Did you ever ask yourself how it could have been possible that some 60, 70 years ago a whole people – the Germans – hailed one man who then turned out to be a pretty bad guy?
I am not very surprised since I became someone who yelled Hail!
Up to the days I stopped yelling Hail! – or the equivalent – I, myself, definitely did not understand how a whole people could be so blind and miss what was going on in the 3rd Reich.
It was simple arrogance, through ignorance.
Fortunately I was able to change my arrogance of looking down upon the ‘poor misled people of Germany’ into a more humble understanding.
In order to accomplish this I first had to stop yelling Hail! myself, and then realize that I had indeed been shouting Hail!
I’m not old enough to live through the Hitler regime – so where the heck did I get a chance to yell Hail?
I’m not going to give you any names here because that would take away the fun for you to find out yourself, but I do tell that it was a group that many of you might know. You might have had a similar experience already, but for all of you who don’t – go out and find it.
It was a group that started out great several decades ago. There was a lot of information, and procedures were available that allowed you to understand life a lot better. But I joined in much later when this group had already fallen into the trap of considering itself the one and only, becoming dogmatic and eventually considering itself a religion.
I have seen this phenomenon in many areas of life. The best account of this behavior was told by Thomas Thouw, who was the assistant at the physics department at the university in charge of me as a graduate student. He grew up as the heir of his uncle’s karate mastership. Originally from Indonesia he ended up, after an odyssey, in Heidelberg, Germany. There he started a karate group to teach the real principles of this mainly spiritual art, not the type of karate as seen on TV.
Fortunately he was strong enough to see that his students had turned into his disciples and he had started to worship him as a guru. He knew that this violated all the principles of karate he wanted to teach, so he kicked them out, advising them to get a life.
This tendency of a group to find a guru, make a god, seems to be very prevalent. I have noticed this in movements from Macrobiotics over Chi Gong to even urine-therapy.
The quality of the technology behind this movements seems to be rather irrelevant. Good technology gives better results for more members but as long as something works really great for some professional followers the danger is there.
The group I had become a disciple in and had learned to yell Hail! happened to have really good data and technology, so it was easy for members to ‘believe.’
The next step then was to ‘press the help button’. We all want to help. Especially after we got something really good, something that helped us tremendously, we want to give back. This is the stage of the missionary. Obviously the missionary is ‘better’ than the subjects of his mission, but he definitely wants to lift them all up to his level.
See where the arrogance is coming in?
Unfortunately there are stubborn people who don’t want to be helped. The situation escalates and so we created the next required element – an external enemy.
That’s all the elements required to form a closed system in which internal propaganda can do whatever it wants. External data to measure the propaganda against are no longer available, so whatever the propaganda says becomes true. Anything that questions the propaganda data is infiltration from the enemy and only makes the propaganda data more true.
I was lucky enough to have kept one little tentacle out there in the other world. It was not strong enough to directly question the validity of the data that was fed to me and that I asked to be fed. But it was strong enough that I grouched enough to be eventually kicked out of this group.
This is when I stopped yelling Hail!, but it still took me years to face the fact that I had in fact yelled Hail! This was the time I lost the arrogance that expresses itself in a righteous “HOW COULD THEY?”
Now we have the reason why I can not proclaim “How could they?”, when I look at my fellow Americans and see what they allow their government to do to them.
All elements are there:
- the initial good technology – the wealth and way of life in America,
- the belief in the system
- the mission
- the enemy
Currently the war on terrorism, the weapons of mass destruction, the patriots act are pretty hefty stuff to swallow, but listen, I believed that it was reasonable that, if I wanted to walk across the bridge to total freedom, I first had to knuckle down to a system that demanded to control every single aspect of my life.