What's with "the one"
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08-12-2010, 09:31 PM
RE: What's with "the one"
Hey, The Observer.

In terms of rulership, in the end, it's just easy for an individual to seise power for themselves. It's just one of the dynamics of power. By definition, when power is shared, each individual has a little. If one person starts hoarding power then by definition they become more powerful than those they share power with and eventually, when a tipping point is reached, they can just take over. This is why a lot of government systems have a system of checks and balances designed to pre-empt one person or one branch from gaining too much power. But unfortunately that can be circumvented.

As far as the pack animal theory, when humans live in egalitarian societies, typically small bands with numbers bellow the Dunbar limit of 150, there is no one in power because it's impossible to concentrate power in the one or the few. You have to pass the Dunbar limit to do so: the first stop being cheifdoms. That being said, in egalitarian societies you will find a web of leadership: leadership being markedly different than rulership.

In terms of mythology, the universality of the hero character has been well studied by Joseph Campbell in his work The Hero with a Thousand Faces. For example, Neo, "The One" from the Matrix mythology, was created with a full understanding of Joseph Campbell's work, as was Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (Campbell and Lucas were close friends). But Campbell didn't invent these rules, he simply observed them and codifed them. There is a direct parallel between Christ, Hercules and Neo.

In terms of one liners, that person is what memeticist Dr. Susan Blackmore would call a "meme fountain" (actually I think she gets that idea from Dennett).

In terms of "the ignitor", hierarchical civilisation has a boom and bust cycle. Revolution. It is called so because it describes a circle. A special interest group takes over and over time, marginalises larger and larger parts of the populace, leading to increasing unrest. At a certain point, the unrest grows past the point of control and a "bandit hero" (MLK, Gandhi, Mandela, The IRA, Al-Quaida, Robin Hood, Zoro) rises to "fight the oppression". They have wide support because the populace gets to fight the source of tyranny vicariously through the bandit hero. If the bandit hero succeedes in taking over, they become the new leader. If they are imprisoned or killed, then the populace no longer has a vicarious avenue of redress and this typically triggers a popular uprising (the "Battle of Algiers" is a great example of this).

In terms of people following "the one" it's a product of hierarchical society. In hierarchical society decisions must be centralised. In an egalitarian sub-Dunbar society, decisions can be made by consensus because everyone knows and has a personal relationship with everyone else. In a hierarchical society, this is an impossibility. There is no way that a billion and a half Chinese could govern through consensus. So in order for hierarchical society to function, decisions must be centralised: the granting of authority to the leadership being one of the main mechanisms of power. You and I live in hierarchical societies. We're used to the leadership making decisions for us because that's how it works. But power is a mutual agreement. The masses grant the leadership legitimacy. If they no longer represent the interests of the masses, they will look to throw their support elsewhere. Enter the bandit hero and poof. "Let's let this guy tell us what to do". Why? Because we believe they are looking out for out best interests.

In terms of black/white, good/bad, hierarchical rulers must either rule by force or by law. Ruling by force is incredibly energy intensive. Ruling by law much less so. But the laws need to be universal. Law cannot be arbitrary. No one would accept a law that allowed all men to murder women indescriminantly. Not for long anyway. A group will not allow itself to be marginalised forever. There is a limit for everyone. Similarly, no one would accept a law that said people the ruler liked could murder with impunity. At any rate, if the law says, no one is allowed to murder, then people are cool with it because it applies to everyone. So the legislation of the rulership and the decrees of the rulership can't be proclaimed in greys. They must be made in absolutes. Simple dichotomies make absolutes easy to communicate. X is bad, Y is good. Period. A hierarchical rulership cannot rule on a case-by-case basis. The closest to that is the common law system; however, once a precedent is set, it's set and it doesn't originate in a vacuum, but from previously codified laws.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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08-12-2010, 11:59 PM
RE: What's with "the one"
(08-12-2010 07:51 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  I don't think that it's "forced on us" or "incorrect" to embrace the power of the individual. Maybe we all read and absorbed Brave New World's message. But likely, it's because America has a history of "one man changing the world." Martin Luther King, Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Henry Ford, Rosa Parks, Carl Sagan, Charles Darwin, etc.
I don't fully agree.

Martin luther king for exaple was indeed the katalist of the black movement but he did not do that single handed. It was the dynamic of the group that got the result. I don't doubt the fact that there are great leaders/individuals but only in retrospect and never alone.

Observer

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Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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09-12-2010, 12:42 AM
RE: What's with "the one"
None of these people changed the world by themselves. After World War II tens of thousands of black solders came back from fighting only to discover that they faced the same bigotry as when they left. Without these battle hardened solders, the opportunity for Martin Luther King to do what he did may never have happened. All the other names in the list are in similar situations. Edison had a lab with many employed inventors and is credited with all the inventions of everyone there. The idea of "the one" is an illusion. There is no one person in the world who could make a pencil all by himself. It takes thousands of people to make a pencil. It is large bunches of people who get things done. The leader gets the glory.
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10-12-2010, 09:41 AM
RE: What's with "the one"
(08-12-2010 09:31 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, The Observer.

/*long and intersting text*/

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Hi Matt
Wow. Seems I get more then I asked for. I have so many new google-searchterms now. Thank you for your effort. (i can imagine i took a log time to write this)

Observer

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Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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10-12-2010, 10:10 AM
RE: What's with "the one"
Hey, The Observer.

It was a pleasure. Those things are passions of mine. Glad you got something out of it. Feel free to ask me about any of that stuff.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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