The Forces that Control Everything
People have always believed in these; the belief in spirits was universal in every primitive society. This belief was simple and profound – everything was possessed by a spirit – which people with their advanced spiritual capabilities could communicate with. Advanced practitioners could gain the help of these spirits to cure sickness – or almost anything else.
This evolved into a belief in gods – or in the case of the Hebrews, God. People could do a lot on their own – but in the last analysis, the gods were firmly in control. It didn’t pay to mess around with them.
Eventually, in the West, Christianity became the dominant religion – and became more than a religion. It was the most powerful force in the Middle Ages. It ran everything.
Eventually, with the dawn of the Modern World, this changed. How it changed we have not wanted to remember. Large, painful changes are usually ignored – not a smart strategy. They were simply denied – to use a term invented by Freud.
But, recognized or not – these changes happened. And people adapted to them – with little thinking on their part. We now have to go back, and try to understand what happened – long after the fact.
An effort for which there is little social support. Indeed, powerful voices are saying “Don’t go there!” Any questioning of the way things are is very dangerous.
Nevertheless, I will persist – and observe, simply, that something is still in control (as always). And we believe in It – as we always have. The question, of course, is what is this something?
We don’t know, and we don’t want to know. We simply behave like everyone else – which guarantees that we are in step – and under control .
Our culture has become largely unconscious – something else discovered by Freud – but something few will now recognize. Something else has gotten hold of the steering wheel – somewhere under the hood – and has succeeded in convincing us that we are in control – when we are not.
As a global culture, we are devoted to ignoring this – but at the same time following its commands explicitly.
What are these commands? This (obviously) depends on the social situation – which depends on the technology of that society. For my parents it was Industrialization – they were producers - and extremely proud of that. They were not human – they were far above that.
This was not a good time to be a child, believe me. Or to be a working adult either. Anyone who was still human, who could not adapt and become super-human, was in big trouble.
Industrialization was the controlling force of most of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century. This is an umbrella term, concentrating on manufacturing and the railroads – but it also included many small businessmen (such as my father) – and many family farms (such as my uncle’s). And even teachers of one-room rural schools – such as my mother was.
After WWII, this changed drastically. And two new technologies took over – Television and then the Computer. The Organization (most often the Corporation) became supreme – and has remained firmly in control ever since. And we have just as firmly overlooked this, and its implications.
I summarize – the forces that control the world have evolved so rapidly in the last two hundred years or so, that we no longer know what they are – we just obey them instinctively, as we always have.
We really should take stock of where we are, and try to get things under control. But this has seldom happened – and is not likely to happen now.