Who leads an anarchy? LO29180

From: Jan Lelie (janlelie@wxs.nl)
Date: 09/16/02

Replying to LO29166 --

Dear At, Rick and reader,

At, you asked us: "Ultimately, i think that it is all those who do not
embrace the ROL who lead a society into anarchy.?" I think it is more
complicated - comply-cated, ;-).

An anarchy - in my opinion - is a power struggle: an intermediate,
transitional state were at least two (sub)groups, each with their own set
of rules and laws, are fighting. These rules and laws are based in a set
of values and norms. They might also have emerged from unconscious desires
and wants, repressed feelings and emotion. During this anarchy period
other rules rule: the rule of force, power. When elephants fight, the
grass suffers. This period of transition might be caused by leaders that
do not embrace a ROL or by a ROL that will lead to transition.

I quote from "Paradoxes in Group Life" - page 196. "When differences in
values and ideologies lead to conflict over whose values are to be
subordinated to whose, and under what conditions, the conflict can easily
transform intergroup exchanges into a power struggle. ... Differences in
values can coexist in mutually enriching ways, .... It is not immediately
self-evident what conditions precipitate the switch from potentially
complementary value differences to contradictionary ones. Clearly one
major ingredient, however, is the difference in power that accompanies
these groups in their respective settings". How i wished i could write
like that...

Power differences are a fact of nature and - to me - a result of random,
unpredictable or uncontrollable processes. Talents, resources,
information, position, people and control over resources, information,
position, people are unevenly distributed. What seems to be happening is
that these differences are accepted - by those who have these talents,
resources, information, powers - as "deserved" or "well earned" or "just".
Then, in the interaction with other groups, these differences in power
start to increase. Part of the increase in power difference is due to two
mutually interacting processes:
 1. people in a power poor position tend to define their position as
powerless, they feel powerless: they have no eye for the power they have.
 2. people in a power rich position tend to defend their position, because
they feel assaulted: they have no ear for the difference in power that

Both groups furthermore start to bury their own internal differences in
order to be united, stronger, resolved. This leads to:
 1. less coexistence of difference internally - so people do not learn how
to deal with different opinions, values, critical thinking and
 2. enhanced feelings of powerlessness - one side - and feelings of being
threatened - other side.

This situation - i think it is a tragedy of the commons - builds more and
more tension. You'll hear people say things like "They're all liers", "You
cannot trust them", "If you're not with us, you're against us", "We gave
them a change, but they wouldn't listen". In the end, tehy will call each
other animals and - Starship Troopers - bugs.

If these situation are not well managed, controlled - or should i say -
lead (and i mean that the leaderships are aware of the paradoxical and
self generating nature of the processes. In a way, the powerful move
closer to the fire, thereby increasing their own shadow on the wall and in
this movement, the small shadow of the power poor merges and seems to
grow) it will terminate in a short period of anarchy, were power is
distributed by the use of force, power. The energy, the tension is
released. After this period, a new distribution will be reached and the
processes of co-existing re-appears -or should i say re-atpeace. It is a
kind of karma on the level of organizations, groups and nation. The
question might well be if we'll ever learn from these recurring periods of

Aditional observation:

The other day i read an article: war can be predicted by an unbalance in
the number of young (15 - 20) men. When a society has a relative large
number of young men, there is an increased change of a war breaking out.
Of course, this is all statistics and a war usually reduce the number of
young men... but there is the fact that young men compete for women. And
women prefer strong man. A war enables a man to show his strengths, to get
rid of a number of competitors and ensure himself of a better than a one
to one ration of available women. Also, i would like to point to the fact
that young men do tend to group easily and project images of powerfulness.
It might just be that evolution prefers a situation were anarchy rules for
some periods. Evolution is a blind process and did not anticipate the
emergence of weapons for mass destruction. On the other hand, weapons for
mass destruction might speed up the emergence of a higher type of

Thank you for reading this,

Jan Lelie
facilitator mind@work

AM de Lange wrote:

>I wanted to respond to Fred Nichols that his concept of anarchy is in line
>with its etymology, but did not had time to do it.
>Since English is not my mother tongue, i had to make sure once again in
>the dictionaries what it means. It comes down to disorderly, lawless
>behaviour in a society. Anarchism, on the under hand, is the viewpoint or
>belief that all governments/authorities are wrong and unnecessary.
>I know of communities who live orderly without having some individual(s)
>among them acting as their ruler ("archos"). They as a whole make
>themselves in a orderly manner the rules by which they live. This means
>that the word anarchy does not describe them while the word anarchism does
>describe them. Somehow i feel unhappy with these conflicting meanings of
>anarchy and anarchism.
>Anyway, i do hope we are exploring in this topic this anarchy="disorderly,
>lawless behaviour" of a society or an organisation. What happens at this
>very moment in Zimbabwe fits this description perfectly. Furthermore, this
>anarchy is allowed, incited and even contributed to by the leaders of
>Zimbabwe. The worst is that they even misuse the law to accomplish their
>sinister purpose -- grabbing land and property over the maimed and dead
>bodies of the owners and causing destitution for their workers.
>Ultimately, i think that it is all those who do not embrace the ROL who
>lead a society into anarchy. What do you fellow learners think?


Jan Lelie <janlelie@wxs.nl>

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