Civilization Needs A Center

Even when we attempt to avoid the reality of power, we are ruled by it, because our only method of abolishing power is to transfer it elsewhere. At that point, a struggle for power becomes a constant event, and in the effort to “win,” everyone seems to forget that the goal of power is the thriving of the civilization.

As it turns out, this makes sense because human societies need centers:

When we speak about the absolutism of central power, the point is less that whatever the occupant of the center says goes (so that if something he says doesn’t go he must have said the wrong thing, but in that case was he really occupying the center?) than that no one can imagine anything happening without reference to the center. If I want to do something, I imagine the conditions under which the central power will allow or support it—if I think in terms of how I can do it by evading central power, I am still thinking of the center as a general constraint that must structure my thinking.

…There has to be a center because humanity is constituted through joint attention, and attention must be attention toward something, and if attention is joint that something must be at the convergence of the respective lines of vision of the attenders. The only way this object of attention can be held in place is if it is desired by all of those attending upon it, and the only way it can be desired rather than appropriated is if its appropriation is proscribed; and the only way its appropriation can be proscribed is if the participants on the scene constitute this proscription by offering signs to each other that they will suspend any attempt to appropriate the object. The source of the sign(s) offered must be a reversal of the movement towards the object, and this reversal must result from the fear of violence produced by this novel, collective, unconstrained rush toward the object.

Joint attention directs toward an object of power or a purpose to the society. That center must then be sacred, or defended by all, so that no one seizes it and uses it for their own ends. In turn, the center shapes how people think about their own lives, goals, and what behaviors they are willing to engage in.

With diversity as with equality, society lacks a center; its goal is its method, meaning that it applies equality in order to have equality and the same with diversity, and so it is caught in a feedback loop of always intensifying its drive toward an ideological extreme. This cuts reality out of the equation, essentially appropriating the center by replacing it with a simpler, more narrowly defined goal.

In addition, diversity creates a society of many groups, each of whom avoid appropriating their own center by attempting to appropriate the center of society as a whole. If they do not attempt to seize power, they have attempted to appropriate their own center by failing to act out its unstated goal, which is to have self-rule and dominion over all that is around them.

Not surprisingly, diversity destroys civilizations. This is not, as many surmise, through the bad behavior of a single group, but through the good behavior of every group, because since each group acts in its own interests alone, no two groups can have fully overlapping objectives, leading to unending conflict.