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Updated 19 Oct 2012; 20 July 2013

GENETIC PRECONDITIONS Jungle/Savanna Heritage (Evolved DNA)

Unifying Principle: Authoritarian Personality along with Sociopaths (psychopaths) hijacking movements, religions, and nations to suit their own purposes.

    Species Survival by Violence
      Fierceness and Aggression(~15-35%)
        Violence / Terror / Genocide gain resources with real and virtual slaves
      Herding and parenting instincts for survival (~65-85%)
        Conventionalism, Cooperation, and Diplomacy
        Sufficient to depose or assimilate the Neanderthals
      Dominance and hierarchy
        Genes for dominance are most successful in reproducing themselves. This leads not only to cultural hierarchy but to extremism of the Hitler type as well, not to mention obedience to same..

    Species Survival by Reconciliation
        Parenting the next generation
        Empathy, concern for others are orders of the day
        Helps both sides of the divide.

Societal Survival
    Fierceness / Cooperation / Dominance Triad, along with
    Nurturing / Altruism / Cooperation

      Competition between cultural Authoritarianism on the one hand and cooperation with team play on the other -- moderated by intelligence. Dictatorship vs. democracy in effect, not to mention the moderates in between trying to keep the peace, or the government functioning in our times.

See Five Pillars for more on how the foregoing can be simplified.

ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS Social, Economic, Governance, Religion

    Radicalizing Conditions Reinforces authoritarianism. (Like drug addiction.)
      Humiliation Societal factors primarily
        Economic / Exploitation; deprivation of conquered
        Ethnic Cleansing / Genocide, primarily of minorities
        Imperialism / Societies and nations exploited
        Military Conquest / Displacement from homes
        Political / Subjugation of conquered
        Power Systems / Top-down dominance, dehumanization, deindividuation
      Alienation Individual and societal factors
        Bigotry / Intolerance creates 2nd-Class Citizenship
        Economic Gap / Perceived or real
        Political / Impotence and hopelessness
        Power Systems / Top-down dominance, dehumanization, deindividuation
        Racism / Exploitation by race
        Sexism / Denies Participation to half of humanity
      Monotheism (When Hijacked by extremists / fundamentalists)
        Mind Set Factor: My God is better than your god.

      Trial Period
        Monotheism has tried to change human nature for over two millennia: Why has it failed? If preaching won't work, what will? See Monotheism and Violence.

      SUGGESTED ANTIDOTES To counter our animal natures

      One means for creating a peaceful democracy is to develop peaceful External Loci of Control to instill character and a feeling that group survival is more important than that of the individual while encouraging Internal Loci of Control so critical for that sense-of-self necessary to achieve progressive, integrated societies that are, by nature, naturally peaceful. This is well illustrated by the Japanese Example. See: Ethnic Integration and Overview and Solutions for more.

      In particular, see "The Lucifer Effect" for an extended rendition of the power of the Authoritarian Personality in creating Systems that corrupt otherwise normal personalities. Systems are really social situations (military, prison, day job, church, sports competition, government), but they have surprising power to corrupt and subvert otherwise good characters.

      The same source material (The Lucifer Effect) also provides practical advice as to how to avoid falling prey to "evil" systems. Zimbardo suggests ten specific steps. He suggests we practice the following, paraphrasing:

        • Admit mistakes: This is not only honorable, it disarms others, fosters dialogue.
        • Be mindful: The devil is in the details, so avoid habitual responses as if on autopilot. Each situation has its own peculiarities. Deal with them as realities.
        • Be responsible: This puts us in the driver's seat morally, encourages others to behave likewise.
        • Be the best we can be: Assert our individuality, recognize and resist deindividuation. Be open an politely clear and assertive but open and receptive while insisting others act the same way, Dialogue can work wonders.
        • Respect authority, resist unjust authority: Especially resist those who insist on blind obedience without having sufficient substance. This can be difficult for those naive about human personality.
        • Value individual independence, earn group acceptance: Avoid obsessing over group acceptance. Find other groups for ego support if one group is unacceptable. Change jobs or any other situation or relationship if/as necessary.
        • Be "frame vigilant": This basically amounts to recognizing propaganda. The defining term is often the only clue. "No Child Left Behind" sounds desirable. But it didn't work out that way, many states saw its flaws and never implemented it.
        • Balance time perspective (Maintain perspective.): This one recognizes we can each get "carried away." Without the brakes from a strong Internal Locus Control or from prior experience and awareness of what the future may hold, we may act and react emotionally to the momentary situation. This was a primary problem at Abu Ghraib. Some people went along with behavior they thought better of later.
        • Avoid the illusion of security (or insecurity): This illusion can rob us of our civil rights, our constitutional rights, our right to self determination. Sociopathic politicians play up fear as a wedge to gain power and even lead their followers into needless, self draining wars.
        • Oppose unjust (and closed) systems: To do otherwise is to invite troubles; Abu Ghraib is one example. Our financial crisis is another recent example. Given our authoritarian dispositions and general naivety in recognizing our own all-too-human traits, this one can be tough to recognize.

      Ignorance of self and unjust systems belong to antiquity.

      So why are they still with us, in this, the greatest and most-knowledgeable democracy the world has ever known?

      Are we in denial, failing to recognize our serious short-comings, or what?

      Can we not as individuals and societies Educate ourselves and especially our children to these dangers?