Society's Powerful Influence

irresistible ...


It is not God who injects fear into us, so much as Man-in-society.

Paleolithic man offers the best basis for comparison. He is a worthy paradigm, almost as good as a newborn baby.

Both, the newborn and the cave man, have something very important in common: basic humanity.

If we seek an unadulterated glimpse into raw humanity, at what it really means to be human, we need but take a good hard look at a newborn, or tackle a thought experiment and try to imagine what it must have been like to be a cave man (excuse me, person).

Babies know nothing of God, or good and evil, or any other form of rationale that is currently fueling the human social machine.

An infant knows but one thing: what it feels. A baby only knows what it feels. It comes across as a tad coarse to put it this way, since we are talking about an innocent, but it is not in any way stretching it to note that such fresh instances of humanity know nothing, nor care nothing, about anyone else's feelings. It has to be taught that. It has to be socialized before it even becomes aware of such fluff as the feelings of another person.

But in spite of all the socializing that we put the babies through, the same socializing (essentially) that we have all been put through, the basic humanity never departs.

If we think that any of the grown-up babies around us actually entertains serious concerns about us, then we are sadly deluded. Human beings are animals that have been programmed by Mother Nature to look out for their own survival, or what we might in more civil terms call their own interests.

Society, being the collection of individuals that it is, is also programmed to look out for its own interests, which, not surprisingly, are the very same as those of the individuals of which it is comprised: survival.

Yes, societies have an urge to survive as much as individuals do, and they go about it by employing the same tactics.

In the same way that individuals dupe other individuals into believing that they care about each other, society dupes its members into believing pretty much the same thing, that it cares about them.

But the harsh reality is that society has very little concern for us, beyond the fact that we exist as an essential component of itself.

Society cares only about what we can do for it. It cares about our contribution to its own survival. Society wants us to work and be a good citizen. It wants us to work so it can tax us. It wants us to be a good citizen, because bad citizens are a major threat to its survival.

Bad citizens are not really bad, by the way. There is no such thing as a bad citizen. There might be such a thing as a bad taste in our mouth, but there is no such thing as a bad person.

People are products of nature, which means that everything they do, from building space shuttles to committing ax murders, is perfectly natural. Nothing they do is bad. It may be disruptive, i.e., threatening, to society, but it is not bad.

But society has no interest in taking the trouble to explain this to us. In the interest of saving itself some time and energy, it resorts to the tactic of putting the fear of God in us.

People who have the fear of God in them are, very likely - statistically - to be good citizens, to mind their manners, to behave. This is essentially why society allows churches (and all the other non-profit ventures) to be tax exempt. Religious organizations perform an invaluable service for society. They coach us in the finer points of what is generally regarded as good and bad behavior.

No, it is not a Monarch-in-the-sky looking down on us, urging us to behave - or else. It is only the voice of Society (with a capital S) assuring us that there is such a Monarch, watching every move we make and waiting to inflict harsh judgement on us if we step out of line.

Society puts the fear of God in us. The real God has no interest in putting fear into anyone. It is only a false god that Society has invented that poses such threats.