The Impact Of Systematic Civilization On The Individual And Society *
Wise Up Journal
By Gabriel O’Hara
Psychiatrist William Glasser’s book published in 1972 titled The Identity Society is not about ID cards but about the impact of civilization’s system on the individual and society.
On page 15 he states:
“It is a common belief that life became easier with the advent of civilization, the recorded history of settled, agricultural, property-owing societies during the past 5,000 to 10,000 years. Commonly held as is this belief, there is little evidence that it is true.”
“The lives of almost all people who lived during the 10,000 years of the civilized survival society are, and were, much less satisfactory from the standpoint of ease and human satisfaction than were the lives of men who lived half a million years before in the primitive identity society.”
The word primitive is a loaded term. It conjures up the concept of less than human. The term is used in English to describe humans not conformed to the system we live under called civilization. This derogatory word is used for humans whether they lived thousand of years ago or are modern humans still alive today settled in rainforests. To understand the psychology of “primitive” society the author, William Glasser, examined the psychology of living “primitive” societies; twentieth century humans who have lived in a natural jungle for thousands of years as opposed to us the concrete urban-jungle humans.
On page 14 he talked about humans not under civilization’s system:
“About 500,000 years ago, man so successfully overcame the dangers to life that little time was needed for working cooperatively to survive; as a result he was able to spend most of this time enjoying the society”
Civilized man continues to:
“prey upon his fellows. Conflict became the rule, not the exception, as man moved into the civilized survival society.” – Page 19
Page 16 states:
“Civilized survival man has demonstrated an outstanding ability to utilize the resources of this environment to his own advantage. He has not, however, demonstrated except for brief periods an ability to get along with his fellow man.”
“Civilized survival man struggled and struggles against a hostile environment almost all of this own making.”
Page 22 states:
“Hostile, suspicious, competitive antagonism that was often useful in civilized survival society”
“All pervious large civilizations that ‘valued’ humanity were built on slavery or a low servile class. It may have been an identity society for Plato but not for the slaves who created the security that allowed him to develop his identity.”
By identity Glasser means individuality. In an identity society the development of true individual personalities blossom. Glasser highlights that the elite and “primitive” human environments encourage this development while everyone else living under civilization’s system has individuality suppressed competing to make ends meat.
“Easily able to satisfy his physiological needs, he had ample time to develop his culture and his relationships with his fellow man. He formulated many complex kinship systems, rituals, ceremonies, dances, and religious beliefs to further personal identity.
During this time, when people could relax and live easily […] power and property were not important.” – Page 17
Charles Galton Darwin, the grandson of Charles Darwin, in his book The Next Million Years ’s on page 99 explains:
“Civilization has taught man how to live in dense crowds”
Glasser wrote, that in the citied system:
“To survive, men relinquished their individuality and became subservient to the group. Work became necessary, and to ensure their own survival, strong men forced or persuaded others to labor for them. The control by one man of other men characterized the society.” – page 20
From page 96 Glasser explains that these “strong” men have predatory personalities:
“Totally involved with his own actions, and greedy to satisfy his own desires, he has no concern for how his behavior affects society because he perceives others only as objects to be manipulated and exploited. Although some failures who prey on others are charming and sociable, their behavior is never honest. They feign interest in other people because they have learned it is the best and quickest way to get what they want”
“In terms of power or money, not all people involved with predatory companions [characteristics] are failures. Their single-minded devotion to what they do, their complete disregard for the feelings and the rights of others, and their ability to become involved with people only as they can exploit them may help these people gain power and wealth.”
“people who never gain human involvement, love, or respect do succeed in gaining wealth or power through their total disregard for others and their total involvement with their own behavior.”
Instead of free indepenent peoples exsiting on the landscape these “strong” men forced populations together to form a multitude of unified nations which taxes could be extorted from. The people were given a flag to follow and told what national identity they were.
“Civilized survival societies are power hierarchies. The top is occupied by a few powerful people, the bottom by large masses grubbing for existence at a bare survival level. Between the two is a wide variety of people who make up the middle classes of any civilization. Power keeps these classes in their established order.”
“Power is jealously guarded.”
Intelligent people with predatory personalities or in other words intelligent psychopaths will always succeed over ordinary people in every hierarchal system. And they will always attain more wealth or power than ordinary people in any system that uses money/credits/tokens or contains a top and bottom. Forced to living under a hostile rivalry environment people will take on aspects of their rulers. Truly honest people can not burn out their competition, they can not guilt free deviously manipulate others, they can not accept bribes, they can not threaten or order an “accident” to befall their political rival. Intelligent psychopaths with a drive for wealth, power, and prestige will always claw their way to the top of any system setup in a hierarchal pyramidal fashion. Such an environment is ideal for them and power is guarded once gained.
Predatory personalities on different levels are attracted to any system or institution with the slightest amount of power and to increase their influence they network with others in useful positions.
“They do not think what they do is wrong or that they are failures. For them, breaking the law is part of their work, and many of them have a successful identity in their own social group. Because they often have powerful connections, both in the police department and politically, they are usually acquitted or receive a light sentence when they are caught.” – Page 225
Psychopaths with wealth are the most powerful as civilization exists on money/credits/tokens. Those who own the gold pay others to make the rules.
Glasser describes that civilization, whether it’s called democracy, socialism, or any other ism, in practice is a hierarchy:
“However many classes exist, it is always the large bottom group, the slaves, serfs, peasants, or milhands, who do the hard, disagreeable work”
“If many of them stop working, the whole hierarchy is threatened; any attempt to organize this class and give it power is therefore strenuously resisted, not only by those at the top but by almost everyone above the bottom.” – page 23
Socialist Russia had a wealthy top despite the illusion it was empowering the bottom; just as socialist China had before it merged socialism with capitalism.
Charles Galton Darwin, who was part of the wealthy establishment, in his book on page 191 confirms that government has another purpose. The real purpose is not to serve the people. He explained:
“If the only things that a government was required to do were what everybody, or nearly everybody, wanted, there would be no need for the government to exist at all, because the things would be done anyhow”.
“If then there is ever to be a world government, it will have to function as government do now, in the sense that it will have to coerce a minority - and indeed it may often be a majority into doing things they do not want to do.”
Glasser who did some work in schools explains that report cards highlight failures making children feel like failures. Teaching children to perform to test puts fast paced pressure on them. School, which empathize memorization, right answers and grades not real thinking, teaches children to become workers one day. Children pick up the message that passing tests are viewed as a gauge of success. Children are sorted into a cast system by trivial intelligence (Class 3A, Class 3B, Class 3C, Class 3D), where most will remain until released into the work force as human resources. On schooling Glasser wrote:
“our schools are burdened with failing students” – page 9
“The school did not offer what the students wanted. They wanted to be accepted and treated as human, not as a group of children who had to learn reading and arithmetic quickly” – Page 2
“Some children by the end of the first grade, and more in each succeeding grade, thought of themselves as school failures. To defend themselves against the pain of failure, they quickly removed themselves mentally” – Page 2
“In Watts [school] the older kids are harder to reach than the younger ones because they have more years of failure to reinforce their failure identity.”
“Unmotivated, failing students are a graphic illustration of other people with failure identities.” – Page 9
“Children fail in school because schools deny that the child’s humanity is primary. They say, “Work hard for goals and then we will reward you,”
“Failure at school, even with success at home, may cause the child to develop a failure identity because school failure can greatly damage the child’s belief in himself as a valuable, independent human being.” – Page 167
“Almost everyone is personally engaged in a search for acceptance as a person rather than as a performer of a task.” – Page 10
John Taylor Gatto, who was a three times award winning New York teacher of the year, wrote in the prologue of his book, The Underground History of American Education, that:
“Before you hire a company to build a house, you would, I expect, insist on detailed plans showing what the finished structure was going to look like. Building a child’s mind and character is what public schools do”
“Ordinary people send their children to school to get smart, but what modern schooling teaches is dumbness.”
“this kind of economy would be jeopardized by too many smart people who understand too much.”
“The new dumbness is particularly deadly to middle- and upper-middle-class kids […] when they come of age, they are certain they must know something because their degrees and licenses say they do.”
The three times New York teacher of the year award winner quit his profession publicly in a Wall Street Journal essay which said: “I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.”
Glasser points out that the civilization system has caused the struggle for a goal – a profession, a diploma, a home, a family – to superseded the struggle of find oneself as a human being.
“Civilization forced most men to suppress, delay, or alter their need for involvement.”
“In civilized survival societies most people have no identity and live in constant frustration because their need for involvement is unfulfilled.” – Page 21
“In civilized survival society concern with role was possible for few men. Even for these few the role was not a freely chosen role independent of goal such as characterized the primitive identity society but a limited, specialized, dependent role related to a survival or security goal; for example, a soldier fought, a politician led, a cleric prayed. Most men struggled continually to survive, they had no role or identity – independent or dependent.” – Page 20
“Those with power always kept the workers close to bare survival” – Page 24
Fear of poverty. Anyone with a career and a mortgage fears being made unemployed and living on the poverty line. If a few payments on the home are missed your shelter gets seized by the bank. People with pensions or private savings later found out that inflation ravished the value of their security.
On page 221 Glasser said that with regards to socialism, “only rarely do they provide more than the bare survival” and the “welfare system perpetuates failure”.
“In a civilized survival society, attaining an independent role or a human identity is impossible for most people and difficult for the remaining few.” – Page 25
Adopting the same views as a Republican, a stock broker, a Liberal, or dressing in the uniform of a Goth is being a follower of a ready made mental box.
With regards to young men with no individuality:
“during frequent wars were they able to gain even the severely restricted role of expendable soldier. Because this dangerous role was attractive to men with no identity, there was rarely a shortage of soldiers.” – Page 20
“Organization for war, especially in highly technical societies, can become a national goal to which the whole society subscribes.” – Page 25
“Many people with no identity tried to gain a little security and a dependent role within the power structure by taking on aspects of their ruler’s identity. History is replete with people who followed blindly, often to their own destruction, a leader who gave them identity.” – Page 24
To be more specific that should be stated people (who are mostly followers) take on aspects their ruler’s wish them to emulate. Plato said in civilization culture comes from the top down and the top can make it whatever way they desire for the time.
In Charles Galton Darwin’s book on page 99 he explains:
“Civilization has taught man how to live in dense crowds”
“Life in the crowded conditions of cities has many unattractive features, but in the long run these may be overcome, not so much by altering them but simply by changing the human race into liking them.”
“Already there are many who prefer this crowded life, but there are others who do not, and these will gradually be eliminated.”
Aldous Huxley, a part of the wealthy establishment who’s brother had dealings on the international political scene, spoke at Berkeley Language Center in 1962. This speech was recorded and he said:
“In the past we can say that all revolutions have essentially aimed at changing the environment in order to change the individual. I mean there’s been the political revolution, the economic revolution. In the time of the reformation, the religious revolution. All these aimed, as I say not directly at the human being, but at his surroundings. So that by modifying the surroundings you did achieve, did one remove the effect of the human being.” - [Huxely’s speech can be heard towards the end of this MP3]
Glasser on page 136 said:
“Daily in most homes one or several children sit in front of the television set. Television is a passive, nonsocial medium that stimulates a child’s nervous system enough to make him feel comfortable but does not fulfill his nervous system’s need for involvement because it deprives him of social play with others. It is analogous to feeding a child only candy, cake, and ice cream.”
“Young children are estimated to watch television more that 2,000 hours before they start school. Television has influenced the lives of almost everyone in the Western world.” – Page 45
“When asked to become actively involved in learning (to read, for example), they are passive. Used to receiving, they do not know how to put forth an effort.” – Page 137
That figure from the 1960’s equaled just over one hour of television a day. Towards the end of the 20th century children spent many hours if not most of the day in front of their glowing and flickering babysitter. Nowadays even third world slum houses have a television.
“Television tells people that they should be dissatisfied […] and, finally, that they can best achieve their own human potential by using the various products advertised or by living like the people shown in the programs.” – Page 45
Children and adults will behave like people they see, people they see in reality or people they see in virtually reality TV programming. Children grow up with these virtual people. Adults and children will also dress like them. In the 1980’s women looked like mini American football players by wearing clothes with shoulder pads. Women in the U.S wore them, women in Europe wore them, women in third world Asian counties wore them all at the same time.
“Although radio, magazines, and newspapers have influenced and still do influence people, television, because of its nature and because of the time involved, has a greater influence on people” – Page 50
On Page 42 Glasser acknowledges that one of the accumulating modern reasons why poor people make little trouble is because of “the narcotizing influence of TV, they do not realize they are on the bottom.”
When we are being entertained our mind’s guard to incoming information is down. Comedy is a very effective way to change people’s behavior, we want to relax, enjoy the show, and anything goes. In almost all modern comedy TV programs the characters dislike their relatives especially the old. The characters are selfish, they lie and manipulate each other. All things you would not want children learning consciously or subconsciously.
During Aldous Huxley’s recorded speech at Berkeley Language Center in 1962 he quite politely said:
“That we are in process of developing a whole series of techniques which will enable the controlling oligarchy, who have always existed and presumably will always exist, to get people actually to love their servitude.”
“A people can be made to enjoy a state of affairs by which by any decent standard they ought not to enjoy. This, the enjoyment of servitude.”
“But there is evidently a whole class of drugs effecting the central nervous system which can produce enormous changes in sedation in euphoria in energizing the whole mental process without doing any perceptible harm to the human body, and this presents to me the most extraordinary revolution.”
“And here I think one has an enormous area in which the ultimate revolution could function very well indeed, an area in which a great deal of control could be used by not through terror, but by making life seem much more enjoyable than it normally does. Enjoyable to the point, where as I said before, human beings come to love a state of things by which any reasonable and decent human standard they ought not to love and this I think is perfectly possible.”
“That if you can get people to consent to the state of affairs in which they’re living. The state of servitude the state of being, having their differences ironed out, and being made amenable to mass production methods on the social level, if you can do this, then you have, you are likely, to have a much more stable a much more lasting society. Much more easily controllable society”
The predatory personalities that can only thrive in a hierarchal system are delinquents to humanity. Glasser wrote:
“delinquents rationalize that being warm, kind, and caring for other people is a sign of weakness” – Page 97
“Although some failures who prey on others are charming and sociable, their behavior is never honest.” - Page 96
On page 22 Glasser wrote:
“Hostile, destructive, competitive behavior is not natural; it is not built in. Man is potentially more akin to what he was during the 500,000 years that preceded civilization than what he has forced himself to be during the moment of time called history.”
Back to human beings living in natural environments not living in an artificial hierarchy run on money, credits, tokens or any other middle man type of exchange:
“People in these societies were role-oriented; they cared about their individual identity, their own personal pleasure, and their involvement with others. By creating intellectual activities to support their involvement and personal identity, such as elaborate rituals of magic and religion, they impressed themselves and others with their status, work, and personal accomplishments – their role as individuals and as a society. Compared with the way most people live today, it was a good time to be alive.” – Page 19
Despite in the 1960’s knowing most of the suppressants a civilization hierarchy put on the individual previously; William Glasser optimistically hoped (which is one of humanity’s greatest strengths and weakness) that from the 1970’s suggestions from like mined individuals would be adopted and society would mentally reverse the thousands year old trend at the determent of the hierarchy, the wealthy establishment. That did not happen and since the 1970’s the problems of civilized society has increased for the masses.
Carl Jung, who did have some faults, wrote in The Undiscovered Self how important individuality is:
“All mass movements, as one might expect slip with the greatest ease down an inclined plane represented by large numbers. Where the many are, there is security; what the many believe must of course be true, but what the many want must be worth striving for, and necessary, and therefore good. In the clamor of the many there lies the power to snatch wish-fulfillment by force; sweetest of all, however, is that gentle and painless slipping back into the kingdom of childhood, into the paradise of parental care into happy-go-luckiness and irresponsibility.”
“All the thinking and looking after are done from the top; to all questions there is an answer; and for all needs the necessary provision is made.” - Page 58
On page 56 Jung wrote:
“the individual becomes morally and spiritually inferior in the mass”
“It is, unfortunately, only too clear that if the individual is not truly regenerated in spirit, society cannot be either, for society is the sum total of individuals”
“the salvation of the world consists in the salvation of the individual”