- O'Neil Poree
- Portland, OR
- United States
We believe we are free agents in the activities which occupy our lives, but in reality we never escape the dominance of some collectivity.
We lead dual lives: we try to act and think as free individuals, but are inescapably dominated by some collective in every action we undertake.
Our conscious self largely creates the dominating illusion that whatever we do is done under the total control of our free will. That conscious self has been shown to be an illusion by recent studies.
But we are born into collectives (think family biases, including the languages we think in) and bounce from one to another (think schooling, religiosity, political beliefs) as long as we are capable of any decisive thinking at all.
This duality creates constant conflicts, most frequently resolved by changing the collective causing it for an opposing one, even one intiially repulsive to us. Further, many of our collectives protect their semi-immortality by exiling or ostracizing heretics, thereby preserving the purity of their doctrines. In such matters as the criminal justice system of our abode, such ostracism can involve isolated incarceration, up to execution, for those who transgress its absolutist prescripts.
As long as we stay social, we thereby subscribe to a collectivity, which may demand such things as risking our life to contend with an oppositional collective (ask the men in our multiple wars, all of which we insist are just; anyone still think that true of the Vietnamese War?)
This artificiality leads our species into an obvious conflict with (Lovelock'c) Gaia, one which we are certain to lose. We will, unfortunately, take down large chunks of Gaia with us when we pass on.