For all of our vast complexities, we are under the skin simple little monkeys.
Our official version of events is that we are educated, informed, and have transcended animal status; that we make deliberate, conscious, free-will-style decisions.
In my experience over some decades of observing humanity, the opposite is true. We act like monkeys and then use our big brains to justify it.
These are the hard truths of humanity, and our failings should not be seen as reason to think negatively about ourselves. Instead, we should use these examples to see that we invent a story for ourselves, and then try to live up to it — and that is not entirely a bad thing.
In the realm of postmodern thought, we talk about how any group or individual creates a “narrative” or story about themselves: who they are, how they were created, what they want to be and what they do not want to be. Hatred and love are joined in this narrative in opposite pairs — who we are now versus where we came from, what we want to be versus what we do not want.
Since 1789, we have been in the grips of the liberal narrative, as we attempt to explain, justify and explore the notion of a world without fixed centers like Gods, Kings and Traditions.
We have replaced those centers with as many central points as there are individuals, by putting the individual out there as an autonomous decision-maker, or an equal rational being.
Since we’ve made this assumption without ever really proving it, we’re on the defensive. This means that part of our narrative, that “what we do not want to be” part, includes the opposites of total individual equality and total individual lack of oversight, or “freedom.”
We are aligned against oppressors, Kings, fascists, Nazis, leaders, religions and anyone else who demands absolute standards. Of course, that alignment is in itself an absolute far greater than any of those offered, but never mind.
Our narrative is that we the granular are pulling down any centralized power, and anyone who rises above the herd, and as a result achieving total equality and freedom.
This explains why liberal democracy periodically rears the ugly head it hides underneath pleasant intentions: the constant lynch mob taking from the productive and giving to the idiots.
I suggest that instead we create a narrative of an organic society, where every thing and person has its place, and together they work for a positive end for everyone (not just each for herself). Not only would it free us from being constantly defensive, but it would free us from our selves.