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Perry Wilson

May 9, 2010

The Psychology of Abuse and Hierarchal Society

A note to the reader: For the purposes of this essay, the term “civilization,” shall be

defined as described by Derrick Jensen: “a culture—that is, a complex of stories, institutions,

and artifacts— that both leads to and emerges from the growth of cities (civilization, see civil:

from civis, meaning citizen, from Latin civitatis, meaning city-state), with cities being defined—

so as to distinguish them from camps, villages, and so on—as people living more or less

permanently in one place in densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and

other necessities of life.”

Human beings are, as Richard D. Alexander put it, a “uniquely unique species.” Once

diverged from their ancestors, humans began to evolve in a manner that resulted in a massive

increase of contemplative ability. Arguably the most significant intellectual advancement that

defines modern humans is the capacity for complex language and higher social organization. The

necessity to group together for protection coupled with these unique social abilities led to the

natural development of a division of labor in which individuals perform specialized tasks and

fulfill certain roles for the community; humans had begun to cooperate (Alexander, 1990).

Cooperation provided human beings with a unique ecological dominance that essentially

made mankind no longer beholden to what Darwin called the “hostile forces of nature.”

However, this cooperation did not eliminate or nullify the in species competition that defines

life. Instead, competition was elevated from an individual level to a societal level, raising the
stakes and increasing the scale. This new evolutionary arms race focused on groups of

individuals and their ability to “cooperate to compete.” The implication of this change is that for

human beings the primary selective forces of evolution did not come from the natural world but

from other people. Additionally, the criteria shifted from reproductive success to social success

(Alexander, 1990).

This new form of competition and the natural division of labor led to the inevitable

construction of hierarchies to delegate and manipulate; as societies continued to increase in size

and complexity these hierarchies necessarily mirrored their growth. Naturally, those individuals

with the strongest desire and ability to dominate tended to take charge of these hierarchies and

there evolved certain societies which had been structured specifically so that the dominant

individuals would benefit from the sweat of those they dominate (the vast majority) instead of

laboring themselves. Consequentially, as these societies are defined by and structured for the

purpose of dominance they have a natural tendency to spread and dominate new individuals,

territory, resources etc. Such societies are characterized by and dependent on what is clearly an

abusive relationship between the dominator and dominated (Jensen, 2006).

Unfortunately, one of the most insidious and characteristic traits of an abusive

relationship is the tendency for the victim to deny their abuse, even to themselves. In fact, the

greater the power gap and the more abusive the dominators the more likely it is that the

dominated will outwardly deny dissatisfaction and dissention (Scott, 1990). Additionally, if the

gap of power is significant enough (such as in a parent-child or ruler-subject relationship)

victims of abuse will often be unable to come to grips with the idea that they are powerless (or

nearly so) to stop the abuse from happening. In order to avoid the admission that they are

helpless, victims begin to take on responsibility for the abuse: molested children call themselves

sluts; battered wives convince themselves that they have failed their husbands; violated citizens
reference a social contract they never had a chance to refuse to sign. As such, it can often be

difficult to identify those societal relationships that are characterized by abuse, especially for

those within the society (Jensen, 2006).

One of the tell tale signs that an individual is abusive is extreme jealousy (Schecter &

Jones, 1993). Abusive societies adopt jealous ideologies that demand allegiance. Nationalism

(and in America “patriotism”) demand that citizens value their nation over all other nations (as

well as their own life). However, as it is much harder to prove that a nation characterized by

abuse is truly better than all other nations, nationalism takes the easy route by drawing its power

from fear and hatred of outsiders. In this way, nationalism is both a symptom and cause of abuse

(a recurring theme as abuse is most often a chain reaction). Similarly, religions dominated by

jealous and violent gods (such as the Judeo-Christian god) are characteristic of abusive societies

because they indoctrinate victims with the idea that the abuse is normal and natural. Even the

economic systems of abusive societies are characterized by jealousy. American capitalism

(consumerism) is so jealous that it cannot even allow for the existence of communism elsewhere

in the world (even socialism, the idea that more resources should go to the dominated members

of society, is demonized in this country). This characteristic jealousy stems from the abuser’s

fear of losing control.

Abusive individuals seek to control nearly every aspect of the victim’s life. Likewise,

abusive societies seek to control the lives of the majority. The most “advanced” of the nations on

the planet develop massive surveillance and information collection systems so they can watch

their victims being abused and murdered by the various forms of mindless, uniformed peons that

enforce the paradigm of dominance.

One of the biggest indicators of this desire for the dominant to control their victims is the

arms gap that develops between the workers and their slavers; the more abusive and violent the
society, the bigger the arms gap. According to a congressional analysis of the 2009 fiscal year

the United States of America spent a quarter or more of its budget and around 40% of its tax

revenue on obscenely expensive killing (Edwards et. all, 2009). Meanwhile, the workers, minds

warped by abuse, are actively giving away their right to arm themselves with the comparatively

punitive weapons that the government grants them access to. This is because civilization

convinces its victims that they cannot control themselves and so must be controlled. The

American people do not trust themselves with guns yet they allow their police, a group of so-

called “people,” with a marked history of hatred, oppression, racism, physical and sexual assault,

theft, murder and other abuses, to stockpile weapons (including paramilitary equipment such as

tanks and chemical weapons) in their own back yard and carry assault rifles in their vehicles.

These are weapons which have absolutely no purpose other than to harm and kill the tax payers;

the American people are paying for the bullets their government uses to kill them.

Yet the victims somehow convince themselves that the abuses they suffer are for the

greater good. This is because abusive systems utilize religion, the media and public school

systems to break young children and reshape them into model citizens; an individual cannot be

expected to recognize abuse if they have been programmed to believe that it is for their own

good. Morals are relative and each society dictates a system of morality that is congruent with its

structure (Woodson, 1933). Even more terrifying is the trend for advanced societies to seek a

technological means of complete mind and body control over its subjects. A 1996 U.S. Air Force

Scientific Advisory Board Report described electromagnetic technologies that could “prevent

voluntary muscular movements, control emotions (and thus actions), produce sleep, transmit

suggestions, interfere with both short-term and long-term memory, produce an experience set,

and delete an experience set;” it would not be the first, nor last, attempt. There is, quite simply,

no more complete form of control.

In an abusive relationship, the abuser will often try to control their victim by pushing for

an early commitment. Abusive societies demand commitment from their citizens at birth,

starting them on a strict diet of indoctrination at the very start. In America, children who do not

recite the pledge of allegiance are ostracized, outcast, and in many cases labeled as “problem

students.” Even adults who do not stand and remove their hat at the start of a baseball game are

the target of nasty glares and judgments. Those who are born outside of society, upon coming

into contact with an abusive one, are forced to make a quick decision between commitment and

a torturous death (see: missionaries).

Commitment is important to abusers because they are dependant on their victims (often

because they crave emotional healing for the abuse that turned them into an abuser but are

incapable of dealing with it in a healthy way). In order to ensure commitment, abusers will

project their own dependency onto their victims; consequentially, the abused becomes

emotionally dependant on the abuser. Civilization works in the same way in that it is dependant

on dependency. Abusive societies obviously depend on the workers but in order to ensure that

they will labor for scraps they must be forced into a situation in which they cannot produce for

themselves. Civilization actively seeks to destroy natural resources and murder non-human life

for the purpose of creating a scarcity that necessitates a systematic distribution. In other words:

an individual who is capable of feeding themselves off the land has no need for a supermarket

(Jensen, 2006). Beyond that, civilization seeks to create illusionary necessities. Electricity,

Internet access, cell phone connectivity, transportation; none are necessary to natural life but are

critical to living successfully in Civilization. Even more illusionary are the desires created by

consumerism for completely superfluous luxury goods. By making workers insecure and

convincing them that a car, energy drink, or new shampoo will make them emotionally healthier

the dominant members of society have managed to con those who labor for a living to give their
measly share back to the slave drivers.

In addition to isolating their victims from resources, abusers ensure dependence and

compliance by isolating them from other individuals. The more isolated the victim is the less

likely they are to come into contact with an example of a healthy relationship and begin to

question the one they are currently engaged in; isolation allows the abuser to “monopolize the

victim’s perception,” (Jensen, 2006). If the abuser has gained this monopoly, the victim will

accept even the most horrifying of scenarios as normal (this is especially easy to do to children,

who lack life experience). Similarly, civilization seeks to isolate human beings from the natural

world starting from the second each child is birthed (in relatively technologically advanced

civilizations, humans even engage in conception isolated from nature in laboratories). The vast

majority of sensory input for those living in civilization is the product of (or at least highly

regulated by) civilization itself; it is designed with an innate monopoly over perception. By

separating its victims from nature, civilization makes it impossible (or at the very least extremely

difficult) to conceptualize a way of living in harmony with nature. This allows, and encourages,

civilized societies to commit horrendous acts against the natural world; even when there is no

measured benefit.

Another way in which abusive societies counteract nature is by redefining what is

considered “natural,” such as in with the strict enforcement of gender roles (yet another trait that

also characterizes abusive individuals). This is done first by equating gender with sex in the

minds of children; many adults never learn the difference. While “sex,” describes biological and

genetic characteristics (gonads, hormones, chromosomes etc.) “gender,” refers to an individual’s

perception of themselves as masculine, feminine, both, or neither and how they present

themselves as such. By equating the two in the minds of its victims an abusive society can

classify a human and define their role for them as a cog in the machine before they are even
born. Beyond that, abusive societies indoctrinate their victims with the idea that both sex and

gender are binary (this is demonstrated through language as in conventional English, the

dominant language, where gender and sex have only two extremes or “romance“ languages

which even find it necessary to classify a chair, something you rest your ass on, as female). This

forces individuals to deny certain aspects of themselves, as each person contains both feminine

and masculine qualities (“anima” and “animus” according to psychiatrist Carl Jung). Beyond

that, it denies modern biological sciences (as well as countless historical accounts and stories

from numerous societies across the globe) which demonstrate that sex is far from binary. Every

child born into these gender-binary societies is forced to adopt a set of behavioral norms based

on arbitrary labels and then told it is natural; one cannot live naturally if they have no idea what

nature is. In fact, during the rise of the Nazis in Germany, Wilhelm Reich theorized that without

sexual indoctrination and the suppression of sexuality authoritarian governments would not be

able to mentally enslave its victims as they would have no shame for their natural desires and be

able to trust their own moral compass (Easton, & Hardy, 1997). Is it any wonder that America, a

nation founded by Christian puritans who feel shame for their natural desires and fear their own

bodies, is so hopelessly conformist?

Naturally, a system opposed to nature is inherently flawed. In the way that an abuser

tends to blame others for their problems, civilization is constantly looking for a new scapegoat to

bare the blame (this tendency to scapegoat is what lead to the Holocaust in Germany and almost

every single other act of genocide in the history of mankind). This is because civilization (like an

abuser) has no desire to examine, acknowledge, and deal with its own problems as to do so

would mean its destruction. So it blames endangered species for unemployment in the logging

industry, immigrants for lost jobs, brown people for crime, homosexuals for the breakdown of

the nuclear family, atheists for the demoralization of the country, Muslims for wars etc ad
nauseam. This tendency to blame, coupled with dominance over the victim’s perception, leads

the victim to agree with their abuser and actually engage in self-abuse. On a large scale, human

beings are deluding themselves into believing that they, as individuals, are killing the planet

when the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the destruction and overuse comes from

large systems of industry and government. This is because individuals want to associate with

those in power; they want to pretend that they have an influence on the decisions that are made.

In other words: most people would rather believe that they are responsible for killing the Earth

than accept they have no power to save it. This is why many people get defensive when the

paradigms that make up their society are questioned; they are operating under the belief that it

was their idea or that they at least had a say in the matter.

The reason that people become abusive is because they themselves have been abused;

abuse is an act of chain projection that spans generations. Those who allow themselves to

become the instruments of society’s abuses are often coming from this same place of projection.

Abusers often claim (and often convince themselves) that their actions are out of love or concern

for the wellbeing of their victim and the victim graciously believes it, much as the Nazi’s

convinced themselves and the Germanic people that they were committing mass murder and

plunging the world into war for their own good (Lifton, 1986). Abusive individuals convince

themselves and their victims that there is nothing wrong with their relationship. In the same way,

civilization promotes and imbues in its victims a sense of normalcy with regard to the insanity

that defines the lifestyle it dictates. Civilization is actively poisoning the minds of its victims,

training them to hate themselves so that they accept and even long for abuse. Beyond that,

civilization is literally poisoning not only its victims but the entire biosphere. There is no logic,

no reason, no semblance of sanity behind civilization; it is a system that is motivated only by

suffering and so seeks to make it manifest wherever it sinks its irksome claws. In an abusive
relationship, the choice is left to the victim: either stay and endure the abuse or leave. However,

sometimes things are not so simple; sometimes the victim has no means of escape; civilization

has achieved global dominance. Cornered prey has only two choices: submit to their demise or

go for the predator’s throat.

Suggested Viewing

(Available on YouTube)

Curtis, A. (2002). In (Executive producer), The Century of the Self. London, UK:
BBC Four.


Alexander, R.D. (1990). How did humans evolve? Reflections on the uniquely unique

species. Museum of Zoology, The University of Michigan Special Publication, 1.

Easton, D., & Hardy, J.W. (1997). The Ethical slut: a guide to infinite sexual

possibilities. Eugene, OR: Greenery Press.

Edwards, B., Hoople, D., Shakin, J., Woodland, C. U.S. Congress, Budget Office.

(2009).Monthly budget review: fiscal year 2009 (a congressional budget office

analysis) Washington, DC: Retrieved from

Jones, A., Schechter, S. (1990). When Love goes wrong: what to do when you can't do anything

right. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Lifton, R.J. (1986). The Nazi doctors: medical killing and the psychology of genocide. Basic


Scott, J.C. (1990). Domination and the arts of resistance: hidden transcripts. New Haven, CT:

Yale University Press.

Woodson, C.J. (1933). The Mis-education of the negro. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press.