Did you ever ask yourself how it could have been possible that some 70, 80 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!” myself.
Up to the days I stopped yelling “Hail! – or the equivalent thereof – 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 uproot my arrogance of looking down upon the ‘poor, misled people of Germany’ and gain 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 have lived 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 experienced it 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. This group – not yet religious – offered a lot of information and processes that allowed you to understand life a lot better. I joined thirty years after its inception 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 very good account of this human 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 had grown 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 to teach a karate group stressing 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 from pupils into disciples instead and 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, and make him a god, seems to be very prevalent. I have noticed this in movements from Macrobiotics over Chi Gong to even urine-therapy (yes! Look it up!).
The quality of the technology behind these movements seems to be rather irrelevant. Good technology gives better results for more members but as long as something works really great at least for some professional followers, the danger is there.
The group I had become a disciple of 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.
Do you see now where the arrogance is entering the picture?
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 considered infiltration from the enemy and only makes the propaganda data more true.
I was lucky enough to have kept one little anchor 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 sufficiently to be eventually kicked out of this group. Any tight-knitted group will expel members that are not fully behind the cause as they are a danger to keeping the rest of the group indoctrinated.
This is when I stopped yelling “Hail!”, but it still took me years to face the fact that I had, indeed, yelled “Hail!” During this time I lost my arrogance that expressed itself in a righteous “HOW COULD THEY?”
Now, when I look at my fellow Americans and see what they allow their government to do to them, we can see the reason why I can no longer proclaim… “How could they?”.
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
There is the war on terrorism, the weapons of mass destruction, the Patriot’s Act, and the latest “Orange Man Bad!”
All pretty hefty subjects to swallow for a reasonable person, but listen… I really 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.
Funny, isn’t it??