication has high costs, including lowered productivity, increased turnover, and higher stress." [FR] Another key factor is for the formal structure to not dominate and oppress the informal structure. The formal structure may attempt to control and monitor and dictate every aspect of the staff's work practices in a misguided attempt to increase productivity but this only stifles the natural functioning of the informal structure. "One common theme that runs through job stressors for employees is a lack of control over their environment and tasks." [FR]

These same organisational power struggles and conflicts are played out in societies on a much larger scale. We see growing authoritarianism and more domineering formal structures and a fragmenting and increasingly hostile informal structure. There is growing surveillance, invasive legislation, enforcement and a discourse based more and more on formal structure issues and perspectives where individuals are disempowered, disenfranchised, distrusted, manipulated and controlled. This leads to growing dysfunction that can be seen in rising depression, violence, stress, suicide, homicide, vandalism and so on from the informal structure. Along with more paranoia, propaganda and a growing police state with tougher laws, enforcement and penalties in the formal structure. It is an organisational conflict and if people keep responding to the same misconceptions and pushing the same agendas it eventually evolves into total chaos, the breakdown of society and revolution, whereon the formal structure is destroyed and the cycle begins again.

Societies can be compared based on their informal and formal structures to determine the degree to which this dysfunctional conflict is present or the degree to which they are susceptible to it. For example in Australia the informal structure is very weak and the formal structure is very strong, whereas the reverse is the case in India. Australia is one of the most regulated nations in the world and people generally conform to the regulations, whereas in India, on a day to day level there may be many laws but people don't know what they are and often wouldn't care about them if they did.

Whereas laws are tightly enforced in Australia, in India there is only token enforcement. This is most graphically portrayed in the differing traffic conditions on the roads, where in Australia people drive in conformity to an overarching set of uniform laws and there is a massive police presence to enforce them but in India people drive according to moment-by-moment awareness of the seething chaos and there is very little police presence. In India people drive making liberal use of the horn to communicate with each other, but in Australia people all drive according to a uniform set of laws so very little communication is required and it is illegal to use the horn except in an emergency, and people conform to that. In Australia a major cause of accidents is driver complacency which leaves them unaware and unprepared if something out of the ordinary happens, whereas in India a momentary lapse of concentration means almost certain death. These examples illustrate general tendencies that permeate the two types of societies.

In Australia if something goes wrong the ideology is that someone must be responsible and thus there is an intricate and rapidly growing set of legislation and insurance policies to implement this ideology. Whereas in India if something goes wrong it is really your own fault and it is very difficult to find someone to sue. These are not absolutes but merely general comments on the overall attitudes. In Australia there are masses of regulations put in place to protect various organisations from being sued, for example it is not allowed to walk barefoot in most buildings because the building owner doesn't want to risk being sued, but in India many people spend most of their lives barefoot. In Australia one isn't allowed to take responsibility for one's own actions and safety but in India one must take responsibility and use one's awareness to guide one's actions and ensure one's safety.

Some other examples are that in India people generally have large social networks but in Australia people generally have very small social networks. In India there is great outward poverty and hardship but people generally have high spirits, but in Australia there is great outward wealth and comfort but it has a much higher suicide rate and very high rates of depression and drug abuse.

Anyone who goes to India and witnesses the slums and massive human suffering will realise the power of the informal structure to hold the society together, whereas in Australia, given all its outward wealth it has a much weaker society and much higher rate of depression. If you cage an animal, it doesn't matter if the cage is made of gold, it will suffer regardless but if it retains its basic freedoms it will survive even in the face of great hardship. What is required in the nations with high depression rates is more communication with and understanding of the informal structure. The formal structure must stop stifling it and must give it some breathing space.

All of these factors point to the fact that India has a strong informal structure with strong traditions and strong social cohesion whilst its formal structure is weak and has only a loose grip on the society. Given that its traditions are also highly mystic and there is deep understanding of the ego and its dangers the people have relatively little personal ego and there is accordingly a very weak collective ego, this has been too extreme in the past and caused problems due to a lack of coordinated action against invasion and poverty but it has protected it from psychoses such as inquisitions and oppressive governments, although the collective ego is rapidly growing due to Westernisation.

Whereas Australia has a very weak informal structure, with only a couple of centuries for the current civilisation to evolve and much of that in the era of growing formal structures via the mass media. It also has an entirely anti-mystic and egoic religious background; Christianity as expounded by Christ was originally deeply mystic and it focused on direct personal communion with reality leading to self-empowerment but that was subverted and transformed into an authoritarian superstition based on church hierarchy, conformity to rules and the idolatry of a God who is essentially just a very powerful ego.

Australia has weak social cohesion but strong formal structure, with a proliferation of regulations that are stringently enforced. The formal structure grips the society tightly and there is considerable monitoring and control of the population by various levels of government ranging from local, state and federal. One cannot even erect a small shed on one's own property, perhaps kilometres from the nearest boundary without conforming to masses of council regulations and if one does just build it a neighbour will inform on you and the council will order it torn down even if the structure itself is totally sound. Whereas in India if there are councils and council regulations few people know what they are and they don't conform to them; if you want a shed you just build it.

The per capita expenditure of the Australian government on monitoring and controlling the population far exceeds that of India and far more resources and effort is employed by the formal structure to exert control. Given that much of modern Australian culture has formed in the era of mass media there is considerable conformity across the full breadth of the continent and considerable reliance on corporations and government agencies rather than friends and family whereas it is the opposite case in India.

These various factors indicate that India, with its strong society and weak collective ego is far more robust against the rise of fascism than Australia is, with its weak society and strong collective ego. Australia is fairly representative of a typical modern western nation and all such nations are increasingly vulnerable to the rise of fascism as can be seen in the recent changes where people are increasingly considered more as consumers and producers than human beings. And new legislation giving the governments sweeping powers of almost arbitrary detention, intrusive regulations on many previously private aspects of life, stripping 'citizens' of many fundamental rights, invasive surveillance, increased advertising and propaganda, growing social fragmentation and civil unrest, a growing discourse of distrust in people and trust in institutions and authority as well as an increased discourse of fear and authoritarianism thus leading many people to cling more tightly and mindlessly to the government and to rely on the 'security' apparatus. These are all symptoms of a growing collective ego.

Another factor regarding the susceptibility to fascism is the corruption of the mass media [FR], which is pervasive throughout most of the world. In the US and western societies it is particularly subtle, sophisticated and effective, where corporate vested interests have almost total control, they use highly sophisticated psychological manipulation techniques and serve primarily to distract and manipulate rather than inform and integrate the people, thus manipulating their consent and failing to alert them to and help them to protect themselves from fundamental changes that are occurring, of which most are totally unaware and which mostly serve corporate and authoritarian interests. The sophistication of Western techniques combines the vitality of supposedly free societies with the dictatorial control of totalitarian societies, which creates a powerful breeding ground for the rise of global fascism and the global ego.

Structural Dynamics of Society and 'Terrorism'

The concepts of informal and formal structure also relate to the overall health of a society; when the society is weak it can succumb to the disease of fascism but when it is strong, even though fascist tendencies might arise in certain times and places it cannot spread or gain dominance; the onset of the disease is authoritarianism. Although an effective formal structure can augment things and make things more cohesive and efficient, everything ultimately depends on the strength of the informal structure; it is the living foundation of the society. This is why fascist regimes never last long, because the formal structure grows too strong and it attacks and weakens the informal structure thereby killing the society and undermining the living foundation of the fascist regime. When the formal structure is too weak this can also cause problems from lack of cohesion, lack of coordination and resulting systemic conflicts. This dynamic between informal and formal structures is the cause of most social tensions and misunderstandings. The ideal situation is to have both levels strong but also coherent awareness and understanding between them so that they do not fight each other but instead support each other. Good communication, understanding, respect and cooperation between these levels of social governance is essential for social harmony.

When the informal structure is strong the society is healthy but when the formal structure gets out of balance and seeks to suppress and dominate the informal structure the system restores the balance through any means whereby the informal structure can subvert and diminish the power of the formal structure. In pathological cases the formal structure distrusts, despises and seeks to dominate the informal structure, imposing its delusions and agendas, thus causing the informal structure to withdraw and become distrusting of the formal structure or if pushed too far it becomes resistant and eventually hostile to the formal structure. What modern formal structures calls 'terrorism' is just one of the natural protective mechanisms used by the informal structure to restore balance. Ideally balance should be returned through communication and cooperation but if the formal structure is closed to this option then the informal structure is forced to resort to more extreme measures for the sake of the entire system; it is fighting for the life of the society. This is just the natural defence mechanism of any complex system, like how the body fights a virus, where in our case the virus is memetic and the meme or idea is authoritarianism leading to fascism.

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