This article originally appeared on Nachdenkseiten.
Driven by the same stupidity with which we try to solve our global problems today and squander our creative potential, the powerful of the early days, inspired by the simple idea “I am the Lord and I am in charge”, began to very successfully consolidate their rule and expand. Consensual cooperation with religions proved ideal in legitimizing the power of these chosen ones. On all continents. And our emperors and kings also knew how to ensure stable acceptance with the Christian church for many centuries. When the dynamics of the capitalist economy then demanded that secular power be distributed among several heads, it was the turn of the democratic variant: “We are the masters and have the say”. The well-established Western-Christian legitimacy commandment remained system-supporting: Do not allow any criticism of your world view and your actions and never start to discuss your system of rule in a self-critical manner.
One of the basic ideas of democracy, namely to shape living conditions on an equal footing in an atmosphere of communication free from domination, could only be realized to a limited extent. By adopting the economic-political administrative structures and legitimation traditions of imperial-royal rule when building democratic nation-states, but practically without thinking about the consequences, these remained influential; not only in the way the bureaucracy and state authority still treats citizens today, but also in the dream of making the world happy with Western Christian values.
The original model of inviolability, religion, in our case Christian, has been developed into a foundation for the exercise of power worldwide. With creative energy, our emperors and kings knew how to stabilize the willingness of the people to voluntarily submit to religion as acceptance of their rule. Even today we are being educated to attain bliss and exaltation in the service of something higher; at present one thinks one lives and dies for the values of the West.
Although in democratic nations the exercise of power was officially transformed into a purely secular one, this “worshipping something higher” remained present as a system-supporting attitude, especially in nationalist democracies; mostly in the background, revived only in times of war, openly maintained as a norm in God’s own country USA. While in the past decades the USA has unswervingly campaigned almost alone for striving for Western Christian rule over the peoples of the world, the nations of the European Union, Great Britain and the other defenders of Western freedom now feel deeply about the current global political crisis, which they have caused themselves touched to share the glory and honour in saving the world.
As so often in history, our current democratic “temporary rulers” seem to seek true fulfilment in the fight for good at the head of a troubled to hysterical population. To this end, the remnants of the culture of critical discussion are being pushed out of the media public with verve and success, public opinion is being enlightened about the dangers of self-critical thinking, and the clarity of mind is being cultivated in the well-tried style of past systems of rule in a non-contradictory unified opinion.
Yes, a lot has also happened within the German nation: in the modern atmosphere of medieval self-aggrandizement, those who feel called upon to publicly criticize the politics of the Western community of values risk their reputation, their work and their social position. Compared to the burning of witches, it still sounds civilized, humanistic even, but learned is learned: Critical discussion has traditionally been largely eliminated in the realm of Western values, and there is hardly any need to worry about the spectre of self-criticism, because something weird like that is practically never seen became.
In the intoxication of its own exceptionalism, the Western community of values can now, in the style of its role models from the early days of our civilization, concentrate entirely on the salutary conquest of the world. Sensitively set back in the tradition of the Crusades, the effort is rousingly convincing: Let’s rid the whole world of evil; but this time for good!
And at the same time, our rule-based world order traditionally cultivates the tried and tested inability to see the consequences of one’s own actions and omissions, and successfully communicates its wars, exploitation and destruction of nature, the catastrophes it provoked as unavoidable collateral damage on the way to prosperity and freedom for all; yes, for all who prove themselves worthy. The witty individual initiatives around the world give an idea of what mankind is capable of beyond this power-profit paralysis of the mind. It shows that imagination, creativity, curiosity, inventiveness, commitment, empathy, etc. are natural human survival skills. Rather than educating humanity in such creative collaboration from the start, the “I am the Lord and I am in charge” mentality has transformed our talents into a for-profit service culture.
With the introduction of democracies, people were justifiably proud of cultivating freedom of expression in order to shape living conditions together on an equal footing. And in the revolutionary period of transition, critical opinions and analyses had also made a significant contribution to overcoming the rigid “I am the lord and I have the say” of the emperors and kings and other rulers. After that, however, the democracies established themselves as nationalistic power structures with great power fantasies of the past. In the tradition of the past, the management of the national business was taken over by the economically and politically powerful with the saying “We are the masters and have the say”. The ruler-free discourse as a ruler-free design of the common living conditions remained limited to a few attempts and was properly archived as a dream of intellectuals in libraries; still lively discussed in critical literature and some internet forums.
As we know from history, “autistic” democracies, too, tend to lose legitimacy among the population with disastrous wrong decisions because of their cultivated inability to see the consequences of their own actions. Peoples are often enthusiastic about shady ideas and ideologies, but become rebellious when their living conditions deteriorate despite promises to the contrary. Freely based on Brecht: Food comes first, then the western community of values! The fact that this is also the case at present can be seen in the desperate attempt of our politicized public to keep the mood under control with absurdly rhetorical thoughts and disorientated actions and omissions.
Our innate ability to let the intuition of the body-mind react in dangerous situations hardly needs to be considered in our regular everyday life. And likewise, our innate mental alertness withers away, absorbing information without reflecting on the knowledge we are internalizing. This short-sighted thinking has proven to be fabulous as an art of legitimation for the cohesion of an established rulership.
Since the critical awareness of the population has been maintained and cultivated by the entertainment industry for a long time, and we are enlightened by Warner brothers and sisters about global grievances, corruption and lies, a TV series should probably be made about the attitude of the western community of values. In the first episode, the “I am the Lord and I am in charge” ideology is established as some primeval talents realize that with their ability to see social contexts they can dominate others. Appropriately, an image of man is constructed in which the common people are defined as “by nature devious and greedy” and the powerful only increase their wealth for the common good.
Since it is an enlightening-tragic fantasy film, based on a true story, today’s actors in the West are transported to the distant origins of the Western-Christian community of values in further episodes, where they, with their current convictions, without attracting attention, Together with a devoted populace, save the world from evil and bring foreign peoples and cultures under their rule with brutal force. In doing so, they cultivate the high art of discreetly concealing the devastating consequences of their actions and omissions, with a fact check, of course. Freely based on Thomas Hobbes: The fight of all against all be with you.
In the second season, an enlightening alternative to the self-destroying and world-destroying hopelessness of our established lifestyle is described in the style of utopian literature. Every beginning is in the little things, including the simple insight of some of our ancestors from the past that a common survival strategy is natural to us. The first episode recapitulates how the indigenous peoples, with their natural common sense, fuse the survival strategies of their own community with the know-how of the neighbouring tribes, set in motion a development free of domination to the benefit of all; and of course without ever destroying one’s own natural living conditions. And nota bene, this masterless shaping of common survival does not have to be legitimized with a religion or other higher values. So go ahead! An Oscar in the category “Best Enlightenment” would be appropriate.
In order to legitimize their power, the ruling systems began very early on to reduce the natural spiritual and physical connection with the respective way of life to certain characteristics: be it our appearance, skin colour, language traditions, self-esteem as a member of a democratic Christian nation, national consciousness, the social identity, our art and music, the self-respect as a member of the western community of values; we are all playing our other-determined roles in a game that lasts for centuries, in some cases millennia. The curriculum of this tradition does not say that we primarily learn to understand ourselves as human beings among other human beings, but that we identify ourselves as members of an extraordinary civilization that is far superior to all others. And how narrow-minded this “I am the master and in charge” also guides our individual everyday behaviour is reproduced in satirical programs, tragic comedies, violent crime stories, talk shows, political events and other tragedies in an entertaining way.
After all the intensive and lifelong training to achieve worldly-religious excellence, it is difficult for us to meet people from other cultures and ethnic groups without centuries-old prejudices, in their way of life, art and music, to admire human creativity as such. And the fact that we are not rigid creatures of habit, but rather curious, inventive, experimental, and flexible by nature, is nothing new! Instead of becoming aware of our dependencies, instead of cultivating our ability to learn and our potential, the western community of values is now also using the internalized prejudices as legitimation for short-sighted interests in domination. Our Western Christian cultures do not make it easy for us to be human first and foremost.
From the beginning, alert, discerning minds have eloquently endeavoured to project glimpses of light onto the dark walls of our cave; with little success. In the deep darkness, civilized reason could not leap over its shadow. It made sense for the critical spirits only to draw our attention to individual grievances, distortions of facts, to immediate emergencies in real life and to change them. The imaginative utopian literature was not of much help. But such thoughts are also free, and if other people do guess them, they can change something.