In the last post of this series we were introduced to three very important concepts in relation to human cogitation. These were 1) Archetypes, 2) the Hegelian Dialectic, and 3) Cognitive Dissonance. We will develop an understanding of how these all fit together to form a religion, and see that such is where we will arrive with climate pseudoscience. Once we understand that, I will discuss an even higher, more profound purpose of such a religion in the first place, that will be truly shocking.
So, the Hero Archetype: why is it that we are all so universally attracted to it? Why is it such a fundamental part of us? Remember, this is an archetype that actually transcends all cultures, and so we find signs of it in any religion. For example, those who “make it” to heaven can be thought of as hero’s. But for a hero to exist, and if a hero is one in a million, then what is everyone else? In fact, shouldn’t there be a dialectical opposite to the hero, and shouldn’t that opposite not only be found in the contrast of different people, but also within a single consciousness itself? After all, a hero is the opposite of a hero at the beginning of his or her journey, so, what “internal state” is it that needs to be overcome to become a hero?
Hegel, of the Hegelian dialectic, spent a great deal of time describing a similar dialectical pair in what he called the Dialect of the Master and the Slave. Hegel explained that the master and slave dialectic arise when two individual consciousnesses meet for the first time, and then, according to Wikipedia’s summary:
“A struggle to the death ensues. However, if one of the two should die, the achievement of self-consciousness fails. Hegel refers to this failure as “abstract negation” not the negation or sublation required. This death is avoided by the agreement, communication of, or subordination to, slavery. In this struggle the Master emerges as Master because he doesn’t fear death as much as the slave, and the slave out of this fear consents to the slavery. This experience of fear on the part of the slave is crucial, however, in a later moment of the dialectic, where it becomes the prerequisite experience for the slave’s further development.
Enslavement and mastery
Truth of oneself as self-conscious is achieved only if both live; the recognition of the other gives each of them the objective truth and self-certainty required for self-consciousness. Thus, the two enter into the relation of master/slave and preserve the recognition of each other.
Contradiction and Resolution
However, this state is not a happy one and does not achieve full self-consciousness. The recognition by the slave is merely on pain of death. The master’s self-consciousness is dependent on the slave for recognition and also has a mediated relation with nature: the slave works with nature and begins to shape it into products for the master. As the slave creates more and more products with greater and greater sophistication through his own creativity, he begins to see himself reflected in the products he created, he realises that the world around him was created by his own hands, thus the slave is no longer alienated from his own labour and achieves self-consciousness, while the master on the other hand has become wholly dependent on the products created by his slave; thus the master is enslaved by the labour of his slave. The realisation of this contradiction allows the slave to once again struggle against his master.”
I think Hegel had a difficult time explaining this, because I do not see in this a final resolution, a final synthesis, for either the master or the slave, but only a cyclical battle.
So, how can there exist a universal hero archetype, if there doesn’t simultaneously exist its opposite, just as with the master archetype and the slave? How can we all be enthralled, riveted, and energized, by the story of the hero if we don’t all live the opposite of that? What is the opposite of the hero archetype that we’re all secretly living? Think for a second before reading on, and then I’ll answer:
The opposite of the hero archetype is the “Slave Archetype”. That’s it. We all live the slave archetype, and that is why we value the hero. We can only value the hero if we are all collectively very familiar with being slaves. Almost everybody is a slave!
Why? Because most people are followers. Followers are not free. Followers are not free to have confidence in their own thoughts. They are not free to have confidence in their own appearance, or their sexuality. They are not free to express whatever opinions they want. They are not free to lead others. They are not free to even lead themselves. They are not free to lose friends and make enemies by standing up for higher principles, or for whatever reason they might want to. Something like 98% of the population are followers. Hence they are not free. Hence they are slaves. They are enslaved to monetarism and usurious debt; to the decisions of the current puppet voted to his level of incompetence as the national leader; to the food they eat; to the knowledge they lack, to the knowledge which is kept from them; to their so-called education; enslaved to their beliefs standing in for reason; enslaved to never encountering or even considering what might be wrong with the world…or themselves; enslaved to their sense-perception-based belief in materialist reality.
So what am I saying? I am saying that if you don’t know you’re a hero, then:
“You’re a slave, Neo”. Just as “The Matrix” presented. You can view your slavery to the opinions of others and to your self-limiting beliefs as the energy source that sustains them. That’s why most people’s friends will begin to hate them if a person stops following the common denominator of the group – you take their energy source away, the energy source helping drive the common behavior and generally low-level thinking of the group. That’s why your mind resists truly believing in yourself, because it takes away its addiction to decades of a comfort zone of routine. You have to be bold and brave to be a hero and this will almost always guarantee you make enemies!
In modern times, we don’t really have (openly known and direct) slaves and masters as like which existed in past times, and so that dialectical contrast doesn’t make much sense to anyone. But what is much more sensible is that a hero overcomes slavery…slavery in its myriad of forms, including that to a human “master” as just one possible scenario. But particularly in modern times, the slavery to one’s own beliefs, and the slavery to archetypes, concepts and principles such as consumerism, and societal restrictions, fashion, etc; i.e., internally-held thought patterns which “enslave” your beliefs and behavior.
It has been said that a person who believes them-self free, but is not free in actuality, is the most abject and perfect slave and form of slavery that can be:
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I would add that a person for whom the concept of freedom never even enters their lexicon in a meaningful way, is infinitely enslaved, rather than merely hopelessly.
There is an intimate connection between the master vs. slave and the hero vs. follower, but you may have noted that in Hegel’s Master vs. Slave dialectic, a direct conflict occurs between two actually-opposing forces, and that this is not really the nature of the hero vs. slave dialectic. There is no actual direct conflict between the hero and slave states, and so this indicates that this dialectical equation must be incorrect. And it is, but the point was to develop the understanding of “followers” as “slaves”, and, “masters” as a much wider concept than simply another person.
And so, a modern reinterpretation of the Master and Slave dialectic is resolved in the synthesis of the “Hero”. We are all enslaved to a myriad of things – concepts, objects, people, ourselves, beliefs, behaviors, etc – and to resolve these things, to become our own masters over them, we are actually synthesized into Hero’s.
That is: Masters of Ourselves.
The obvious question we can ask, to answer later, is: why does the contrast of the master and the slave (resulting in hero’s) exist in the first place? What establishes this as a universal boundary condition of the human experience of consciousness? We seem to be born with this contrasting dialectical pair inside of us, every single human no matter what culture you’re born in to, and almost all of us seem to start off as slaves, and we all love hearing about hero’s. So how did this get there? If we’re born with it, if it evolved as or with our consciousness or was “deposited” inside of us by some method, then it must have a purpose: what could that purpose be?
So I’ll end this here, with the understanding that archetypes really are real things; they may not be things we can see or touch or smell, but they are certainly incredibly real to the human mental condition and experience of reality. If someone understands these concepts well enough, they can easily manipulate people into responding in ways which are entirely predictable. The dialectical contrast between the Master and the Slave, and the synthesis of the Hero, is also a fundamental condition of the human experience. In the next post we will discuss how cognitive dissonance fits in to all of this and how you get, and how we have gotten and will get, religions out of it.