• 13 NOV 08
    • 0

    #982: On institutional loyalties and denial

    From Gerald Goldberg, MD (commenting on message #980)

    The problem of addressing institutional loyalties and denial rests on the peculiar nature of human group identification. Humans submit or become passive within social structures as a by product of their evolution. The constructs of the nervous system unfortunately only operate within the constraints of biologically derived herd behavior. The preconditions of belonging to any herd are based on identification and than submission. One of the unfortunate constructs of submission is that the dominant member ie group, authority, leader own,(perceived) morality. It is equivalent to the behavior that one sees in relationship between a child and a more powerfull adult. The adult ultimately has the power of morality and authority over the child. This paradigm does not shift even when individuals reach adulthood.
    The intrinsic roots of submission persist. The problem for the individual is that when they act out of a position of submission they only can act on associative behaviors tied into submission. It is not that the individuals act out of denial or of conflict. As a child they are persistently restrained in the exercise of conscience. The dictates of conforming remove many of the elements of conscience from the individual. It is often with the advent of age that the individual may have to confront his or her own consciousness or set of values. At this point the individual is confronted with the responsibility for their actions, that has so long been denied them. Indeed one of the constraints of belonging to a group is that an individual does not necessarily have to take responsibility for their own actions in belonging to a group. Inherent in group identification is the notion that the group is non-threatening. The other difficulty is that in identifying with a group, the notion of belonging is that the individual takes on the behaviors and morality of the group but assumes no personal responsibility for their behaviors. Thus the identity of the individual rests on group identification and not with morality or character.
    The failure of most collective acts on the part of human beings which persists to the present is that they are bound by the constraints of their biology. The collective adherence to group identification in the absence of consideration of aspects of character has resulted in the repetitious nature of human violence and aggression.
    The promulgation and continuance of the individuals submission to power and identification with that group only ensures the annihilation of the group. The biological and evolutionary aspects of herd behavior may have served humans well when they existed in small groups, but it is a poor substitute in a global environment. If the world culture persists in unconsciously promoting submission and deniability of responsibility than this will produce the outcomes that we are witnessing today. Rhetoric alone is a weak substitute for denying ones own responsibility. Outcomes are determined to what we are subservient to. If we are subservient to compassion and a regard for the rights of all life, this will produce a different outcome than being blindly subservient to power and authority. Ultimately a shift in outcomes will be dependent on a shift in consciousness not rhetoric.

    Gerald Goldberg, MD

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