Think of humanity like a brain. How does your mind work? Singular brain cells build bonds with surrounding cells. They are not physically connected. That doesn’t matter. Since they fire electric current between each other so often, they are bound together. It’s quite beautiful. Each individual cell in your brain is clamoring for its niche. Many fall out of usage. Others become more and more powerful.
This is where things become strange. Ponder for a moment: How do you think? Each brain cell is fighting for the forefront of your mind. A different one fires at the right time and changes your thought process or your focus. The more your let one thought take command or one type of thought contain you, the more it will surface. You build a type of hierarchy in your mind that becomes a form of self-identification. In short, that hierarchy becomes you.
I intend to stretch this metaphor to the outer limits. Does human sociology work like brain chemistry? I believe so. We have a main stage that we identify as culture. There are billions of us clamoring for a position on our planet. We build relationships with the people around us. Every once in a while, we find that what we have done or what we have to say is important to other people. When what we have to say becomes part of culture, we occupy the collective t “thought” of humanity. Our “15 minutes of fame” becomes the forefront of our collective mind.
What then, is the hierarchy that we have created? The people we put in power and the power structure we have in place are there because that is what we have focused on over time. Back in the 1700s, many philosophers—and the general population—spent time pondering the idea of a republic. We spent enough time on these thoughts, that a structure of hierarchy was built. The same happens for every part of society. It is a direct result of the culture we live in.
What can we learn from this? The first thing we must learn is that the power structures in our world are not the sole source of power. They derive their power from the culture that created them. A power structure must be seen in this duality—the structure itself and the culture around it. They are not separable. If you want to affect change in the power structure, you must also affect change in the culture that created it.
I am drawn to an episode of South Park entitled, “Something Wal-Mart This Way Comes.” In it, the townspeople identify the dangers and problems of having a Wal-Mart in their town. They decide they must change the power system by buying from a different store. Over time, however, that store becomes the new Wal-Mart with all the same dangers and problems. The townspeople forgot something incredibly important. The power structure is created through a vacuum that society creates. Destroying Wal-Mart will not destroy the vacuum.
In order to destroy the vacuum that society creates, you must affect change in that society as well. If the townspeople were to curb their purchases towards things they only needed, the outcome would be much different. Sure, if they continued to shop at the Wal-Mart, it would have continued to do well despite their decrease in spending. That is why I must reiterate: In order to effect change, you must change the power structure and the culture.
If the people of South Park curbed their spending while stopping their purchases with a mega-corporation, they would have successfully destroyed the vacuum that created Wal-Mart in the first place (at least in their town). Whenever you want to effect change, this is the most important thing to learn. You cannot simply throw a Revolution. Even if it is successful, the same vacuums will be filled.
You must first aim to affect the minds of the many. Put your ideas on paper and see if they catch one. Use your relationships to talk about the ideas that could soon shape your culture. You will find yourself at a critical mass if you change culture enough. It is then that the power structure already in place will decide whether or not the struggle will be bloody or peaceful. Remember that. Remain peaceful. If they throw the first stone, that is their decision. Until then, you are to remain peaceful or else risk the possibly of conducting a successful revolution.
27 December 2011