There is a book that illustrates this particular issue:
The Parable Of The Tribes: The Problem of Power in Social Evolution by Andrew Schmookler (1984).
The others must then respond! Their options are:
- defeat and destruction,
- defeat and absorption, or acceptance and absorbtion
- fleeing to another location (likely temporary, as well as loss of homeland),
- successful defense by adoption of their own patterns of aggression
“No one can choose peace, but anyone can impose upon all the necessity for power. . . . Power is like a contaminant, a disease, which once introduced will gradually and inexorably become universal in the system of competing societies. . . . A selection for power among civilized societies is inevitable.”
Dr Dave MacQuarrie adds the following points:
- Cooperation and authenticity are the necessary vehicles for designing a more mature culture. But they are not sufficient conditions — the transmutation of power is needed.
- And to be authentic is dangerous. If you have power already you can probably manage the danger but if you do not you are in major trouble. Historically that meant you were killed — in modern times you’re not likely to be killed; we have simply become more subtle in how we threaten people. The movie Trumbo, the story of the blacklisting of Dalton Trumbo during the McCarthy era, is an excellent example of how this is done.
- It is said that darkness cannot hide in the light. But it can hide! It can hide where there is the denial that darkness exists. This is the current dilemma of global warming, hiding in disinformation.
- There are many who advocate that we just need be kinder to each other.
- I am not convinced; we are capable of aggression and viciousness. Attempting to suppress this feature of humanness does not work.
What we need is maturity. We need to be able to do something else, something that includes our tendency to aggression! A fundamental need when stuck is to do something else that transcends and includes. ”
Making Daily Peace
So is this societal struggle relevant to myself as an individual?
All the above points can be applied in the individual life situations we all face, those of family, partners, work, play and friendships.
- accept being diminished as a person, succumbing to psychopathic force (capitulation)
- argue against the behavior in the hope of the ‘other’ changing (not happening!)
- fleeing to another consciousness, such as TV, drug dulling, or spending time away from the perpetrator (reducing the pain)
- moral diminishment by emulating the same patterns of aggression – ie continuing the struggle (guerrilla warfare)
- intentional separation from the instigator after stating the objection (adult behavior, but with consequences, eg if it was your boss, possible loss of income)