The American Tsunami:
3. Totalitarianism and Variability

Posted by Bob on September 8th, 2007

We can understand the evolution of cultures best with a comparison of the curves of Totalitarianism and Freedom:

The central tendency in an Unfree Society becomes institutionalized (See Figure 3). The first stage in Totalitarianism may be conceived of as an Ignorance Stage, and ignorance is always intentional. As can be seen, the logical goal of facilitating peoples’ or culture’s development toward a higher level of functioning is ignored. This situation occurs when those in the mainstream treat all marginal people (tsunami01a.gif) the same: high functioning people just as well as low functioning people. It is just too much work for the comfortable people to become productive people. At most, they need energy to adapt to their circumstances; they are caught up in an incentive system that demands very little and sometimes even rewards them; they care not about the people around them; they get away with vague concepts of efforts at work; they are concerned only with being critics, diagnosing others from an external frame of reference. They seek to institutionalize these characteristics and make people over in their images. That way they will always be comfortable and never be vulnerable—even as they die, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.

tsunami03.gif

Figure 3. The Movement Toward Restricted
Variability of Unfree People

What happens during the second stage of Totalitarianism, a Stage of Restriction, is that the variability becomes more and more restricted. This is accomplished by channeling the extremes on any index into the mainstream. Thus, the highs and the lows become fewer and less prominent and the central tendency is accentuated.

This restrictiveness is carried to an extreme of “Leptokurticism” during the third Stage of Elimination. During this stage, those marginal peoples—high and low—who were not “mainstreamed” for one reason or another are eliminated. Thus, the central tendency is further exaggerated as the peoples come increasingly to look like each other.

The fourth stage may be conceived of as a Destructive Stage, although the process has been destructive throughout. Finally, all variance is destroyed and encompassed within one single dimension on any one index. We see this most clearly in advanced stages of all authoritarian societies. The people are made over in the image of their leader or council of leaders.

The fifth Stage of Institutionalization may also be considered the Disappearing Stage. Since all peoples appear as one, they can be represented as one. Indeed, the one can be reduced until it has disappeared. The culmination of the institutionalization of humankind is the disappearance of humanity. We see this most clearly in the advanced stages of all totalitarian societies. The people are made over in the image or their leader or leaders. And their leaders are one-dimensional people with one principle of operating—either you are controlled or you are eliminated. In the end, such a system self-destructs.

Even when such a system is overthrown, as in a revolution from within or without, the stages are usually repeated: One source of restrictive variance is replaced with another. Surely, there is utility in doing this when a system is diseased. However, such a program kills or cures. It does not grow, because it maximizes intervention and control and abandons or eliminates sources of variance.

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