We are doomed to repeat history, no matter how much we study human history. Far better to study psychology and sociology on today's inmates of the prison of nature: our meta structure aka society may be seemingly different from previous empires, or economic regimes but it is governed by much the same underlying principles of human nature.
We are all amateur psycol/socio- ologists. All of us. However the professionals keep on uncovering some simple and uncomfortable truths. Two studies which came to the medias flitting lime light and caught my attention were the front-loaded- monopoly experiments and a socio-anthropological reality of actually being in the jungle WITH real jungle people and just presenting it all as it is, as it happened, explaining the experience as if it were visiting something completely jamais vu.
These two flashed into my little bubble of nuclear family supermarket budget economics, and reminded me of who I am and what I beleive. From really a teenager I thought that history was a lot of bunk, just as in Huxley and Orwells greatest works: he who understands how to control people can control history and therefore can control destiny.
I took psychology for a couple of years to avoid maths. One thing that was lacking in the lecturing was the sense that the personal, or individal can be universal. I went on to major in genetics, where the universal is often proven by the unique : within diversity there is a universality and to that whole there is a plethora of detail, of tangents and of red herrings which actualy bring you back round to the whole centre: DNA encodes in one operating system for everything, be that then a new metastatic operating system ontop of the original coding, you can trace it to the code and to some extent it is bound to do what the code allows it to do.
I am not now going to rant about nature versus nurture and some of the really quite disturbing "determanilistic" studies linking genes to behaviour and even personal success in business. However I am talking about the universality of man's behaviour.
To then not say that the core of the onion is inevitably DNA, I am rather saying that the outer layers of the onion we see as "society" or a grouped sociological phenomenology, are governed by layers of universal psyhcological principles or patterns to which history and technology are just bunk : they are the flaking layers of the onion which are most visible yet belie an underlying simplicity which is to be unravellend in a concentic manner.
From Putin to any given organistaional structure, I am saying of course there are very, very scarey underlying or even fundamental behaviour and personality types which make these organisations operate in often imoral and egoistical ways. In effect what I am writing about is that we are a species which thinks we have come a lot further than we actually have, by very virtue of being able to think like that. When in effect we have had very little time in evolutionary terms to change as individuals in order that we can naturlly coexist with the planet and without being so outright antagonistic and often destructive with each other at the "tribe" level.
So here we dive in: "my tribe": THe papua new guinea experience with the naieve idiot savant approach: see as if never before, jamais vu. What and why is cannabilism to get the media to fund your tour. Flesh eating, to shit your enemy out or to just to be fed, is just a side show to the really frightening nightmarish lesson.
The real bush tribes were very, very sceptical and agressive to the visitors. Bows half drawn, nervous, negative facial expressions. A gambitof tobacco made, the ice hardly melted. Then some more gambiting, going mostly naked and smiling and having neutral body language. So there was the old tribal defence behaviour "Not us, not of us, not for us?"
Soon however, the personal contact grew. Food, hgunting, shiting and language exhcange happened. miles and laughs went both ways. By being small, the explorer could come in large. He was able to not only win their confidence, but within a week, become a friend of theirs. THey would cry for his loss.
Then we came back to the really scarey part: okay this part above shows that we are xenophobic, and can appear to each other as largely threateneing, while we actually could all be friends or lovers. But they then went to the core: why cannibalism? Well it is about killing and not eating for survival directly.
One tribes man claimed to have killed three and eaten at least one. His claim for three kills was maybe exagerrated but he had killed one "ghost stranger" - a man on their terratory. He was afraid, he identified them as a stranger and just killed him like a hunted animal. What transpired was theat this ghost enemy was from a neighbouring tribe who were largely at peace and even freindly with their "long house". We learned later that the man had to pay compensation to the widow.
I don't think I have the time to go into the front-loaded-monopoly experiments now; but for me the story above awakened my own burning belief that how we behave as groups, tribes, nations even Soviets or Unions, is actually detemernined by some enevitabilities of individual behaviour: people are xenophobic and tribal, leaders are strong often blinded types, and leaders make organisations work along lines of fear and tribalness. The layers of the onions become an epi-phenomenon to this howver I believe that society is just bunk without our overcoming our fundamental illogical, racist, zionist, tribalist, religious xelotous behaviour and come to being a species which can act more logically about how we exist with each other and the planet.
People like me never want to lead the foolish and we just casually follow the brave. We just loose our ideals and pay the bills, while those "who want to work hard and get ahead"...by standing on other people, get to run organisations or at least are contenders.
This is always the great weakness of most liberal, socialist or humanist movements: great ideas, some of which could really work and HAVE really worked in say Scandinavia and Canada, but they lack the reptilian brain leadership of the right: the simple, we will win, we will dominate, we dont blink an eye if we need to cheat to get there. People get tired of that too, and as in the liberal back lash in the 90s who could feed off the right wing successes in the west in re-aligning the economies of the west, or in the UK Labour Landslide of post VE 1945. People want progress, they want cooperation , they want "big society" but they like me just hope it all happens whule the people hungry for power are the types who dont care about cheating or morals or anything else really as long as they win for there tribe.
George W eat your heart out.