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Exploring the Roots of Top-Down Power-- Necessary to Understand What To Do Next?

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rob Kall     Permalink    (# of views)   48 comments, 3 series

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It's important to know our roots, how we got to where we are now. That applies to the core top-down powers that now and perhaps always, have confronted democracy and justice.
We know, from many sources-- particularly anthropologists-- that humans have, for five million years, and before then our primate ancestors, lived bottom-up lives-- sharing, cooperating, living interdependently, connected to each other, connected to nature, local, kind, egalitarian. Sure there were some alpha males, but even within that structure, most of life was not about domination. We know that even among horses, the dominant ones are often not the most influential, except in certain situations.
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So, the question is, how did the big, top-down, hierarchical phenomena happen. And what are the big top-down early manifestations of top-down?
The first civilizations appeared, it's estimated, about 10-12,000 years ago, in the fertile crescent. People started to farm and to domesticate animals. This attached them to land. They began to claim ownership to land, where, before, people were nomadic and roamed. Apparently land that was shared as part of the commons was taken either patrilineally or by "royalty. That would suggest that civilization came about by the theft of the commons. Or we might surmise that it came about because the people with the rights to the commons allowed others to take what was theirs away from them. Sometimes, such acts were done in the name of religion, since early rulers often claimed that they were gods themselves or chosen by god or the gods.
To protect the land and the assets produced by farming and domestication of animals, work specialization was developed and surely, among the earliest specializations was the creation of soldiers and or police.
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I don't think it took too long after people starting taking ownership (control, domination, restriction) of land before they started treating people as things to be owned-- slaves.
I'm making a lot of assumptions here, but the point of this article is to get your feedback, so have at me.
Let me recap what I'm saying.
1- farming and domestication of animals could have been done with shared, common ownership. But instead, some people took the land from the commons, in the name of family power or rulership, often based on religion.
2-One of the first work specializations was soldier or policeman, to protect land ownership.
3- Once there was a force of police or soldiers to protect land, they could be used to collect slaves, taxes, and to dominate peaceful people.
So, you have to wonder, what kind of people would cross the line, from bottom-up, shared, power-with "ownership" of the commons to rapacious, dominating personal or organizational (religion, family) ownership and power-over control?
I have to confess I have not thoroughly researched what work has been done on this. I'm hoping this article will inspire some crowd-sourced research by you. It seems to me that if we're going to understand the problems we now have with the abuses of top-down power an what we need to do next, we need to understand the roots, etiology of the earliest manifestations of top-down power, including recognizing the deep, deep roots of the role of police in protecting power.
The more I get into exploring the implications of top-down and bottom-up aspects of our culture, our history, our relationships, the more it seems clear that we must analyze and dissect every aspect of civilization to decide if they are still working for us, or if we need to replace them with older, more bottom-up, systemic ways of doing things. That includes police, land ownership, and all forms of ownership nations, farming, leadership, the commons and privatization. We need to think a lot bigger than just tweaking what we have. Our five million year history as humans and life's billions of years old history have lessons to teach us that are as yet uncovered.

 

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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