November 09, 2008

The patterns always stay the same, be it the macrocosm of a country's economy or the microcosm of a single company.

A dozen, a hundred, a thousand different business manuals may recommend that a company ought to value its naysayers far above its yes-men, written by people belonging to all parts of the economic spectrum: but in practice it is always the mob-supported bully who will be promoted, and the silencing of any dissenting voices will be cheered. The path to short-term power is exactly the same as the path to long-term implosion.

But who is willing to see this at the time? Popular bullies always call themselves easy-going, for it is the easiest thing in the world to be easy-going with people who follow blindly without ever once questioning. And of course no one who questions or unveils the other's reflection too clearly can ever be allowed to stay. After all, their speech might encourage others to start seeing clearly too.

These days, the short term is all that exists in most people's awareness. Elected politicians measure their power in terms, dictators in coups, CEOs in brief slashing stopovers that cycle them between corporations in five-year stints -- and so the quick, highly visible payoff becomes ever more valuable in buying the affection of the mob, convincing it that the new policies actually do benefit the majority in the long term.

Never mind that its quick coin mortgages the future, gradually replacing a just social contract or even the potential for uncapped meritocracy with a tightly utilitarian gerentocracy which continually reduces risk for the privileged class -- those most capable of bearing risk, which would truly have encouraged growth for all -- at the expense of all others. Never mind that the gerentocracy itself has become so risk-adverse because it became the privileged class solely as a result of having already mortgaged the future to make its own money, and now has a vested interest in maintaining the existing patterns of power.

(As revolutionary changes in technology speed up, generations tighten. In Internet-based societies, the current generational interval is about six months.)

In the short term, the mob will always cheer the escape from the "drama" of "negativity", never realising (because determined not to realise) that the only darkness lies solely in the reflection of what is happening, and the only conflict is the choice between seeing what actually is or refusing to see it. And so they too will become complicit in ruthlessly suppressing all non-conformity until finally there can be no more suppression of the underlying weaknesses.

(And then come the shocked cries of "How could this have happened?" closely followed by the search for someone else to blame.)

The last refuge from truth is always violence.

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