Who Runs The World? The Subconscious(*)
EDITORIAL, 30 December 2013
#306 | Johan Galtung, 30 Dec 2013 - TRANSCEND Media Service
Not one or a group of persons, not one or a group of countries. But they may serve as instruments for scripts engraved on the deeper recesses of their minds, not the conscious, easily retrievable ones. Scripts that are too trivial, obvious, too painful/shameful and hence repressed. Jung calls them archetypes; they often come in syndromes.
Imagine that deep down an actor–person, gender-generation-race-class, state-nation, region-civilization–is programmed for two forces in the world, one good the other evil, and sooner or later there will be a final battle for the victory of one over the other: the solution.
Dualism-Manicheism-Armageddon for short, DMA even shorter; from the first and last chapters of the Bible, imprinted on the Western mind soon for two millennia. Maybe with some long lasting impact?
Imagine all of the above driven by the opposite script: holism–holons of many units along many dimensions–and dialectics–forces and counter-forces, in plural, in all holons, and transcendence, going beyond, to new dialectics, in a new reality: the solution.
Holism-Dialectics-Transcendence for short, HDT even shorter: like in the Tao Te Ching, much older than Lao Tzu, imprinted on the Chinese mind for millennia. Maybe with some long lasting impact?
But there is a difference: DMA has been exported to the East through Christianity, Western secularism and the state system, but the West is as ignorant of Chinese thought as of Islam, which together comprise about 3 billion of humanity. The opposite might have served humanity better.
Such archetypes are building-blocs of personalities, gender and class subconsciousness, patriotisms-nationalisms, regionalisms and civilization, of humanity: the cosmology–world view–of deep culture, structure, and nature. Nature is like that, that is normal. And others nod, having been successfully encoded the same way. They agree even without being conscious of what they agree with.
The antidote is more easily said than done: more consciousness, please: Freud for the personal level, Marx for classes with “false consciousness”, Jung for all of humanity. They are giants on whose shoulders to stand, generalizing to any level, micro-meso-macro-mega.
With that in mind, let us spell out some consequences for social action in general, and for the “Who runs the world?” in particular.
Of course there is some space for rationality, adjusting means to ends, trying-failing-trying again. But where do the ends come from? The end of winning over other ends, one’s own or someone else’s; or the end of going beyond, to a level accommodating both or more? And where do the means come from, from the repertory of violence or the repertory of nonviolent search for something encompassing both, all? The script-driven actors–HDT as well as DMA–have it all laid out in advance with a tiny iceberg tip for rationality. That does not make the script irrational, but the rationality of others, sometimes defied.
Thus, Jesus broke the DMA rationality of Jews vs Gentiles-goyim, in favor of kingdoms that are more HDT. But DMA recovered, against Jews, Muslim-Hindus-Buddhists-Pagans-Dissidents, anything not Church.
Marx practiced DMA against DMA, the only kind of struggle he knew, and DMA was then predictably turned against the outcome. Freud was wiser, opting for an HDT of “Id vs Ego vs Ego vs Superego”, with none victorious over the other(s). Jung’s practice was more unclear.
And Gandhi? Caste was DMA frozen into deep culture-structure, protected by kshatriya direct violence for three millennia, encased in an Empire frozen DMA, for maybe four centuries. His consciousness was super-human, turned against vertical caste, in favor of nonviolent warriors, and against the empire. A genius; and yet, India recovered, using Gandhi against the Empire to protect caste from English attacks, and even used the military to bury him. Like Judaism survived Christ, now rooted far from Palestine, Gandhi’s seeds sprouted outside India.
The scripts are strong. Two US professors profess in the INYT (10 Dec 2013) their status as DMA slaves, celebrating Machiavelli’s realism, seeing the issue as being between good and evil, virtue and vice, with evil-vice built into statecraft. Could it be that all three were pre-coded? The most DMA-driven country in the world, the USA, is filled with good, virtuous people. But it is long on DMA and short on HDT; trained in identifying and crushing evil-doers (Powell, 911), not skilled in searching with others as equals for solutions. Result: suicide for dilemmas, homicide for disputes, war for conflict.
And Hitler? A DMA extremist, articulating German DMA extremism at having been defeated by Ally DMA extremism 100 years ago in the war to preserve wars, leading to the third DMA round in only 75 years. DMA breeds DMA, HDT breeds HDT. Their encounter is problematic, with USA DMA-driven and losing, the West in doubt, Islam searching for HDT ummah outside the state system and China for HDT world harmony.
Eichmann had sworn loyalty to DMA in extremis and was with Hitler guilty not of pursuing a script–we all do–but unconsciously so, even accepting the consequences. Acts of omission, not only of commission, sharing that with most Germans, Japanese, and the Allies, at the time.
Thus, the madness, crime, irrationality of violence and war goes on unabated with alternatives poorly understood or unexplored. Remorse and apology-pardon for past sins are no good; explore what could have happened, alternative history–how could WWI-II have been avoided!
And Breivik? Like Hitler-Churchill-Stalin-Tojo-Roosevelt DMA in extremis. Deep conflict polarization made him identify “the enemy within”, and an individual calling to do something, even mass killing, hoping–in vain–to stimulate general Norwegian DMA. The Norwegian court was blind to conflict polarization as script-driver, however.
May 2014 lead to more consciousness of the dangers, even crimes, of the pathological DMA and to joint exploration of the potentials of HDT.
(*) From A Theory of Civilization, TRANSCEND University Press-TUP, forthcoming Spring 2014, followed by Deep Culture * Deep Structure * Deep Nature.
Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is rector of the TRANSCEND Peace University-TPU. He is author of over 150 books on peace and related issues, including ‘50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives,’ published by the TRANSCEND University Press-TUP.
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