DOWN WITH ANY ELITE
How to cause a
The founder of the
Theory of Catastrophes, the French mathematician René Thom, has written that science has a
two-sided purpose: You have to understand the world and you have to act on
it. (il faut comprendre le monde et agir sur lui).
In the time of Copernicus the situation in astronomy became untenable. A growing number of scientists started to look for another paradigm in which the earth was not the centre of the universe. They had a deep scientific knowledge and looked for other possibilities that were totally different from the existing practice. A discussion between old and new scientists was impossible because new scientists knew that a solution based on the old paradigm was unlikely. The two paradigms (either the earth or the sun as the centre of the universe) were incompatible and the conflict could not be solved by logic.
politics a comparable situation is developing. Many problems cannot
anymore be solved by the prevailing paradigm, the elitist democracy more
or less connected with the rule of the majority. Many people still
try to improve the present situation in the world by using the old paradigm.
They remain within the boundaries set by the elite. By such actions
elites continue to rule the world. Some new people take their distance from this paradigm and look for
entirely new solutions. A fruitful discussion between old and new people
is impossible because new people know that a solution based on the
old paradigm is unlikely. A fundamentally different society can never
be reached by trying to improve gradually the present objectionable
people asked me what I should like to be done in response to the WTC
Within the present paradigm all solution are bound to fail. Our political
system in which elitist democracies in rich countries are connected to
feudal dictatorial regimes in other countries cannot provide a lasting
solution. Something else has to happen, a catastrophe that will turn
the tables upside down.
The second factor is the autonomous activity of masspeople. When the masses still accept without too much resistance most of decisions of leaders, change will not occur. But there are signs that people do not accept anymore all what is said. A direct attack on the powers that be is however still in its infancy.
The third factor is the weakening of the central power of the leading elite. In palace revolutions and during coups d’état the central power is weakened by a struggle between parts of the elite. This occurred with the fall of Sukarno, Allende and Marcos and in many other countries were generals usurped power. The Russian Revolution was also only possible because the central power of the feudal Russian regime was weakened. In this process that was leading to a catastrophe the weakening was partly caused by the growing autonomous activity of masspeople (the second factor) that is directed against the power structure of the state (the third factor), which in the end is controlled by a few powerful members of the elite.
factor is the growing mass consciousness that another society is
possible. The powers that be say that democracy is the best method for the
organisation of the state and that no other system is possible. When the
hope rises that another kind of society is possible this will be an
important factor to reach the jumping point. Already long before the
occurrence of the French Revolution the despair in regard to the old
situation started to change in a hope for a new future. Later it became
evident that the changes were not so big and that part of the old elite
formed together with new people a new leading class. Though past
revolutions indeed did improve somewhat the situation of the masses, the
lack of massive autonomous actions of masspeople (factor two) prevented
that a real new situation came into being. But the situation is now
somewhat better because the general level of knowledge has risen. This is
the fifth factor that is needed to reach the jumping point.
Educated people are less inclined to accept the propaganda of leaders
than uneducated masses.
To sum up this theory I recapitulate the five elements.
revolution, a catastrophe, a new paradigm is needed, a new vague idea
about the organisation of the new society, for example based on the
activities of alternating minorities.
Joost van Steenis (December 3 2001)
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