Monday, February 29, 2016

Gamma Virtues

Consider, if you will, the following categorization:

α – ‘leaders’, who are motivated to rule. They have an inherent desperation to subjugate and control others.

β – ‘followers’, who accept the status difference between themselves and the more dominant α’s. They crave security, stability and safety in numbers.

Before continuing, I must concede: these are nothing more than broad groupings, with some individuals difficult to place. That said, most people, I believe, are either α, β or something in between, along a continuum. That is, some might be 75% α and 25% β, others vice versa.

There are, logically, far fewer α’s than β’s. The former invariably strive to gain power, at whatever level is attainable, almost for its own sake. They might be anything from politicians and corporate suits to child-abusers and playground bullies. The most resourceful α’s generally aim for positions in which they can hold as many β’s as possible under their control. As for β’s, they prefer the predictability of the status quo and demonstrate a need to be supported by a stable system. These might include religious adherents or devotees of other social constructs and networks. Thus, α’s and β’s are mutually dependent.

Now consider a third group – γ. These are, by nature, neither α nor β. They are the perennial outsiders, possessing similar self-motivating traits to α’s but lacking the desire to control β’s. In other words, they aspire neither to dominate β’s nor to follow α’s in safe groups. ‘Live-and-let-live’ γ’s are generally happy in their self-containment, reciprocate tolerance and feel no need to live by a prescribed code. They wish neither to create nor abide by arbitrary rules. By so doing, they do not belong on the α-β continuum at all. Inventors, scientists, musicians, poets and philosophers are good γ examples.

Crucially, it is possible for β’s to become γ’s by breaking free from their social conditioning. α’s, by contrast, do not generally become γ’s. This could stem from α-derived insecurity: morbid fear that relinquishing control over β’s might result in being overthrown to β status by more ruthless α’s.

The underlying difference between β’s and γ’s is self-reference. β’s look first to the system, namely the solidified opinions of others, whereas γ’s reject it in favour of introspection. This might, superficially, seem like a recipe for conceit, but it is not. Self-reference promotes the attainment of objective knowledge, unconstrained by prevailing attitudes and traditions.

Predictably, α’s are the biggest menace to harmony. Psychopathic traits are relatively common. Dominance is all, so dissent cannot be tolerated. Think of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. The supreme power of all three “super α’s” was substantiated by misguided obedience of the β’s. Regardless, α’s do not view β’s with gratitude or compassion. The latter are mere tools to be employed, and can be brainwashed into doing whatever is deemed to befit their subservient status, even to the point of self-sacrifice (wars).

However, β’s can threaten α’s. This occurs not by direct rebellion but by transferring allegiance from one α to another. Many α’s are aware of such a danger and adopt preventative strategies. For example, two α’s might feign antagonism in order to ‘divide and conquer’ the β masses. Thus, what appears like perpetual change in dominance from one α to another is nothing more than power-sharing in order to preclude mass revolt.

β’s might also threaten γ’s. This happens when α’s convince the β masses that γ’s, by their non-conformity, are a selfish threat to the integrity of the system. Moreover, β’s might view γ’s with envy. Upon realization that their own existence is one of servility, and that admitting as much would be too uncomfortable to bear, β animosity toward free-thinking γ’s can be used by α’s in an attempt to discredit those that supposedly endanger the system by refusing to follow the herds.

Lastly, could γ’s be considered dangerous to α’s? Yes, in theory, but only if they were moved to convince β’s that their submission was detrimental. The fact remains, however, that such action would contradict the libertarian γ nature. Hence, β’s must free themselves, which would contradict theirs.

I have heard it said many times that α’s and β’s make the world go round. Perhaps so, but it is surely the noble γ’s that make this revolving world worth living in (Figures 92.1, 92.2 & 92.3).

Figures 92.1, 92.2 & 92.3: α … β … γ … I wonder which is which.

Copyrights © 2015 Reuters, 2013 OFA & Unknown

Copyright © 2016 Paul Spradbery

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