February 4

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Leadership, Time and Change, Revolution, the Zeitgeist, the System

More on collective realities: Any idea that is subscribed to by a group of people is a collective reality. A collective reality always starts out as an individual reality. That reality is noticed by others and momentum builds. People adopt that reality for themselves. It moves from individual to collective.

Leadership: The individual whose reality is seized on becomes the leader. He or she has created the reality, people have chosen to adopt it, he or she acts on it, and the followers mimic. As time passes more people subscribe to the reality.

Collective realities in action: As the collective perceives, it also acts collectively. All those subscribing to that reality believe and understand in the same way, therefore they have a tendency to act in the same way. The leader is the focal point, leading by example or by order. The ability of the collective to act is powerful because it is a massing of wills. The reality they subscribe to may be wrong, but since everyone is acting in concert they grow strong and move towards omnipotence so that reality is easily changed. When I think of the modern corporation I think of the collective reality in action. A large group of like-minded individuals, united under one idea, one reality, striving through action to affect actuality – if they are successful they will make a profit – the more successful they are the bigger the profit.

Evolution of realities: Over time, more people join a collective reality and new ideas are added. Growth of the collective reality is often sought after, if not growth in terms of ability to understand actuality, then in the number of subscribers. The more people subscribing to the reality the stronger the resulting action. The feeling of belief is perpetuated as well by new members, such that the more people subscribing to the reality the stronger the faith that binds one to the reality. Growth can be accomplished by antagonizing and attacking other realities. When enemy realities have been vanquished they are absorbed and assimilated.

Problems collective realities face: Reality never conforms to actuality. Reality never creates an actuality to model. In the first statement, it is meant that the original idea the leader arrived at had many errors in it. In the second statement, it is meant that the error filled reality is acted on imperfectly; its own adherents make mistakes.

The problem of time: As time passes collective realities may remain static and outgrow their usefulness. People will start to notice the divergence between the collective reality and actuality. Action derived from the collective reality will be less effective as it is derived from an older actuality, one that is no longer relevant to current times. Problems will appear, cracks, backfiring, that sort of thing. The people who first notice tend to be individuals familiar with the aging reality in question, who also have the ability to see clearly what is actual, or have reference to other realities that function better. Dissent starts with these first observers, then spreads to the rest. And leaders? Leaders face this problem: remaining true to the original reality vs. making changes to keep with the times. Change takes effort, skill, and time. Therefore, many collective realities die out.

The problem of time applied to religious realities: The major battle religious realities have been waging the last century has been one that tries to cope with the fact that actuality has changed dramatically since the time most religions were formed, and new realities such as science offer compelling views of actuality. Religious realities are increasingly remote from actuality. Will religious realities choose not to adapt, ignoring other realities while trying to wrench actuality back in their direction? Or will they decide they are not powerful enough to change actuality, instead choosing to adapt themselves to it?

Revolution: When the collective reality departs from actuality to such an extent that action based on that reality no longer has beneficial effects, individuals notice. Hardship sets in, questions arise. Revolutionary figures or groups emerge who propose a new reality, something counter to the collective reality. The collective is split, those who remain loyal to the dying reality and those who believe in the new reality. The leaders of one marshal their forces against the leaders of the other and all out revolution occurs.

The present age: Picking out realities is not always easy, nor is understanding what they say or how they act always apparent. Here is a stab at determining the zeitgeist of our times, the collective realities that dominate to which a majority of us subscribe. The collective reality subscribed to by today’s Westerner is belief in democracy, capitalism, growth, science, religion, and materialistic progress. These are several different realities that have fused together over the last few hundred years. When a North American is born we are slowly indoctrinated in this worldview. It provides us all with
1. a perspective with which to view actuality. The collection of ideas we are most likely to believe in include – democracy is best, selfishness is justified to an extent because we live in a capitalistic society, growth is better than a static state, progress, God exists and if your good you’ll go to heaven, science is infallible, things and goods provide satisfaction. This is the lens through which we sense, feel, and think about our world. The reality that exists in our brains.

2. A framework for action. By subscribing to how the majority sees actuality, one now has access to the same methods as the majority to affect actuality. This is the System. It is the apparatus formed and maintained by the collective and provides a means through which believers in the collective reality act, and therefore survive. The System, the method of action, provides a means for American man to work, get food, and reproduce. It is a process, a collection of levers, a route, a formalized structure, a set of institutions. In effect, it provides a standard means through which anyone may affect actuality. Because it has been in place for so long, it has become formalized, entrenched, large, extended, and dominating. That’s why an American man or woman is most likely to have a job in the capitalistic economy, probably a white collar job in the service industry, have a family who he or she supports, a focus on productivity and selfishness through which the greater good will benefit, be a member of a church, not be too concerned about death since they know they’ll either go to heaven or science will save them. Warning: If you don’t use the system, you may have extreme troubles affecting actuality. In other words, you might die.

3. Justification. The system, the collective viewpoint, gives us one last important benefit: justification for our actions. We can feel that we are doing the right thing since everyone else is doing it.

The collective reality is all encompassing: It is difficult to escape the collective reality. One is born into it, it is taught to one through one’s family, at school, and in work. It is bred into everyone. The nonconformist will find it impossible to act within the System since he does not agree with its precepts, yet impossible to act outside the System since he has never been taught to provide for himself using his own methods, his own system. No formalized, encoded, structured, obvious system exists for him. He is stuck.

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