Intelligence, inequality, power, and prosperity

First, there are fundamental genetic instincts, then over time a variety of lasting challenges to those instincts (such as social influences). It is through challenges that learning happens and intelligence develops.

The development of intelligence can be nourished in general, directed in particular ways, or even inhibited (generally or specifically). Conflicts can be constructed involving emotions (and even involving basic instincts).

In modern times, many people are programmed with an avalanche of information. They are flooded with a pre-ordained curriculum of presumptions and controversies.

This can lead to personal experiences of enthusiasm without focus. In other words, there is a chaotic dance of fleeting attractions and repulsions, leading to a scattered disorientation, confusion, disappointment, frustration, and even despair.

The war on intelligence is intense. However, the intense challenges to intelligence can eventually produce profound leaps of intelligence…. at least for a few.

What could possibly be more crippling than an aversion to personal power? If a small group of organisms can create a near monopoly on personal power by programming the masses to have an aversion to personal power, the advantages to the powerful group could be enormous. In addition to minimizing competition, they might even attract herds of human resources who are demanding to be led.

Not only do they monopolize power, but they organize soldiers and other supporters in to informal networks and formal bureauracies. Like streams flowing in to rivers, their supporters send tributes (economic support) toward the central destination.

Power concentrates. Access to resources concentrates. Access to everything concentrates, including to weapons, to food, to shelter, and even to mates.

But why would the masses ever experience an aversion to personal power? What traumas could be installed so as to create a repulsion toward their own power?

#1) People may get so jealous that they criticize you and slander you (secretly amongst themselves in quiet, privately to you directly, or publicly about you)

#2) People may target you for theft or blackmail or attack

#3) You would have the freedom to do a lot of things, including something that you might really regret

Those are all possible outcomes. However, those outcomes are also possible even if someone does not have much personal power. The avoidance of personal power is no guarantee of safety, health, or happiness.

In fact, most of what people might call “avoiding” personal power is actually denying power that one does have already. There can be a minimizing of one’s own power. There can be a pattern of verbal assertions of powerlessness (victimhood).

The choice to use language to respect or to condemn

Imagine something that is unappealing to you. You can say “it should not be like that.” If stated with sincere passion and distress, we could call that condemnation (or even… hysteria or panic).

In contrast, you could say “I respect that it is how it is, but… I find it concerning (or unappealing or even unsettling or repulsive). So, I am exploring new patterns of relating to it (of interpreting it, of understanding it, of responding to it, etc).”

It is a fact that there is a range of personal power. Even in one person’s life, power rockets in youth, then slowly peaks, then plateaus, then eventually can plunge suddenly.

It is also a fact that throughout humanity, there are vast ranges of personal power in different regions of the planet, different localities and families, and even within the same family. Across long periods of time, the typical extent of concentrations of power (social inequality) varies considerably. The occasional existence of a “middle class” may be much less common than most people presume.

As a clear example of social inequality, one of the most obvious forms of privilege is governmental authority. Government officers are given formal monopolies on a variety of behavioral practices. Unauthorized engagement in certain activities (even for an off-duty officer) can result in severe penalties including fines, incarceration, seizure of property, and of course rituals of human sacrifice (“capital punishment”).

So, how can we relate to the simple fact of inequality? Infants are not equal to teenagers and a woman who is 8 months pregnant is not equal to a frail, elderly man who uses a wheelchair.

Many societies recognize complex sets of privileges in order to “counter” certain kinds of inequality, such as special parking spots for the physically disabled. However, a special parking spot does not make an immobile person as mobile as a person who can run a marathon.

Inequality is a simple fact. Within humanity, inequality exists.

Beyond humanity, inequality also exists. Horses are not equal to cats. Dogs are not equal to worms. Bugs are not equal to birds. Mushrooms are not equal to fruit trees.

Variety is a fact (as in diversity). The idea of equality is totally contextual (like two things can have near equality within a particular dimension, such as nearly equal weights or heights).

Why is the idea of equality so heavily promoted in government schools? Because the privileged groups that create governments are promoting ideas that train people to have an aversion to power (especially to unusual concentrations of power).

If “everyone” else has about the same amount of power, then that is the amount of power that it is “safe” to have (or to openly display). In other words, within your own family or neighborhood, you can display a certain amount of prosperity and people will congratulate you on your success. However, if you keep displaying more and more prosperity, then eventually those same people may begin to privately form questions like “what makes them so much better than me?”

At some point, it is typical for someone to move away (as in physically leave) a context in which their level of prosperity no longer fits with the social norms of those around them. That can take place in two ways: either they increase their prosperity much faster than others or… all around them, people are experiencing rapid declines in power while the exceptional person’s power is relatively steady.

So, what is the solution? Two obvious alternatives are to either increase in power alone or to bring select people with you.

In other words, dramatic increases in power or prosperity do not need to isolate anyone socially from familiar associates. Select associates can be invited (or perhaps even “dragged”) in to conversations and practices that promote personal power and prosperity.

By the way, note that the word power basically means the capacity to produce specific results (and quickly). The word “prosperity” originally meant virtually the same thing:

Word Origin and History for prosper

agreeable to one’s wishes,”


mid-14c., from Old French prosperer (14c.) and directly from Latin prosperare “cause to succeed… from prosperus “favorable, fortunate, prosperous,” perhaps literally agreeable to one’s wishes,” from Old Latin pro spere “according to expectation,” from pro “for” + ablative of spes “hope,” from PIEroot *spe- “to flourish, succeed, thrive, prosper”


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: