To think of the dark ages of rulers and slaves – kings and peasants – Only absolute power and authority ruled. Alas, for most history, the common human condition was to be oppressor or oppressed.
Back in the day, when power was ruthless and those subjugated were viewed as less than human, we had no sense of inherent rights. When we won, we dominated, and we would treat those who we defeated with as cruel treatment as our sadistic minds could imagine. As surely there those among the victors that were the type to do so.
Thankfully, we’ve progressed as a species and become a bit more sophisticated in how we view each other. We seem to have learned to understand and even sympathize with the common suffering of each other, despite differing status, and social standings. These days, you see people saying their please and thank-you’s to homeless people.
Instead of viewing each other as governor and subject, we have an enlightened perspective of our relationships with each other, based on negotiation and merit. And perhaps, even faith in the potential goodness of all others. Somehow these virtues were built into our laws.
One could think of a thousand theories as to how our culture got to this point. Perhaps it was the Bible. Perhaps it was the American Constitution.
Perhaps humanity is simply destined to become progressively sophisticated in every area of its development, including power structures. We can even attribute our recent amazing innovation in art and technology to the enlightened way we treat each other.
In modern times, for those who are fortunate enough to live in this culture, there is little sense of oppression, classism, or corruption. Although, these darker aspects of human nature will always exist in all human societies, in however minuscule form, its hard-pressed to classify them as systemic issues without being seen as a pessimistic whiner.
Blessed with an optimal way to co-exist, which allows for the most amount of positive human expression possible, humanity has never known as much kindness, creativity, and prosperity for all.
No longer do we serve those who rule over us with an iron-thumb. We are left with a choice to make. The choice to find out how to rule over ourselves. Our laws don’t serve to oppress us but to protect this freedom of ours. No other person can know what is truly right for the individual, and as long as it does not interfere with his own choices, no other person should have the power to stop him from finding out.
However, there is a long-term downside to this kind of culture.
This level of choice-making means we are now left with the ability to not self-govern.
Given such freedoms to the individual, we might grow complacent and even forget that we need to make the choice to self-govern. Things work so well because of this system, that we neglect the underlying culture that got us to this place. We resent it, and deny its truth. We stray.
And in doing so, we take our recently-gifted power for granted, and invite new forms of rulers into our lives.
In forgetting what got us to where we are now, we might even unintentionally regress into more archaic structures of power.
Our New Rulers
There are not too many despots these days. Those who rule unfairly are promptly called out and fired or, in the worst cases, sent to jail.
Although, powerful people still get away with things from time to time, they also get called out for things just as frequently. In modern times, the life span of corrupted-power is short.
These days, there just isn’t a Genghis Khan-style autocracy, ruling over 4 generations – type of power structure. It’s unsustainable.
Instead, power isn’t becoming calcified at the top because of outright violence and oppression, but by more subversive and strategic influences. Using advanced technologies and marketing tactics, we can enslave people while making sure they feel like its their own free-will in action.
Quite simply, the exploitation of people with weaker impulses gives everyone around them an illusion that there was some sort of choice being made
. In marketing, diet, culture, and education, the corrupted powerful can simply coerce us to be in a state of rationalizing that we’re serving ourselves.
If we spend any amount of time studying psychology, we will know that humans are pretty damn easy to figure out. It’s obvious, for the most part, that we do not try to fight off our bias’, and we will always react to stimuli that trigger our primal instincts. Through story, and through the concepts of pleasure and pain, we can be trained to behave accordingly.
Kim Kardashian has a giant ass. “Organic” or not, my stupid male monkey brain doesn’t care, and I find my attention drawn to her Instagram posts.
But what right does she have to steal my attention away from where it might be better spent?
For an example like glancing at an Instagram post, it may seem insignificant.
Nonetheless, any amount of attention we devote to something trivial is attention in which could’ve been used to grow as a person and make our lives better. Being that the selling of your attention is taking place in a giant marketplace, every bit certainly adds up.
In every industry, there are millions of dollars spent on psychological games to make you serve their respective brands. Because we are so eager to be bias’, companies are eager to exploit this.
And now we’re far along this path, and in what some call late-stage capitalism. There are more and more people existing solely to serve those who have the resources to produce highly addictive content and sponsor high-quality media.
Hype-beasts and NPC’s.
Those that have lost a deep sense of meaning. The culture now produces a weak and less-than-ideal citizen. One that isn’t able to express itself at the highest level because they are inundated with over-stimulation. One that is nihilistic and deranged.
We’ve been enslaved.
It might be that humans have an inherent instinct to rebel against something. Even if there really isn’t a clear indication of what is doing the oppressing, the feeling to revolt will always be part of every zeitgeist humans find themselves in. Every generation has it’s oppressors and dictators.
As privileged as we are now, to many of us we are still oppressed.
Over time, there will inevitably be new labels and new narratives that we can fit ourselves into. All to serve the bias towards active rebellion.
There’s something about human nature that makes us want to go the opposite direction of what it is forcefully told to go. It’s not rational. It’s more powerful than that.
Perhaps, built into our DNA, is a fighting instinct against the inevitable corruption of our power structures and those who are silencing our truth. For organized societies, you can think of revolution like a fail-safe system against corruption. For the individual, it is a defense mechanism against those who would crush our spirits.
Built into the DNA in every human is to have that surge of adrenaline when we feel like we have been unfairly treated. It doesn’t take much to trigger it. Our ancestors would not have survived long if they were easily manipulated and were not diligently fighting on their own behalf, while remaining sensitive to anything that trespassed our boundaries.
Indeed, we just hate to feel taken advantage of.
Unfairness leads to resentment which eventually turns to anger.
And then anger into violence.
Energy that is oppressed which seeks an explosive outlet.
It’s wise, then, to have this energy directed to rebellion against that which truly oppresses us as individuals:
Our individual brand of vices and weaknesses.
We need to be painfully honest that what needs to be rebelled against is within us and not some exterior conspiracy or social construct.
No longer will we be in the servitude of the brands that seek to exploit our blindness. We will rebel against what truly needs to be rebelled against.