Saturday, August 21, 2021

Thoughts on authoritarianism

Every so often on Facebook you see frames pop up that can be added to one's profile picture. I saw one I liked and added it - programed to go bye-bye in a month. 

It made me think a lot about authoritarianism when somebody pressed me on science being authoritarian. I pushed back because I haven't seen evidence of science, or actual scientists, being authoritarian. Rather I've seen authoritarians trying to justify their authoritarianism by using science to try to justify themselves. 

If any group of humans understands that life is a verb, not a noun, it's actual scientists. 
They get that things, like viruses, like life itself, evolve. They try to keep up, they don't impose. They know they'll never be completely right about anything but they always strive to be less wrong about everything. 

The ones who impose, the ones who are authoritative, are those we elect to lead us. Hello? WE elect them to lead us! 
And from whom do they seek information on how best to lead during a pandemic? From effects of climate change? 
From science, we hope! 
That way we can all stay together and move as a large group in hopefully the right direction at the right times, stay nimble against threats to our human collective existence. It's a pretty good system, democracy is - it allows authority/authoritarianism to spread out and be dilute as possible among as large a group of individuals as possible while protecting the body politic from as much die-off as possible. Because you see, authoritarianism is always in there as a default brain thing - but how we organize ourselves in groups will either ameliorate or exacerbate it. 


Speaking of authoritarianism, I also made this little picture: 

The pic at the back is of soldiers from the famous Star Wars movie, and the one at the front was taken just yesterday or the day before, of the new regime in Afghanistan. To me, there is a striking resemblance.  

Both were/are authoritarian. 

There is nothing on this earth more authoritarian than a collective of males banding together to save themselves from the verbs of life by trying to turn everything into nouns to be defended or vanquished. 
By them. 
They keep for themselves alone the right to be verbs and everything else becomes a noun to be manipulated.
Meanwhile they are "salvationed" from having to think for themselves because they take orders instead from whoever feeds them and gives them uniforms to wear. They can go back to being dependent babies in some ways. 
They crave certainty. 
Insecure people don't see existence as a human as being an active agent who has learned to surf on a moving body of water. Instead, they want solid ground. They want to turn everything into rocks that they can pick up and throw. They are vulnerable to wanting authoritarianism to dictate to them what to do with themselves. They want religion to tell them the answers to life's conundrums. They want to blame the world and everyone else in it for their own personal existential angst. Especially they blame females, because perhaps they just can't reconcile with the fact that they came out of one of those "others" and find the very thought rather horrifying.

So many examples of this tendency in the human primate brain - well, for sure the male human primate brain, because males are very homosocial and they love to dress up all the same so that as a group they look more foreboding/less human.
Women perhaps not as much. We prefer to remain individuals I suspect. 

A third thing I saw today that reminded me of authoritarianism was a post from Adam (Manual therapy sux!) Meakins, who I've spoken of before here and here


I enjoy this guy and his take on the world, even though it's so opposite my own, and even though he is so "authoritarian" with his stance or maybe adamant is a better word. 
(Right, adamant is a way better word! It contains his first name even!)

There is nobody on the planet probably, as wedded to the idea that tissues are the cause of back pain than Stu McGill. There is nobody on the planet probably, as prepared to openly confront and contradict him on this than Adam! 😄 

So, who's the authoritarian here? 
What is the background to all this? 
In my mind, I put Stu McGill and all of chiropractic and all of orthopaedic manual therapy and most of orthopaedic surgery all in the same boat: those who subscribe to it want nouns they can manipulate, not messy changey verbs that are like water that they cannot grasp.
They are transfixed by skeletons. They love bones. They sit there and puddle around with individual vertebrae in front of them on the desk, fitting them together, pondering for hours on how they move, what stops them moving, trying to design systems of thinking, algorithms for manipulating them, and assuming (this is the important bit) that somehow those bones not moving on each other is what pains people, not that pain might be something (in the nervous system!! Hello??) that stops them from moving. 
And from that, they built themselves quite the authoritarian world to inhabit. 
One that I examined for a time, quite casually, then, in the end, rejected as pseudo. 

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I am anti-authoritarian in most aspects of life. But not in a meaningless way. 
I got the shots and I wear a mask when out and about. 
I enjoy freedom but not free-dumb. 



Wendy said...

Quite brilliant, darling. I love it.

GA Moreano said...

Fascinating piece, thank you.