1.3 The Mindset
The linear mindset, tribal tendencies, and the cult of narcissism are mutually reinforcing. Linear thinking lays the foundation for narcissism by viewing the world in terms of discrete elements, as opposed to an integrated whole. The less of a bond we feel with our neighbor the less likely we are to see the wisdom in attending to their interests. The tribal paradigm takes narcissism to the collective level. They and we replace them, and me but the basic approach remains the same. The tribe, in which narcissistic personalities become the norm, will not only be inclusionary to the outside world, but will be a house divided against itself. The members of the tribe may show a unified front to the outside world, however they will be constantly jockeying for position within the tribe. The individual in this type of tribe views their fellow family members as tools, as objects, which can be manipulated to further their own personal agenda, or as competitors vying for status within the group.
These three elements work together to generate the weldbild of modern man. The relative strength in the mix of each one of the three may vary from culture to culture, but the overall effect is always the same.
For instance, the tribal element is more pronounced in older cultures with more entrenched traditions, and relatively homogeneous populations, such as one is likely to find on the European continent. Conversely, in North America, a culture, which was very much formed in reaction to the European culture, where the new is embraced and the old, discarded, and the social fabric is heterogeneous, the importance of the tribe is subordinated to the narcissistic ambitions of the individual. Individuals from either side of the Atlantic may differ in the outer form that their modus operandi may take, however the modus vivendi is no less self-centered and narcissistic in one than the other.
Each member of the tribe is placed in a position where they must choose between two options – complicity and exile. Complicity then becomes the glue that binds the group together. An example of this is when a questionable act is committed, which furthers the interests of the group. In these situations, the security of each individual requires that everyone in the group be culpable for the act. If this is not the case, than those who are innocent become witnesses, and therefore mortal threats, to those who committed the crime.
Perhaps the most famous example provided by history is the assassination of Julius Caesar by the senators. It was critical that all present, Brutus among them, drive their dagger into the aspiring tyrant. The same principle applies to any powerful group, be it a crime family, political party or the senior management of a large corporation.
This choice between complicity and exile is illusory. The insider, by definition, knows too much. They have seen the backstage machinations, which underpin the myth. Should they share what they know with those on the outside they could threaten the entire status quo. Given that the group is a collection of narcissists, for whom all others are merely means to their own personal ends, should someone become a threat they would not find it difficult to justify doing what ever it took to protect their security. Consequently, an insider who breaks rank and attempts to get out faces the specter of almost certain annihilation. An example of that described above is the 3×3 network described in the chapter on Tribalism, which existed during the Communist regime in Hungary.