MAN'S COOPERATIVE MIND
From the viewpoint of evolution, men have put a great emphasis on collaboration. Because men were weak and vulnerable to raging natural hazards and attacks from beasts, they had to protect themselves by making an organized action. Thanks to this tradition, men have made themselves what they are now. But since at the turn of the 20th century, our social situation has become too far complicated, and thus made quite dangerous the indiscriminate application of cooperative mind to every walks of life.
At no times have we never been so dependent on our conscience for making decisions, and yet we are greatly influenced by this subtle monster, the cooperative mind. Modern wars, since the Crimean War in 1853, has obliged sovereign states to devise the draft system. Unlike paid soldiers, slaves and loyal knights, people in so-called democratic nations had to be persuaded into participating in the war.
One of the most effective means to send them to wars, among threats, death penalty and taxation, was to appeal to their "patriotism". People who refused to go to war ware called 'betrayer' and humiliated. Faced with this tremendous mental oppression, few people can stand this and have their own way. Moreover, those who slaughtered during the war are praised for their 'patriotic act', while a solitary man who committed murder is guilty of an unlawful act. What could be more different? And yet people turn a blind eye to this inconsistency.
The epidemic of this relativistic attitude is getting more and more serious. In this others-oriented society, people's cooperative tendency is badly exploited not only by warmongers, and politicians but by advertisers and profit-making organizations. For example, power companies start campaign for the cause of constructing nuclear power plants. They emphasize the rosy future, while pretending to minimize the risks the reactors would pose. And those brave people who oppose the plan are severely criticized for not being cooperating for promoting 'the welfare of the local people' and so on.
It would not be a waste of time and energy to remind you of Quaker. They denied this kind of inconsistency to the end and never gave in. They are one of the Protestant Groups, but unlike other Christians who gladly went to war in the name of God, they have no Bibles, ministers or decorative churches. They are supposed to lead a simple, conscience-oriented life which is led through 'Inner Light'. Amish are also remembered as conscientious objector.
Under the complicated circumstances of modern society, people are always at the mercy of 'invisible forces'. No one was able to stop the launching of Space Shuttle even if some defect was detected beforehand. That is because almost all the NASA staffs were made to believe Space Shuttle was defect-free. In 1950 when Red Purge led by Senator McCarthy was raging in the United States, majority of the Americans kept silent, implicitly allowing this dogmatism to be infallible truth, and communists to be labeled as betrayers, unpatriotic, and sometimes, to deserve death penalty. Turning in has become pandemic, and there seems to have been no other choice but to 'cooperate' the witch hunt.
Democracy may be an ideal, but for the last 300 years it has made progress only inch by inch, totteringly; Louis the 16th had his head severed. The Third Reich disintegrated. Liberalism swept the US in the 60s. But, sad to say, people never learn the lessons of history, and even if they do, they are extremely forgetful. And new danger is stealthily approaching; the invisible erosion of free-thinking---it is now under way from inside of democracy itself.
To put it simply; in considering democratic system. the principle of 'decision by majority' seems to be indispensable. But as the modern trend towards relativity and variety has grown stronger, the amount of time and energy required for making negotiation, concession, compromise and reconciliation has intolerably increased.
That is why vote-counting has become looked upon as the sole object of democracy. Everything could be openly put into practice as long as more than half of the voters agree, to say nothing of unanimity. This presupposes implicit threat, bribe-taking and the existence of pressure groups rather than thorough debate. Everybody is obliged to follow under the 'majority rule'. Anyone who provokes an objectionable motion is regarded as 'uncooperative'.
Yes, the birth of Nazis was legally admitted in the Weimar Republic, which prided itself on its allegedly the most democratic constitution in the world, and yet could not prevent this monstrous party from becoming an example of dictatorship.
In an effort to make efficient decision-making procedure, bureaucrats tend to leave out long, tiring discussion. In this light, freedom of speech is being seriously curtailed even in so-called democratic countries. The very development of a huge bureaucratic system and its labyrinthine decision-making have put the most important ideals of democracy on the verge of extinction.
Since we will never be able to reach the absolute truth, there is no other way but to refer more painstakingly to individual opinions if we are to survive in this monstrous world. Nothing does more harm to us than cooperating blindly. 'Civilized man' should no longer be unthinking pawns at the mercy of stupid leaders.
First Written in June, 1986 Revised in May, 2001