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European Tribune - LQD: Parables of Power
Even in the group of altruists, there will almost certainly be a dissenting minority who refuse to make any sacrifice. If there is just one selfish rebel, prepared to exploit the altruism of the rest, then he, by definition, is more likely than they are to survive and have children. Each of these children will tend to inherit his selfish traits. After several generations of this natural selection, the 'altruistic group' will be over-run by selfish individuals, and will be indistinguishable from the selfish group.

this is the anglo disease... not making any sacrifice can be seen as the life of a 'trader in financial services' who can parlay thousands into millions clicking a mouse comfortably esconced behind a monitor, miles away from the consequences of their actions, which might include the firing of workers, markets manipulated, people going hungry, even war.

so removed from the proddings to human conscience, life and death reduced to flickering pixels, endless enumerations.

lives like that freeze the soul, hell's not hot, it's c-o-o-o-o-ld.

these parables of power in tribal life ring all kinds of inner resonance bells.

when the planet was underpopulated, this fouling of the moral nest must have stimulated a lot of travel, nomads  being moving targets, and because over the rainbow was more land to husband, away from the mad mongols/huns/gauls/romans coming ovet the hilltop, just as you've got your place together, fruit trees bearing, fencing sorted, women bearing healthy children etc.

has any culture lived in peace for long? the rumours i grew up with about the fabled himalayan shangri-las of hunza, mustang, bhutan i always suspected were that way (if they really  were!) because they were so damn hard to get to, and severely selected for only the hardiest and canniest by the topography and climate challenges, very difficult to storm even with armies of serious size.

not much there to pillage in those days either, although that might be different now, with ores and metals demands rising so fast, and better technology to find them with.

becoming aware quite young about the de-souling of english country and culture, i explored different corners of the world to observe how they addressed this age old problem.

the happiest people i found were in faraway places, where they were poor in money, but rich in human contact and relationships.

the more modern, the more destructive, insensitive, unaware and neurotic.

the biggest flag...the children smile more, and the adults are generally merrier too.

but nowadays, there are no places completely immune, the global clarion call to consume and gorge while you still can has immense reach, coca-colonisation wherever you go, and escape can never be more than relative...

thanks for this diary, it cuts to the nub of the problem, power is such core stuff, and the games played with it start very young.

we all crave and deserve to enjoy power, as much as we can stand without shaking to bits, but we have to find ways that satisfy ourselves that have no bad blowback.

not power-over, but power-with...
das monde:

Dynamics of power always causes some despair.

you sure got that right!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 06:50:47 AM EST

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