When studying the nature and evils of “collectivism” the ultimate question comes to mind inevitably—why. Why is it that collectivism is such a prevalent human trait that is the greatest threat to individual liberty? Why are there a large number of people who live in modern society who are attracted to political philosophies like socialism and communism? Why is it that some people believe that for their lives to be successful that it requires my participation in their life so they can feed off my effort just to live? This is without question the duality of modern America and the greatest challenge the human race faces in the 21st century. Some in America like me wish to be left free to achieve whatever our effort and imaginations can conceive while others wish simply to live from day-to-day in a collective pattern of herd mentality living and dying uneventfully with an eye always on the horizon toward some spectacular afterlife.
When looking for answers to the hard questions of the modern age, I like to look beyond the start of the progressive age in America, before the New England Victorians brought to The United States the corruptive disease of a festering European socialist model. To understand why please refer to my article on “Han Shot First” by CLICKING HERE. Even with a popular story like Star Wars there is much debate over a simple aspect of it such as in that example. As the filmmaker George Lucas grew older, and more compassionate as multiple influences affected his world outlook, he has subtly revised a scene in that famous movie that has fans in an uproar. Leo Tolstoy thus also went through a similar transition throughout his life from when he wrote the great classic novel War and Peace, but desired at the end of his life to wonder the streets of Russia as a peasant. People and ideas of time do change a bit, and with their minds can come to reality an attempt to revise history to fit their shape-shifting perceptions.
I would argue that such dramatic changes in philosophy come from minds that have lived in gray areas of their lives, and those shades of gray do allow unstable minds to alter their world-view. This is a prevalent trait in creative people, and creative people are often the ones who interpret history for the more logical businessmen and legislators of any age. So it is for this reason that I tend to trust only bodies of work, creative literature and serious science that predates the progressive era of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and their love of European royalty. It is in just such a book that I went searching for an answer to this problem of modern and historical collectivism—and I think I’ve found it in the below quote.
“Among the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, when the men were on the war-path, the women performed dances at frequent intervals. These dances were believed to ensure the success of the expedition. The dancers flourished their knives, threw long sharp-pointed sticks forward, or drew sticks with hooked ends repeatedly backward and forward. Throwing the sticks forward was symbolic of piercing or warding off the enemy, and drawing them back was symbolic of drawing their own men from danger. The hook at the end of the stick was particularly well adapted to serve the purpose of a life-saving apparatus. The women always pointed their weapons towards the enemy’s country. They painted their faces red and sang as they danced, and they prayed to the weapons to preserve their husbands and help them to kill many foes.” Such is the statement provided after the exhaustive research that went into the great book The Golden Bough written by Sir James Frazer in 1890 under the chapter “Sympathetic Magic.”
When Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed in what used to be my favorite book prior to The Fountainhead, his great work Thus Spoke Zarathustra that mankind was about to move beyond the limits previously experienced as he suggested that humans were on the cusp of a revolutionary point in their evolution and that it was the Übermensch translated as the Overman or otherwise “the superman” that would begin to emerge and transform society into the next great age. Ayn Rand, the great Russian author would take this idea and bring it to life in perhaps the most controversial bodies of literature thus far seen on planet earth, because in essence she was disputing the ideas of collectivism which is rooted in superstition and sought to replace such silly concepts with logical observation that goes back to the roots of Aristotle’s original arguments, before the Dark Ages and many empires along with ruling kingdoms would water down the minds of human beings for centuries through the strong belief in “sympathetic magic” articulated above by Frazer. Nietzsche was attacking the idea that “sympathetic magic” would continue to rule human beings into the future, and that the rational mind was beginning to take over such previous primitive thinking.
As ridiculous as some might think that the behavior of the Thompson Indians were, all one needs to do to see modern examples of it today is to attend a sporting event. In any stadium where football is played, “sympathetic magic” is being used as fans wear clothing and practice rituals that they believe will help their team to victory. Some fans and even players will pray to God to help them attain victory. It is well-known that baseball players often will wear a particular pair of shoes or wear the unwashed socks from a previous “big game” in hopes that the magic of those past events will translate to success in a future, yet un-played game. The name “sympathetic magic” means that the ritual performed in whatever capacity will invoke success through some magical, unknown means, but that the belief that like, or “shared” things have power over fate permeates. Such as the fan who wears the jersey of their favorite player hoping in the back of their mind that such an action will help that player perform better on the field of battle. Fans of the modern age may think of themselves as being more educated and sophisticated than the Thompson Indians of British Columbia, but they aren’t in practice.
We see the same attempts at “sympathetic magic” with politics, and even the way tax money is spent. Teacher unions and their neurotic soccer mom supporters advocate that more money spent on a school will magically make the school better. They have direct evidence that such a thing can’t happen, and even history and logic speak against such a thought. Yet they insist to believe with all the naiveté of a fool that throwing money at a problem will solve it. Their scientific logic has all the merit of a child throwing a penny into a fountain and making a wish, which is “sympathetic magic” yet they adhere to such foolishness with great religious zeal—even violence to protect their desire to retain such beliefs against the face of reality.
To protect themselves against reality, people who have such feeble minds to construct their lives around “sympathetic magic” gather in groups just like the village people of primitive cultures in a shared belief that if they all focus their minds on the same idea using “sympathetic magic” that they can alter reality. This is the root cause of collectivism. This is actually the root cause of much evil in the world and was the warning of Nietzsche and Ayn Rand. It is also why collective orientated people hate those philosophers with religious fury, because the introduction of such a reality contaminates the “sympathetic magic” they are attempting to invoke among the Gods. Collectivism therefore is the mechanism that is holding human kind back into a continuous state of decay and regression whereas the American experiment of individualism produced explosive invention and dramatic wealth production. In America human beings for the first time in recorded human history could think and live without the imposition of having a ruler force upon the individual an insistence of scientific thought bound to the mechanisms of “sympathetic magic.” In America the first of the Übermenschs’ emerged as Nietzsche predicted and like all cultures the birth begins in art—in this case the minds of creative science, authors like Ayn Rand, and filmmakers like George Lucas who in his youth created Han Solo, even if in his older years philanthropy and being a billionaire with the added pressure of old age, created in his mind the hope for a little “sympathetic magic” to reach across the great unknown and hope that the Gods will smile upon his actions on earth. The old George Lucas insists that the young George Lucas always intended to have Han shoot second. But it is in such revisions that all manners of “sympathetic magic” are protected through historical revision so that the minds of collectivists can maintain their illusions in the face of a grim reality—that courses of history can only be altered through individual will by those who most honestly follow their own private bliss as solo participants in their own hero adventures divorced from any collective cause and downtrodden superstition.
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