Sunday, April 06, 2008

Moral Blindness

I came across a very interesting paper this weekend. It's called Egalitarianism and the Ego Explosion. I highly recommend it.
The most important point, however, is that the beginnings of social inequality were concurrent with the development of this stronger sense of ego. The same groups who developed the first class systems and hierarchical societies were the same groups who were affected by the Saharasian environmental catastrophe. And since, in addition, the native peoples who are apparently not as individuated as us are also egalitarian, there is a very strong case for suggesting that the ‘sharpened’ sense of ego is the root cause of social inequality.

On the surface all of this might seem to offer as pessimistic a view of human nature as sociobiological or evolutionary psychological approaches. Selfishness and social inequality are clearly not ‘in our genes’ or our brains; but they are still inevitable, it might be argued, since they are in our psyche, and have existed since the ‘Ego Explosion’ took place around 6,000 years ago. In this sense, one might say, Marxism is as misguided as evolutionary psychology. A perfectly egalitarian human society with no private property or status differences is not feasible, since the drive for personal wealth and power is as natural to ‘Saharasian’ individuals as the drive for sex or food. These drives were not created by the ‘capitalist’ social system; they were generated by an intensification of ego-consciousness, and then themselves gave rise to capitalism.
Prior to passing along the recommendation, however, I wanted to nail down Heinz Werner's Orthogenic Principle - so that I could better understand the depth of our predicament and the abject terror of the situation.