Institutions are the Sole Justification for their Own Existence
Before institutions existed, I believe, chaos would no more have been possible among humans than it is in other species. I am not saying that natural order meant perfect order. Perfect social order (meaning order without conflict, either within or among groups), doesn’t exist, even among the most highly evolved social species, like elephants and dolphins. But, perfect order isn‘t required for a species to flourish. A high degree of order is. In fact, existence is so dependent on a high degree of order, that existence and order are, in effect, synonymous. Whatever order existed among humans before we created institutions, the very fact that human life existed at all, assures us that whatever order they had was far closer to perfect than chaotic. So, institutions could not possibly have been created to prevent chaos.
This brings up the compelling question to which your comment alludes: If institutions are not needed to prevent chaos, why did humans invent them? I believe the males of our species created institutions to satisfy their desire to own things. They believed that, by creating institutions, they could grant themselves the right to make personal claims on women, land, and animals, and that this would guarantee the satisfaction of each man’s emotional and material needs, for life.
The men who first granted each other the right to own things thought they had found a rational solution to the problem of securing one’s future needs. We humans take pride in our belief that we are rational beings, and granting rights of ownership seems rational. But the practice inevitably creates a problem, for which—as modern humans have yet to discover—there is no rational solution: What is a culture to do, when a few of its members own almost everything!
Chaos is both the endgame, and the only possible solution, to that problem, the chaos of revolution, war, or the eventual cataclysmic collapse of all nation states. In effect, we human beings have built a perverse contradiction into our own lives, by employing institutions to authorize the right to own property—which guarantees eventual chaos—and by justifying those same institutions as protections against chaos! Ironically, the institutions to which we have subjugated our lives are the sole justification for their own existence! How droll it is to realize that our belief in institutions results in a dilemma much like that of a cat chasing its tail!
When cats chase their tails, they eventually figure out their dilemma. Though their tails are at-first enticing, they offer no nourishment, at least nothing of which a cat wants to partake. Likewise, our right to own things entices us with promises of an idealized future, but offers no satisfaction in the end—at least nothing of which humans want to partake. The issue for mankind is: When will we figure out our dilemma? As I see it, our happiness, and the continuing existence of our species depend upon it.
Let’s face it! It isn’t at all rational that we have failed to make the connection between ownership and chaos, despite thousands of years of history repeating itself! This is proof positive that we are “feeling” beings. Even though we think our reactions to our circumstances are rational, they are actually dictated by feelings that come from the evolutionary wisdom—the genetic wisdom—that our species has accumulated over evolutionary time. When humans are allowed to behave naturally, this wisdom provides each individual with a framework of feelings that guide us to respond to each circumstance we encounter, in whatever way best serves life.
It must be understood, however, that our feelings inspire us to serve life only when we are living the way our species evolved to live, and that is without the legal identities that now subject modern humans to institutionally imposed laws. Once we have a legal identity, that changes everything! To understand the degree of the change, consider: One of the most remarkable characteristics of the brain is its ability to adapt. It is so good, in fact, that a person wearing image-inverting glasses will begin seeing the world as upright again, within a day or so. This happens automatically, without intent. In the process of adapting, the subconscious mind, in effect, reconfigures its internal connections. It changes our brains physically. It changes how the brain processes information, in order to counter the effect of the inverting glasses.
Regardless of how senseless its situation, the brain will always adapt, by reconfiguring how it processes information to make the best sense it can of the situation. If you brand every newborn with a legal identity that forces him or her to survive by complying with instituted laws, then every member of that culture will grow up thinking that the only thing that makes sense is to do whatever must be done to substantiate his or her legal identity. That includes their willingness to kill and die on behalf of the institutions that branded them. Whoopee! Awaken to the world in which we all now live.
So you see, it’s not because of who we are, but because of our brains having been forced to adapt to a senseless world—a world hostile to life’s existence—that we spend our entire lives seeking wealth and privilege, when the only thing each of us really want, in our hearts, is to love and to be loved.
Altering how our brains process information to make sense of our institutionalized world, requires a far more complex physical reconfiguration than that required to compensate for a simple inverted visual image. Our brain must produce neurological pathways for all the beliefs that are so important to us, because only those beliefs make it possible to emotionally survive an existence without intimacy—beliefs in Gods, religions, ideologies, nationalism, money, law, technology, progress, hopes, goals, and dreams for the future. That’s bad enough, but the crucial issue is this: With the reconfiguration in place, success is defined by wealth and privilege. This places all individuals in direct competition, which profoundly separates us from one another. Ultimately, all modern humans feel this separation, and we pine for the “something” that is missing from our lives. Regardless of our family relationships, our accomplishments, our positions of power, our beliefs, our circle of friends, ultimately we all “know” that we are alone.
In the natural world that humans once took for granted, the one without legal identities, there were no artificialities to adapt to. The things we believed in did not require our brains to reconfigure any neurological pathway. We were born to believe in one another, and to love the land that sustained us, and that’s what we did. Success, in that world, was gained through social acceptance within the intimate context of small extended family groups. In the give and take, the desire to cooperate, the loving relationships within a circle of people totally dependent on one another for survival, all humans simultaneously served their own needs and each other’s, while serving the needs of life itself. And no one ever had any reason to feel alone.
If the guy who wears the inverting lenses, for a week or so, removes the glasses, then “reality” is upside down again—until he readapts. The same would be true of humanity, if only we could remove the veil that the brain’s adaptation has pulled down over our eyes. If we could remove the veil, we could see beyond the artificial reality that our brain’s adaptations cause us, now, to take for the real world.
The complex distortions our brains must create, in their effort to make sense of institutionalized reality, exist in every modern human being, and include all the beliefs and goals every individual holds so dear. Little wonder that we all feel threatened beyond words at the very idea of an existence without institutions. We are nonplussed! We can’t even picture existence, without them! But, whether right or wrong, I proclaim, here and now, that we, too, could readapt. We are every bit as capable of readapting as that guy who took off his inverting glasses. These brains of ours, that are doing such an remarkable job of adapting to our artificial modern civilization, have not lost their ability to readapt. They would quickly respond to the removal of the veil of artificial reality, at which point the natural reality that sustains human life, after thousands of years, would again make sense.
The way we would take off our inverting glasses would be to figure out how to survive without a legal identity. That involves cooperating with others outside the usual rules that come with legal identities. Call it direct cooperation, with no separate legal or monetary identity, and no rules on the wall to prescribe acceptable behavior! No rules is essential, because that frees the human spirit, which has been taking care of life since its very beginnings, to decide what behavior is socially acceptable. If we could cooperate directly with each other, we would quickly become cognizant of the fact that, in the real world, individual survival doesn’t happen without mutual survival. With that cognizance, our lives would suddenly make infinite sense, compared to the ones we are now living.
Another consequence of humans having been granted the right to own things is that we have become addicted to having that right. The highest form of human irrationality is our desire to own things, a desire that persists, despite both the spiritual alienation it immediately creates, and the chaos to which it eventually leads. Indeed, it is because we are feeling beings, not rational ones, that we are vulnerable to addictions. And ownership is the ultimate addiction. As happens with any addiction, the pleasure we take in owning things renders us blind to the consequences—alienation and chaos. Keep in mind that the need to satisfy feelings is the inspiration for all thoughts. Because satisfying feelings is the conscious mind’s singular goal, the reasoning required to satisfy them doesn’t have to be rational!
But, in one important sense, comparing owning things to a drug addiction is unfair. People don’t have to take drugs to survive. As institutional dependents, on the other hand, our addiction to the “drug of ownership” is forced upon us, because possessions, property, and the prosperity associated with them, are the only source of survival and respectability for modern humans.
An excerpt from Take Us Home, Girls!
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