The dominance mechanism projects Standard X: I project social ranks onto human affairs. I experience pleasure in my promotion to or maintenance of higher rank – and misery in my demotion.
This over-crowded society continues to grow. I find less and less room available for the successful display of my inherited or presumed rank. I find myself in increasingly greater competition to maintain my imagined rank according to Standard X.
I am frequently demoted ... or rather, the public holds me at a rank which is incompatible with my imagined rank.
Within Standard X, I find no hope of retrieving my imagined rank ... the esteem “I deserve.”
This constant demotion is unendurable; Homo sapiens is not built for it. “Consequently,” there must be something wrong with standard X.
I must now find a completely new standard – “Y” – by which I can now prove my higher rank ... the true value.
Several standards will do, as long as each is peculiar and rare – but the most excellent of all is clear thinking.
If fortunately unfortunate, then I now comprehend how standard Y is truly the higher standard. Indeed, clear thinking has proof on its side.
The equalizer: Standard Y makes its great claim: No tyrant, no degree of mechanical power, no scepter or crown, can change the fact that two plus two equals four. Where we are rational, we are equal, and this implies, ironically, that the irrational are not equals but inferiors. The dominant are either demoted to equal status by holding to reason or to inferior status by their inability to hold to reason. Either way my dominance drive is gratified: if I have not reversed our ranks, I believe I have at least sufficient power to demote the dominant to an equal rank.
The masses have habituated to their inferior status and so to a great degree are blind to it. Some, if not most, are helped along by their own participation in the hierarchy: for as long as each has his dog to kick, each can gratify his drive. Now the collective force of the masses is greater than the alpha, and so if the alpha is to maintain control over the masses, he must often appear to hold to their symbols, standards, and beliefs. Additionally, because Homo sapiens cannot endure the thought of inferiority, the mere exposure of the citizen's actual relationship to the alpha brings about a humiliation ... a degree of influence ... a power wielded by those capable of a skillful exposure of the hypocrisy of the alpha ... of his real power. The alpha is vulnerable to this possibility of mass humiliation, and so he is further motivated to imitate and exploit Standard Y, if not also believe it himself. As we can see, the man of integrity often has more than an imagined status; he often possesses a real influence over a herd and consequently, over the alpha as well.
If I am a man of integrity and reason, I am motivated to lie to myself. The fact remains that I do not live by or even for standard Y, despite my bold claim to the contrary.
I only appeal to Standard Y in order to secure dominance or at least relieve the tension of my demotion. If I cannot actually dominate by Standard Y, I can at least demote the dominant through the appeal toreason and through reason’s appeal to equality – all of this of course being only a redirection of the humiliation consequent of that same mechanism by which the other succeeds through Standard X directly. I put my integrity on display to show how the highest value belongs to Standard Y(Reason or Absurdity?)and not to Standard X (Alpha or other?). Again, the impetus behind my choice of standards and my ludicrous affectations of poverty and humility are consequent of that same physiological mechanism it only defeats rationally. In truth, I hold outwardly to Standard Y because I cannot gratify myself directly through Standard X, and so must use Standard X indirectly ... dishonestly.
It is a major step in the advance of civilization. An entire section of the population is now motivated to hold to solid reasoning and to expose the irrationality and inequality held by any tyrant. In response, the alpha must now stoop to more and more temperate means of acquiring and maintaining power.
As morality would have it, the end is Integrity, Reason, Virtue, Honesty, Truth, Courage ... purity of heart. In the mechanist’s view, however, the end is not integrity but dominance, and integrity and the like are its means. But to admit this returns me to the way of the world – a standard within which I had a lower rank. I must then hold to “pure means” – to standard Y – and let the end fall as it will, even if disastrous. To do so, I must destroy any recollection or awareness that my true end is to find and secure an identity ... a higher rank within my own imagination.
If however I accepted the inexorable motive and refused to lie to myself, I could then crush Standard Y and refuse Standard X and make no claim – dominance will have it so! For otherwise I would lack a motive to take the next honest step. I would lie to myself at this point rather easily because self-esteem has no need but only danger in going further. What would I have to gain by admitting to that crude motive I condemn in others? The vanity of being severely honest.
Is moral deception necessary? Our morality may admonish us, “Love your enemies” ... and this is well said. However, are we more or less capable of obedience if we deny the need for which the commandment exists and which suggests a human tendency to the contrary?
It is not so much that the wound constitutes the right to “counter-attack” the villain as much as the ever-present drive for aggression must have an outlet: it cannot do without a target, and Righteousness, Equality, Justice, Liberty and Peace are not the targets but the weapons.
If I have not made an advance in a long time, in spite of a great effort, I conclude that I have never made an advance. A single victory and I am settled again, relaxing beside my trophy laden fireplace.
A strategy without adequate resources has little chance for victory, but that says little of the strategy itself. Many who have failed have had their plans buried with them, only to have the lesser plan of a lesser architect adopted — and all because fate was a poor instructor, because of the human tendency to magnify recent points of victory or failure such that they dwarf the greatness ... the eventual victory of a superior plan, however weak its resources at the moment.