Friday, September 10, 2010
We are all individuals. Independent entities forced to co-exist with other independent entities. If self interest was not a key motivator and stimulus for survival, we could all live together without the need for any organization looking out for our varied interests, political, economic, religious. But we are at our core selfish. We seem hardwired that way. So, to protect ourselves from encroachments, physical and emotional, we form groups to create barriers so we can feel safe or aspire to goals that we would not be able to attain as loose dog individuals.
Self interest then becomes group interest. We fool ourselves that giving up some of our individuality to the group, somehow we become less selfish. But do we? I contend that organizing into groups often increases self serving tendencies rather than the opposite. Within the group, we feel good about ourselves and our efforts in the name of the group. We begin to feel noble and altruistic.
The insular aspects of a group builds barriers to anyone not in the flock. And often the organization will develop a group mindset that harbors no tolerance for anything but total loyalty within the group. This rigid code of behaviour will then be projected outward to other groups causing them to feel threatened or because of their own selfish set of rules, insecurities, etc - they will consider another group as attackers or invaders trying to take over their turf. Instead of leaving each other alone, these groups will find or manufacture reasons to engage the other in some type of conflict, using the excuse that the other is in the wrong somehow and that "their" group is not only right, it is their duty to set the other group straight.
When all it really is about is selfishness. High falutin notions and ideals are nothing but excuses for bad behaviour. No higher calling from any idol, physical or otherwise, can justify the encroachments we humans have visited upon our fellows throughout recorded time. At it's core, the reason we intrude and force our way into other's lives is because we are selfish. Being selfish is a major tool for survival. What we should be ashamed of though is our need to coat that selfishness with some kind of moral imperative to justify our bad acting.
This is why I distrust organizations that pretend to be on some higher calling. This is why I cringe when I listen to leaders contend that what they are engaged in are missions of national security or they are doing's God's work. Bullshit. They are working for their group, not their country or mankind. Yet somehow invoking God or country as an excuse makes it all okay.
Okay, I'm done. Not sure I feel any better, but at least there's been a pressure drop.