The Psychology of Empire


Fifth Estate # 371, Winter 2006

This is an excerpt from Garden Planet: The Present Phase Change of The Human Species by William H. Kotke. AuthorHouse, 2005. 146 pages. $11. Available from the Barn.

Fear is the fundamental of this cultural form. The assertion is that the basic spiritual shift in consciousness was from a reality-view that saw the entire cosmos as alive and fecund to a reality-view that saw the earth as meaningless matter to be used to battle the scarcity of the world. On the one hand, the human is at home on the earth sharing space with other cooperating neighbor species in a reality of mystery and power. On the other hand, one lives in a world of accumulation where fear of scarcity and survival is prevalent.

On a more profound level, one has spiritually severed oneself from a reality of participation in a living, abundant world and created a reality of scarcity and violence in which one is a competitive isolate in a meaningless world.

When a tree sprouts in the forest it begins to assemble life. The tree extends its roots and no doubt makes contact with the mycelium of a mushroom, extending its energy flow and living relationship. It raises leaves to the sun and connects with that living energy system. It connects with water in the air and soil; it connects with the diverse soil community. The tree unifies energies in its living systems.

The life of the earth functions in its balanced way because each being lives according to its particular nature. The decentralized power of all life resides in each being. In contrast, the pattern of empire culture is to centralize power over life and consequently the natural patterns disintegrate.

A golf course, for example, appears very neat and orderly.

With its edged borders, well-watered grass, and trees, it represents the epitome of orderliness to the mind conditioned by the culture of civilization. In the reality of earth life, created and conditioned by cosmic forces, it is a gross disorder. Where once stood a life potentiating, balanced and perpetual, dynamic, climax ecosystem with its diverse circulating energies and manifold variety of beings, there are now a few varieties of designer plants kept alive by chemicals and artificial water supplies. A staff of maintenance people are kept busy battling the integrated life of the earth that attempts to rescue this wound by sending in the plants, animals, and other life forms that are naturally adapted to live in the area.

Human life in the culture of civilization is severed from its source in a similar way. It is alienated from its source. This profoundly affects the psychology of the humans involved. On the one hand, we humans as forager/hunters stand on the earth. When we eat from the earth, we have a certain dignity and security. Each one of the tribe has the culturally given knowledge of how to walk out on the earth and find food and shelter. It is a direct and intimate relationship.

In the culture of empire, people are dependent on other people for their food and shelter. They do not get their sustenance from their intimate relationship with the earth but from their manipulation of other humans in some manner. They exist in a vast productive mechanism that sucks materials from the earth to build an artificial reality such as a shopping mall where humans manipulate each other in order to achieve the needs of their existence.

The integrated nature of the organic form of the whole world and the adaptation of each form within is demonstrated by their place in the balanced metabolism of the whole. There is an organism within organic life that does not practice this balance within the metabolism. It practices a linear growth plan. This organism is the cancer cell within biological life and it does accurately reflect an analogy with the culture of civilization.

The cancer cell breaks the cooperative and sharing relationship with its fellow cells and becomes “God” as it were. “I am not satisfied with what has been given with this body, I shall create a body of my own design.” Instead of remaining integrated and adapted to the body it is part of, the cancer cells create a body of their own design and use the host’s body as its energy feed. This unlimited growth system of the cancerous tumor body built by the cells begins to colonized the body, establishing new cancer tumor bodies, all functioning in a parasitic metabolism until the host body dies.