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As individuals, we humans are, by and large, reasonably reasonable. But as collectivized organisms within an entity (society, sect, creed, etc.) our actions, derived at, mostly by leveraging bureaucratic setups (formal or otherwise, democratic or otherwise) tend to be less reasonable, specially when observed from the point of view of the individual human organism. Why?
For a start, in all human congregates, responsibility is systemically diluted, as there are many of the human organisms assigned to various tasks, formally or otherwise. This is where the idea of ‘shared responsibilities’ comes from. But the day-to-day operationalization of this belief usually results in a situation where the obligation of the individual is structurally and systemically undermined or diminished. This allows both failures and successes to be spread out amongst all participants. In other words, the single individual is salvaged from personal/direct accountability by the sanctioned deeds of the collective. This is where ‘there is strength in numbers’ comes from. In so far as there is a collective, the task performed is neither completely fair, prudent, nor equitable. But the collective is the basis for organized activity, including society itself. Herein lies one of the dilemmas of life! Here is a simple example to illustrate the point. An air force pilot blows up a primary school because he was instructed to do so by the apex of a congregate, in this case, the higher echelon of the military.
The Orwellian phrase ‘Responsibility to Protect, R2P’ is a new currency amongst NATO members and this strategy is effectively destroying countries like Libya, Syria, Yemen and others. The powerful states of the West bomb countries without any qualm and impunity. The safety of the people living in the countries targeted for destruction is not much of a consideration in the calculus of securing global resources. Naturally NATO is only a military tool of TPTB (The Power That Be=the reigning dominant interests of the world system.)What is one to do amidst all these insanity that is giving rise to chaos and mass exodus, like the ones we are witnessing in Europe today, to say nothing about close to a million refugees in our country, (mostly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eretria) and elsewhere. . ‘The individual has to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.’ So said the old philosopher (Friedrich Nietzsche.)
It is the primordial instinct ‘strength in numbers’ or one could even say ‘idiocy in numbers’ and not the transcendent, ‘wisdom in numbers’ that still dominates the collective social narrative of humanity. Because of this, critical decisions that have detrimental effects on the whole of existence (not only that of humans) are taken rather lightly. The modern and unchecked but thoroughly dehumanizing/dumbing institution that goes by the name ‘bureaucracy’ is certainly one of the main organizational tools that continues to facilitate evil and irrationality within the human collectives. It seems the whole social, economic, etc. superstructure built by organized society on the shaky thesis of ‘collective responsibility’ (without checks & balances outside of the prevailing totalizing narratives), in fact seems to connote ‘externalization of responsibilities’ or ‘responsibility avoidance.’ One feels this will only come to pass once we enter Armageddon!
The ongoing assumption that unbridled and unexamined collectives (Rich countries, Sharia countries, Socialist countries, etc.) can be more rational and reasonable needs interrogation, given what the grand narratives (capitalism, socialism, IS/Radical Islamism, etc.) have wrought us. When it comes to repeated atrocities of organized or so-called civilized humanity, (ex. production & usage of nuclear, chemical, biological, electronic, etc., weapons) postmodern existentialists win the essential arguments hands down. Existentialists claim; there is no reality outside of the self, everything else is just an illusion and a grand one at that. They have plenty of evidence to support their assertion, from the Soviet Gulags, Auschwitz and Hiroshima to the IS & Al Qaeda, etc. (supposedly non-state actors) and many others in between!
Here is how a highly decorated Canadian-American Trotskyite {Nobel, Pulitzer, National Book Award (3 times), National Medal of Arts, blah, blah} aptly illuminated the operation of the ‘deep states’ of the core countries of the world system, half a century ago. “A great deal of intelligence is invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”Saul Bellow. Good Day& Good Year!