I just finished watching an episode of another show
that has picked up on an increasingly popular paradigm, the paradigm of the post-apocalyptic world.
It basically revolves around a cataclysmic event that leaves some survivors but no power structures to keep them in line. This then leads to a power struggle where people attempt to fill the void because the extras in the show or movie obviously need someone to tell them what to do.
More often than not the classic bully type character surrounds himself or herself with other bully type people and manage to coerce the ‘sheeple,’ into following them. This is sometimes done with violence or the threat of it, but more often is accomplished simply by rallying everyone against the person/s who seem/s to legitimately care, and is telling people what they should do for their own good. This once again, however, stems from a premise that were no one to take charge, the other people in the group would just mill about uselessly, waiting and hoping desperately for someone to provide them with a purpose.
So the ‘bad’ person who wants the power for power’s sake convinces everyone that the person who seems to be taking power with more altruistic motives is actually doing it because they want power. The other people who don’t make it into either of the ‘power’ groups are both easily manipulated as a group, and seem to stem right from the pages of Lord of the Flies, causing the viewers to hope that for everyone’s sake the manipulator that ends up winning out is benevolent and manages to establish a power structure that keeps everyone in line before they start harming and often killing each other.
To sum up, the paradigm that I keep seeing and hearing about continuously, claims that without some sort of power structure to keep people in line, those who were previously ordinary, run of the mill citizens all of a sudden turn both hedonistic and sadistic, apparently reverting to their roots of raping and pillaging, which has previously only been held in check by the threat of repercussions.
Negative Effects of the Paradigm
This is frustrating to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the danger of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
People are highly susceptible to seeking conformity.
In a number of social psychology experiments it has been proven that people will willingly harm themselves and others simply because authority figures tell them to, and/or everyone else is doing it.
For one such example look at the Milgram experiment. 62% of people were willing to inflict maximum harm on a peer simply because they were told to by an authority figure.
However, if just one person refused to do the experiment, only 10% of the others were willing to go through with it. Conformity.
The point being, if we are continuously told that this is how people will react in a situation where there is a sudden lack of power structures, people will indeed act that way.
Not because of some genetic predisposition, but because they have been told that it is the norm. If we are instead given a beneficial alternative, such as the one person who stood up and refused to do the experiment, then the majority of people will go that route.
So why do we focus on reinforcing the message of fear and hate instead of encouraging people to shift their paradigms towards a positive alternative, thereby creating that reality instead?
What makes this even more frustrating is that it really does not seem to line up with how people naturally react in those situations. Look at how many stories come out of natural disasters or other cataclysmic events where people, rather than taking advantage of it, will go to extreme lengths to help anyone that they can.
It is far more common for people to work together for the benefit of everyone, unless they have been taught to fear the others.
This has also been the case in my own experience of traveling in areas where there is very little, if any, power structures or fear of consequences for actions. What I have noticed time and again is that for the most part no one even seems aware of the lack of authority. Of course some people take advantage of it and make a general nuisance of themselves, but I have not once seen the intentional manipulation of other people for nefarious ends. In fact it more often than not creates a situation where people are more open, genuine, happy and friendly to those around them, without much of the fear of other people that you will often find in other situations.
Reclaim Your Minds
It is not a great secret that media is a powerful tool for manipulation of populations.
It’s time to start thinking about why it is so often used to create fear and hate as opposed to the opposite, and to start doing more to counteract that manipulation.
The mainstream media may well be the authority figure in the Milgram experiment that coerces everyone to be afraid and to hate, but we are the one person who demonstrates that it is okay to ignore those commands.