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Saturday, February 17, 2007

RH: Father Figures and the Moses Complex

From: Robert Ho (ho3@pacific.net.sg)
Subject: RH: Father Figures and the Moses Complex
View: Complete Thread (2 articles)

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Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
Date: 2004-01-19 06:35:17 PST


Ever wondered why most human organisations like States, Nations and
Kingdoms are usually run by one man?

Why couldn't States and Nations be run by a council of wise men or a
partnership of say, 2-3 men?

Ever wondered why most rulers are men, with women distinctly a rare
species, when they make up half of the human race?

Ever wondered why this one-man rule is the rule even in smaller human
organisations like clubs and societies?

I don't believe that a council of wise men or a partnership of 2-3 men cannot work. Why can't there be co-Presidents instead of just one
Idiot President, like Bush? If there were co-Presidents, the US
wouldn't be able to inflict on Iraq the sorry mess it had done.

Why can't there be co-Prime Ministers in Singapore, for instance?

Why must there be only one supreme ruler?

My point is, since absolute power has such powerful ramifications to
the society and country ruled, such power should better be split among 2-3 equal co-PMs or co-Presidents. It is entirely workable. Especially now with better communications technologies and better ways of working and arriving at policies and decisions. For example, joint authoring of papers is entirely feasible and common now, with modern computers and writing software.

Similarly, reports are easily copied on photocopiers and multiplied
exactly to give every joint PM or President equal access. There is
nothing to stand in the way of co-PMs and co-Presidents, etc.

Joint TV press briefings or addresses to the nation could very well be done by joint PMs and joint Presidents, for instance. In private
cabinet meetings, it is even easier to discuss policies and actions,
etc, both as a group and by joint PMs or joint Presidents. Nothing
difficult at all.

So, why the continuing one-man rule?

The answer, I believe, lies deep in the most fundamental unit of
society -- the family. Every family has a father, a mother and
children. Sometimes, there are the grandparents as well.

Thus, in this most fundamental unit of human organisation, the father
is the one who rules. And as father, he sets the rules by which the
rest of the family may live by, especially the children. He enforces
the rule by force [spanking] if necessary and by withholding food and
privileges. He can play favourites, and choose to favour one against
the other siblings. Thus, he is the most powerful person in the family unit.

He is the Father Figure.

And from this sole supreme ruler in the most basic unit, other human
organisations copy the structure of this family unit, so that, today,
from clubs and societies to the State itself, only one man may be
found to be ruling the organisation or State.

Thus, one-man rule is a throwback to the past when the man of the
family was the sole economic provider [although it is probable that
the woman of the house was as important in that she was the one who
gathered crops and cooks the food]. She, nevertheless, plays a
subordinate role, having little say in the ruling of the family.

Thus, this relic of the past has continued to this day, with the
Father Figure firmly established as the only ruler model, from clubs
to States.

Why should it?

Why cannot a council of wise men work? Why cannot a partnership of 2-3 men [and women] work? There is no reason at all, except that probably no one thought of it until today, with this my posting.

Father Figures enjoy power. They make the rules, just like the PM and
President make the rules by which all must live. Some enjoy it so much they will kill and murder and act viciously to gain power and then to enjoy using or abusing that power. It feels God-like to make rules for all others to obey and even more God-like to punish those who infringe the rules or even to question the rules.

Thus, a key aspect of the Father Figure is the Moses Complex. I call
it this because of the 10 Commandments that Moses was supposed to
bring down from the mountain. Rules, again.

The Father Figure who does not understand himself, [practically none
of them do], does not realise that in playing God, he is merely
engaging in simplistic pre-civilised behaviour from the Stone Ages. He thinks that it is right that, being at the top of the human pyramid, he has the right to make laws and to enforce laws. A God-given right.

Even more than making laws, it is even more fun enforcing them, to
punish those who infringe his laws. The law assumes something of a
sacrosanct nature, a big taboo which cannot, must not, be broken.
Thus, this Stone Age behaviour has been retained till now in most or
even all societies.

The Moses Complex explains many things. Why the one single ruler at
the top enjoys making and enforcing rules so much. Why it must be
enforced even when it is totally stupid. And the consequences
disastrous, even.

Every ruler, especially supreme rulers, invests his rules with a
messianic fervour. His rules are cast in stone with the backing of God himself. His rules cannot be disobeyed or challenged. He himself may not live up to his own rules but all others must. On pain of death and terrible retribution.

This also explains why there are so many dictators and near-dictators
in the world today. And why there are no co-PMs and co-Presidents in
the world today. Not because this wouldn't work but because the Father Figure is the easiest metaphor in rule. The State or society as simply an enlarged family unit. And the Father, the supreme ruler.

Much of today's ills in the world would be gone if we had more co-PMs
and co-Presidents instead of the single supreme rulers, if only
because two heads are always better than one.

The EU is the only possibility now of a system of co-Presidents. In
the EU, rotating the Presidency takes too long. There are simply too
many states in the grouping. Soon, it will be as many as 25, if I
remember correctly. A system of 2-3 co-Presidents would work there. I
see no reason why not. Thus, the EU could lead the way with a system
of co-Presidents.

As for the rest of the world, nothing much will change. The top
leaders will always want a one-man show. The Father Figure from the
Stone Age. A throwback to the past. An inabliity to think and innovate in the most important arena of life -- the ruler.

Father figures love one-man rule. It is almost God-like to make rules, like the 10 Commandments. And to enforce obedience to these rules. Thus, much of the ills of the world arise from one-man rule. There are far too many dictators and erstwhile dictators. Far too many supreme rulers. Just by having one other co-PM or co-President could make a lot of difference to the world. For one, policies and decisions need not be tied to one man and his ego, but would stem from a joint rulership, which would automatically de-emphasise any one man's ego and devolve onto the more pertinent issue as to whether that decision or policy is the best for the country.

The Moses Complex is deeply etched in the human mind. From the Stone
Age father who made the rules by which his family lives to the present day Moses. Little has changed. Surprisingly little. Where are the theorists and philosophers?

To end, it is depressing that so little has changed in rule from the
early days till now. The Greeks invented democracy but that was
thousands of years ago. As for dicators, there have always been
dictators and supreme rulers. Why has there been so little innovation
in governance? Why no big ideas? Why no questioning, even, of the
present systems, which clearly are not working.

Is it that difficult to innovate against the natural 'bend' of the
human being? And lead him away from the Stone Age Father Figure with
the Moses Complex to a more civilised, efficient and more workable
system of rule?

After all, this is the 21st Century.

Robert Ho
19 Jan 04
UK 1435 Singapore 2235