Narcissism and Civilization

  • There is nothing permanent about settlements and the civilizations that spawn them.
    • In Aboriginal Australia, our Elders tell us stories, ancient narratives to show us that if you don’t move with the land, the land will move you.

      • Maybe the reason all the powerful instruments pointed at the sky have not yet been able to detect high-tech alien civilisations is that these unsustainable societies don’t last long enough to leave a cosmic trace. An unsettling thought.

  • Simplicity is misleading
    • There is a pattern to the universe and everything in it, and there are knowledge systems and traditions that follow this pattern to maintain balance, to keep the temptations of narcissism in check.

      • But recent traditions have emerged that break down creation systems like a virus, infecting complex patterns with artificial simplicity, exercising a civilising control over what some see as chaos.

    • The war between good and evil is in reality an imposition of stupidity and simplicity over wisdom and complexity.

      • Viewing the world through a lens of simplicity always seems to make things more complicated, but simultaneously less complex.

  • Narcissm is symbolized as Emu in aboriginal culture
    • Emu’s problem can be seen in the mathematical greater-than/less-than interpretation of the symbol. Emu is a troublemaker who brings into being the most destructive idea in existence: I am greater than you; you are less than me. This is the source of all human misery.

  • How aboriginal societies deal with narcissism
    • Aboriginal society was designed over thousands of years to deal with this problem. Some people are just idiots—and everybody has a bit of idiot in them from time to time, coming from some deep place inside that whispers, ‘You are special. You are greater than other people and things. You are more important than everything and everyone. All things and all people exist to serve you.’ This behaviour needs massive checks and balances to contain the damage it can do.

      • Engaging with [narcissists] alone is futile—never wrestle a pig, as the old saying goes; you both end up covered in shit, and the pig likes it.

    • All points of view are heard in a yarn
      • Narcissists demand this right, then refuse to allow other points of view on the grounds that any other opinion somehow infringes their freedom of speech or is offensive.

      • They destroy the basic social contracts of reciprocity (which allow people to build a reputation of generosity based on sharing to ensure ongoing connectedness and support), shattering these frameworks of harmony with a few words of nasty gossip.

        • They apply double standards and break down systems of give and take until every member of a social group becomes isolated, lost in a Darwinian struggle for power and dwindling resources that destroys everything. Then they move on to another place, another group. Feel free to extrapolate this pattern globally and historically.

    • The Law
      • There is Law and knowledge of Law in stones. All Law-breaking comes from that first evil thought, that Original Sin of placing yourself above the land or above other people.

      • Punishment in aboriginal societies
        • Punishment is harsh and swift, but afterwards there is no criminal record, no grudge against the transgressor. Perpetrators are only criminals until they are punished, and then they may be respected again and begin afresh to make a positive contribution to the group.

          • In this way, people will not lie and shift blame or avoid punishment by twisting rules to escape accountability. They can look forward to a clean slate and therefore be willing and equal participants in their own punishment and transformation, which is a learning process more than anything else.