There’s one overriding mental process driving home the thought process of those at the top – the need for security. And how is this voracious craving satisfied? Through domination. Dominate, sure, but how? Is it political domination? Partly, but not entirely, or the elite would not permit elections. Is it economic domination? Partly, but not entirely, or they would not allow small businesses to compete with their large corporations. Is it moral domination? Partly, but not entirely, or they would not permit independent media or academia. Sure, they encourage all kinds of activities to make it seem that we are free to engage them, but as soon as they feel cornered by any specifically embarrassing fact, they just shift the focus from one corrupted pyramid to another. By having us engage them in these pre-arranged limited ways, they maintain their dominant status by framing the discussion – constantly shifting our attention from the political to the economic to the social to the moral and back again, without allowing us the time needed to remain focused on any one issue. For example, they say: “We must be brutal to establish representation,” or “We must turn a blind eye towards greed in order to build opportunity,” or “We need to allow for monopolies because they reward us,” or “That kind of moral behavior is just not economically possible” and so on. The truth is that some dissent is tolerated by the elite in order to increase their domination.

You’re right about the (mug shot) photo, it perfectly conveys (Tom) Delay’s demeanor. He’s a sociopath who’s absolutely convinced that not only has he done nothing wrong, he’s incapable of doing wrong; or even worse, he decides what is right and what is wrong.

Mike Malloy, The Mike Malloy Show
Air America Radio, Oct. 20, 2005

It is a fundamental human need to participate in public discussion about the society we live in (defined above as the power-orientated value). To have an audience that will listen and to be able to talk about whatever we want to talk about – to “call people on their shit” – is the essence of our ego and reaches into the deepest layers of our subconscious desires. With corruption in place, those higher up are able to position themselves so that they can control any discussion that comes up and therefore establish a “feeling” of their superiority. By allowing this kind of endlessly pointless discussion, they can corner and exterminate united dissent, and best of all for them, this maneuvering keeps the spotlight everywhere but on the very fact that more than anything they rule the discussion. Far more than any one area of concern, the most powerful tool in the elite’s arsenal is specifically this kind of cyclical, evasive, fuzzy domination.

Now the terms of the discussion are set from above by people who can make mincemeat of the public’s consent in order to wield power. Instead, this ability to dictate the terms of the debate itself becomes the litmus test that validates the ruling class’s underlying authority – and for the average person, the mental maneuvering is so hard to dissect that, when accused of manipulating the facts, the elite can easily hold their higher ground by just playing dumb or throwing back accusations of conspiratorial paranoia. Their domination lies not in rigidity but in arbitration – in their exclusive ability to decide which debate to engage in. They are thus able to set the stage for mass confusion and a softening of the working and middle classes.

Now, before we venture too far into a “they-bad-we-good” way of understanding the world, we need to step back and really take a good hard look at the way corruption entrenches itself in society. This domination that we’ve found so easy to pin exclusively on the rich and powerful does not, in reality, occur in such cut-and-dried ways. For once corruption settles into our society, we all lean towards the urge to dominate: our partners, our children, our co-workers, celebrities, politician, our pets, our planet and ourselves. Later on in the book we’ll even examine whether this corruption is an extrapolation of human nature or assimilated from the environment – but let’s put that question aside for now and just consider how corruption changes us as people. In order to do this, I’d like to indulge myself for a minute by taking the time to explore a slightly tangential idea, because I believe it illustrates how it’s possible to dominate oneself.

According to the limited research I’ve done aside from this project, the part of our brain responsible for our thinking and the part of our brain responsible for communicating are found in the identical place. This implies that rather than just think about things, what we actually do is have a conversation with ourselves. (It also explains how we don’t just converse with other people, but we also use all kinds of non-verbal communication skills to get together on the same brain wavelength.) Ideas, problems, hypotheticals, and possible solutions come to us not as abstract thoughts, but as words, and in order to understand something, pass judgment, and make decisions; we first must hash out a debate in our heads – just as if we were a group of separate people making a collective decision.[1] Why do I bother telling you this? Because it’s of paramount importance that we know how to calmly and methodically express ourselves, both externally and internally, and it’s also right at this specific juncture where we find the most self-destructive part of domination busy at work.

At the social level, a common indication of domination is a general breakdown in communication, which becomes apparent as a broad inclination towards implied, non-verbal, or rudimentary expressions of ideas. Internally the damage from allowing domination to triumph is even more severe, for in our heads corruption results in one voice trying to dominate and over-shout all the others; and instead of a healthy mental discourse, our heads are filled with emotionally riotous, lazy, uninspired thought patterns, shallow explorations, and sloppy logic … which always gets the best of us. I know that it’s not the easiest or most familiar concept to grasp – how some parts of our minds can dominate others – but no one said that consciousness was going to be easy to explain, nor corruption. Yet we need to try if we are going to turn around the persistent denial and general inability to work cohesively that’s standing in our way.

[1] Jane M. Healy, Endangered Minds : Why Children Don’t Think And What We Can Do About It, Simon & Schuster; 1999

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