I was reading about the history of evolution with my eight year old, and I noticed something about Cro Magnon man. Cro Magnon man is our closest ancient hominid ancestor, as far as I can tell. In fact, I can tell little difference in Cro Magnon man and modern humans, except that after the Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago–not that long ago), technological living exploded. Did this create a new species? Or was one species simply more liberated? I don’t doubt such changes affect how species physically appeared, just like we look quite different than our Depression Era-afflicted grandparents.
So, anyway. Cro Magnon man won out against a larger, vegetarian hominid because they routinely scared them near eating areas. The larger hominid ran away, hid, and eventually starved.
So, this is what we (effectively) humans did to live. We scared other species away from being at our watering holes. Literally. We learned to use fear. And if you study Jungian psychology, you can greatly anticipate that this is etched in our collective consciousness somewhere.
You know, I SAW this exact thing in my neighborhood not terribly long ago. We have a pond out back. There are some fish in it, and you can fish if you live here. My neighbor is extremely possessive of it. When I first moved in, he tried telling me there was snakes, etc., in it, and I definitely would not want to be near it with my children. Ok. Except any snake in a residential area is extremely mild. They don’t bother me. I got the impression he was just trying to scare me from his fishing spot. Everyone assured me, “No, no he just cares about your kids.”
Except I then watched him bark at teenagers simply lingering near the pond “GO ON GET OUT OF HERE. YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO BE HERE. TELL YOUR PARENTS MR. [WITHHELD] TOLD YOU TO GET OUT OF HERE.” He was totally out of line. He had no right to tell these teenagers to get out. Children often are near the pond. They just play, some fish, some train their dogs near it. He is just extremely possessive. He used fear to chase people away.
And it works.
Have you studied history, start to finish? From the Big Bang to now? I study it constantly, as I homeschool my children. We’ve read several complete history series, each several times now. We read from a wide variety of sources. One is written by a Protestant Christian. Another from a slightly cynical secularist. They each have their spin. But, when you read so much history over and over, themes start to pop out. And fear is a big one.
When we hear of people sacrificing to rain Gods, we think it’s absurd. I propose it is indeed absurd–and people back then knew it, too. But someone figured out to make up this bogus science to pressure people into sacrificing to the Gods. And this is exactly how history reads. Kings declared that they and they only could communicate with the Gods. So they were, de facto, God. Give your offerings to them to please the Gods. Convenient. And if not–the crops won’t grow. And who are YOU to say it ISN’T otherwise? You can easily get the villagers to hate a dissenter. It’s so easy among humans to do this.
Have you studied anything about Middle Ages Europe–when religion was in absolute power? It’s utterly horrifying. Study Mary I. She was the first child of Henry VIII, who had wives beheaded because they couldn’t provide him a son. And he did this because he had a monkey on his back. If he didn’t produce a son, the heir is up in question, and this would likely send the country into war again. I’m not excusing him–but fear is a hot potato that people like to quickly pass around. Mary I had a terrible life, being promised the throne, then having it revoked, being held up high, then all but put into slavery. As Queen, she wanted to revert England to a Catholic state. She demanded her subjects swear allegiance to The Catholic Church. Many Protestant didn’t, and nearly 300 were burned alive. Some were forced to watch the others be burned alive. Can you imagine this utter fear? And, ultimately, she wasn’t liked, but few did anything about it. It was the law.
This is how it works. This is how tyranny wins. It is through fear. Always. Every single time. There is a fear of some monstrous evil happening if people don’t X. And it has to be everyone complying, you know. One dissenter and the whole thing comes crashing down. This is why people can’t leave each other alone. They make up crap and put it on you: dance, citizen, dance. Literally. Otherwise it won’t rain.
As such, Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, offers no substantial fight against tyranny. Rand says freedom is “contextual.” If there is a threat, freedom goes away. If there is a terroristic attack, we all have to take our shoes off at the airport. If there is a war, citizens have to fight. Rand is silent on the draft–but she says “I can’t tell you to break the law,” when a person asked about it. Meaning: break the law. But, still. She is so bound by a “law” mindset that she can’t come out against it formally. And so, in effect, Objectivism is NOT for freedom and CANNOT put up a formidable defense for freedom. There is NO WORSE tyranny than compulsory military service. And now America signs up its daughters, too! You have no idea how much this spins me into utter depression when I think of the state of the world now–and my daughter.
I maintain freedom is ALWAYS right and free people can ALWAYS handle threats against them. Whether it’s a virus, a safety threat, or lack of rain. Both King-Gods and government are woeful at handling any of these. They SAY they are working towards these ends, and this makes it all the worse. Citizens put their blind trust in them. And then they lose all effective methods to actually deal with real problems.
I propose the vaccination we need is against fear.
I’d love to tell you that you can just go about your life, not worried about threats, and that humans are kind. Deep down, I DO think this is the natural human state and the one we do best in. Unfortunately, predators lurk.
And this is exactly how you should see these people. Whether it’s Mary I beheading religious dissenters or a neighbor trying to chase you away from a pond, I propose you see them as predators. It naturally changes how you deal with them. You won’t “assume positive intent” anymore, anyway.
Predators do what predators do. They don’t want you to see them. They want you to be disarmed. When I suspected my neighbor was trying to scare me from the pond by telling me there were snakes there, people tried telling me he actually cared for me and my kids. Not so. This is gaslighting. You deny the senses and perceptions of the victim. Predators do this in the wild. They blind, trap, and desensitize their prey. Be on guard for it. You do not have to “assume positive intent.” In fact, you can usually assume malicious intent. History doesn’t speak kindly about humans.
We need to stand up to it. If we are at a watering hole with Cro Magnon man, we need to not run as they try to scare us. Which is what we do. They harass us, put fear in people, make people literally dance, and the natural reaction is to adapt. Figure out how to handle the “new normal.” Too bad so sad for that person just beheaded. At least it wasn’t you. This is etched in most human’s consciousness. As you read history, humankind is, by and large, despicable.
But I see a new day. Some who study it already say violence may be a thing of the past. Running water goes to most people’s houses. Sensitive people are still born and still contribute the kind of amazing things only humans can do. And yet those people–Copernicus, Galileo, etc.–are treated so terribly.
We need to have herd immunity against TYRANNY. What this in practice means is herd immunity against fear.
So, do it. Stand up to that neighbor trying to chase teenagers away. Strip down that “friend” mom who just insulted you. BOUNDARIES. No, I mean like actual boundaries. Yes, like that.
If we create strong individual people with boundaries, eventually we create one strong family. If we create one strong family, eventually we create one strong friend circle. And then a strong neighborhood–and then a strong culture.