Re: Perceptions on social evolution

Hagbard Celine (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 21:45:27 -0400

Abraham Moses Genen wrote:

> Regrettably, most members of our society have not yet developed the
> capacity to transcend heir initial emotional reaction to the mass media
> and other social stimuli. Largely, this has been due to the hierarchical
> social orientation of our educational systems. Many of us have been
> trained to respect and be directed by symbols and figures of authority
> without much question.

Have you ever read Foucault's _Discipline and Punish_? Sounds like you
might find it interesting. In short, Foucault demonstrates the
development of Western hierarchical systems (i.e., prisons, law
enforcement, bureuacracy and government) and the corresponding growth of
society as a disciplinary entity. From prisons (Jeremy Bentham's
Panopticon, in particular), Foucault suggests a common bond between
schools, factories, barracks and hospitals, organized institutions which
allow the control of an individual's time and space hour by hour. People
become used to this "discipline" and thus, begin to discipline
themselves -- morality, vigilantism, etc. Those of you familiar with
Oliver Stone's _Full Metal Jacket_ understand what Foucault is getting
at. Remember the scene where the recruits load up their pillowcases with
bars of soap and then kick the shit out of Private Pyle because he's not
"up to standard." The consequence of daily discipline is a collective in
which discipline becomes internalized. The end result is a society of
individuals which disciplines itself. Such a society is easily governed,
and in extreme cases, self-governing.

There's much, much more. I recommend the book to critical thinkers.