By Lasantha Pethiyagoda –
A long time ago, our ancestors were insignificant animals that roamed the Earth alongside other animals. Prehistoric humans were unimportant, but today in contrast, we think we control this planet.
In everything we do, we act with a sense of superiority to other animals, although our “Human-ness” is questionable in terms of superiority. Furthermore, we fail individually in our survival skills if we only had nature at our disposal, in contrast to a wild animal which will generally succeed.
Humans have succeeded only when acting collectively towards outcomes determined by themselves, rather than dictated by natural needs. In contrast, social animals succeed collectively only in their rigidly predetermined roles, and lack the capacity to chart optional paths, although ingenuity in achieving naturally determined outcomes do exist.
In stark contrast, modern humans can collectively achieve marvelous results with the ability to cooperate flexibly through sophisticated communication networks. For this, unlike for animals, humans do not need any intimate knowledge of all their cooperating partners. Humans therefore easily control much of the world.
Through this capacity to communicate, we are able to manufacture technology, go to war and create industries based on needs that are planted in the human mind through mass communication. Thus, humans manage to cultivate powerful fictions that are based on the imagination.
We develop morals, principles and belief systems based on the delicate manipulation of our thinking minds and biological dictates. So, millions of humans across vast tracts of land start adhering to what they believe to be correct, true or beneficial.
It naturally follows, that as long as everybody believes in the same set of ideas, everybody obeys and follows the same rules, the same norms, the same values that define the set of beliefs.
As mentioned earlier, humans communicate not just to describe their perceived realities such as anger, hunger, love or frustration but to entice others to cooperate in an ideal or norm that has been created specifically for control.
Religious beliefs are one of the most obvious outcomes of this creation of an ideal and the conditioning of the mind in its pursuit. Lesser beliefs can include a dream home, a certain qualification or achievement etc that promises benefits. Whereas in the material world we often realise the benefits, the afterlife is a completely different notion altogether, where realization can never be proven or demonstrated.
Man, who has successfully created imaginative realities like religion using the cooperative flexibility of the human species, then moves to other areas of control.
Together, human communities have relished the usurping of weaker communities and using the resources ‘owned’ by them. However, they do not engage in this endeavor in a “fair” manner (as defined by the creators of “rights”) and thus, laws and legal systems are introduced, presumably to ‘protect” the vulnerable. Thereafter, these exploited communities use the system of ‘law’ to agitate for their ‘rights’ which are arbitrated by yet other mechanisms created.
Man, in his grandiose assumption of superiority, goes on to create fictional entities such as borders, demarcations, nations and states, divided along some set of difference created in the fictional imaginations previously alluded to. These entities are purely extensions of imaginative creativity that seeks to differentiate, divide and keep the believers in a constant state of competition, adversity or fear. Thus, politics is born.
The creation of money or instruments of negotiation further adds to the fallibility of man in his capacity to collectively cooperate in any set of imaginative fictions. From rare metals that shine when burnished, to pieces of paper with imprints and colours, the major players who were nurtured under the above two sets of players (lawyers and politicians) now define themselves as bankers and economists and further add to the creative imagination that uses man’s collective flexibility to successfully exploit their beliefs.
Religionists, having set the stage for lawyers and politicians, and then bankers and economists, help to further distance humans from mere objective realities such as what we see, feel, use and engage with, to abstract perceived realities like monetary derivatives, shares and debentures which have no inherent benefit or value except those artificially superimposed on man.
These fictional realities gradually erode man’s affinity with objective realities and make them ever more dependent on the movements of these fictitious entities for their perceived benefits. So, instead of growing potatoes or raising chickens, man willingly watches the share market performance to derive benefits.
The purveyors of these fictitious concepts and entities now rule the world. They have debased the very humans on whom they depend, to the level of a nonentity or serial number, whereas animals that still roam the wilds are not under such illusions which degrade them. They adhere to their objective realities like hunger, love and anger among the trees, rivers and mountains and are not enraptured by fictions like gods, money markets, prices, laws, states and wills.
Humans have progressively destroyed themselves and their environment in the firm belief of their superiority to others in the animal world. So, there is perpetual war, inequitable distribution of resources, mass extinction of species that threaten to topple the ecological balance, starvation, depravation, and the very real issue of redundancy of humanity itself in a virtual cyber world.
There are teeming millions upon millions of humans who suffer horribly, day in and day out, generation after generation, while an ever smaller group becomes bigger and more ruthless control freaks with more and more power of control, willingly submitted to them by the collectively cooperating flexible believers. There is then the real danger of mass extinction of humans, perpetrated by this small group in order to acquire yet more control.