02 January 2007

Your back to the wall

(copy of a letter)

I was saying to you the other day that there is a back to the wall quality in centralisation. Of course people have a great resistance to recognising that they are (or may be) alone against the world, because they cannot prevent other people being hostile if they choose to be.

All you can be in control of is a very small bit of your own psychological territory, so it is no use trying to operate within what other people think you ought to do, or thinking that you should be able to get other people’s permission or approval before you identify with wanting what you want and being what you want to be. People are, of course, tremendously conditioned to think you ought to be able to ‘prove yourself’ or something.

The fact is that the buck stops here, i.e. in your own mind. A successful child prodigy, allowed enough social territory within which to be fully functional and purposeful, can avoid realising this and think that one should be able to go with the social flow. As soon as I found that I wasn’t being able to be functional and purposeful within it, I became a criminal in everyone’s eyes.

I think that my father showed his own decentralisation in wishing to feel that he was supported by good advice and he had a tendency to seek it from some father figure or expert before making any important decisions.

When I complained to my mother that it had been crazy to get opinions from other people about whether I should take the School Certificate, she used to say, ‘He always did that. He went and asked the vicar if it would be right to marry me.’ In that case the advice did not seem to put him off doing the right thing, but he once bought a disadvantageous house on the advice of an estate agent who said he would treat him just like his own son.

So most people probably are going with the flow, and very much disinclined to do anything without social support.

Although the first form of back-to-the-wall centralisation makes you an outlaw and an outcast, you can see that it is actually quite closely related to the royalty development, in which also the buck stops here. A king has to make his own best guess because he is the best there is, and although he may consider other people’s points of view he has ultimately got to be prepared to oppose them if necessary.

And, of course, in relation to the existential situation, you have got to make your own best guess about what it is best to take a risk on.

It is of course perfectly valid to decide that someone else has more information in a certain area than you have yourself, and defer the decision-making to them. Also, of course, it would be quite acceptable for someone to ask another person, whether medically qualified or not, to decide on the details of what medication he should take.

What is not acceptable is to impose the judgements of agents of the collective on all and sundry so that they are not free to make their own decisions about things that vitally concern them. There is an ‘educational’ Mafia which is very nearly as criminal as the ‘medical’ Mafia, except that its powers of interference and oppression are less explicitly spelt out.