1.2 The Structure (Continued)
The zeitgeist of this century is narcissism. The world as it is today is not merely narcissistic; narcissism has become its defining feature. It captures the very essence of twentieth century man – the way we think, the way we relate to each other, the way we see the world. Ubiquitous, it has been integrated into our reality to such an extent that most of us are completely blind to the degree to which it permeates our lives. It has become the background to our existence.
To take it a step further, I would argue that what in the past was referred to pejoratively as narcissism, has been elevated to the status of a religious faith. The “enlightened selfishness” prescribed by the eighteenth century philosopher and economist Adam Smith has been distorted into a moral justification for wanton greed and personal indulgence.
The next layer is the group, or tribal, level of trance. Human beings, being social animals, have a natural need to organize into groups. Even the most individualistic among us begins to suffer withdrawal symptoms if we are separated from human contact for too long. Each group exerts influence on its members. Even in the absence of a defined set of rules the members of the group must abide by, over time the group will exert a homogenizing influence on those within it. This will impact how those within the group will see the world, and their place in it.
The next level is the societal trance. This is a collection of related myths, which frame the worldview of society. Examples of this are the myth of scarcity, law and order, the sanctity of science, etc. Individually, these myths can be challenged, but taken together they are daunting.
The Myth of Linearity is the meta-myth, which supports all the others. It is the belief that sequential logic rules the world. That everything is related by interminable chains of cause and effect. The Myth of Linearity is the wellspring from which all the other myths emanate and this myth is the glue that binds all others together.