Sunday, 17 January 2010

On man's self-domestication and exploitation

Homo sapiens is essentially a pack and tribal animal, which has domesticated itself, just as it domesticated other animals; not consciously, of course, but for essentially the same purpose, i.e. to facilitate their - in this case, their own - exploitation (to the advantage of some over others) in the continuing primordial struggle for survival and (reproductive) "success", only now misplaced and perverted in the artificial environment of human society itself, where it has largely been reduced to the pursuit and exercise of power in its multifarious forms (money, social and professional status, the moral high ground, etc).

Of course, it is less straight forward than with other animals, where domesticator and domesticated are clearly distinguishable. Our self-domestication is complex, confusing, and not something we want to recognise anyway (since it would demolish our self-image), because domesticator and domesticated, exploiter and exploited, certainly nowadays, cannot be clearly separated, both usually being present, though very unequally, in every individual (e.g. the multi-millionaire who works himself to death).

The main instrument of self-domestication and social control has always been the state (having usurped our original tribes), in which, up until recent times, established religion always played a dominant role, through its generally accepted, and otherwise enforced, claim to the "
moral high ground", along with the authority, power and privileges that go with it (part of the perverted Darwinian struggle already referred to).

Religion has lost its monopoly of the
moral high ground (based on particular interpretations of the word of God), so that other sources have had to be found to fill the gaps. These sources, a new "moral elite" has latched onto, in order (subconsciously) to claim for its members the associated advantages, authority and power (I'm not suggesting that they do this consciously, any more than members of the clergy do, or did; they are all sincerely convinced of their own self-righteousness, I'm sure).

What are these new sources of "
moral high ground" (and associated advantages)? On the face of it, they are all very worthy: human rights, anti-racism, the brotherhood of man, etc. In fact, they have much in common with basic Christian values. And, of course, there are the relatively new claims to the "moral high ground" of environmentalism and sustainability.

How could anyone possibly object to any of these noble causes . . ?!

One could, and many eventually did, question the church's claim to the
moral high ground (based on its interpretation of the word of God), which is why it has lost so much of the power it once had. Modern (in western democracies, essentially liberal-left) claims to the moral high ground are, it seems, unassailable, certainly in principle (even by the liberal-left's political opponents), thus hugely facilitating their (largely subconscious) exploitation in the interests of personal advantage and power.

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