Our Big Problem Now
Back when I was working in Silicon Valley, in the Nineties – I had many therapists. They have every kind imaginable there – the demand is so immense – with a new kind being invented every week.
But they all talked around the Big Problem – as if it didn’t exist! I was reduced to asking myself – if I was crazy, or they were?
I won’t keep you guessing, but lay it right on you:
Most people are not able to be themselves. To put this slightly differently – they have, and are continuing, to self-destruct.
They can be themselves in small ways, but not in big ways. When they get close to the boundary between the small and the big – their defense mechanism kicks in, and can produce some shocking results, that are sometimes fatal to themselves, or others.
And therapists, who should be helping them with this – will not. They think they will be squashed like a bug, or some other terrible thing, if they do. They won’t be, they will simply be ignored – and lose their social standing. But they fear that worse than death.
In short – people are scared, and scared to death.
How did this terrible fear develop? What made society more powerful than the individual?
First of all, when did this happen? That is a question we can answer with some certainty – in the middle of the 19th Century. When Industrialization matured. This produced both good and bad results – but made organizations, particularly the Railroads, very powerful. And individuals, by comparison, less powerful. The result was WWI – where Industrial Power made itself felt, for the first time.
People, at the time, knew nothing of Industrial Power – they just went to their deaths in massive numbers. And accomplished nothing by their dying. This set the pattern for the next Fifty years – WWI, the Depression, and WWII – all one continuous event. From which people learned little – but did learn that war was profitable. And continued it with the Cold War – from which, I profited personally, as an Electronic Engineer, specializing in Radar.
This is when the Organization Man was born. This type of person needed only one skill – the ability to climb the organizational ladder, using whatever means – fair or foul.
He was not afraid of being big – instead, he identified with it, and became bigness itself.