First, what kind of motivation am I talking about?
I’m talking about the urge to pursue a goal to change things for the better. An urge that goes beyond the simple desire to belong to a group; that goes beyond the desire to reflect the pronouncements of authority; that goes beyond a need to bolster the status quo.
Eliminating those motivations, we are left with something that involves an individual taking a stand—and making his position public.
His position, his beliefs, his principles, his ideas.
The problem centers on his family, friends, colleagues, co-workers. To some degree, he feels enmeshed in a group, and that group would take a dim view of his ideas and actions. In the territory of his thoughts, he’s emerged from the shadows of conformity; but in the world? That’s a different story.
What would “they” think of him? What would they say? What would they do?
Is he willing to risk fracturing his relationships?
Is he willing to risk “being misunderstood?”
Most people stop at this point, reconsider, and fall back into line. They see The Group as the final arbiter of what they’re permitted to do.
Some far more basic. Something that comes earlier.
As individuals, do they see that they have individual power?
Do they understand they have the capacity to act independently in the world? And that these actions have strength?
Because if they don’t see that, then where would they stand?
And next, do they realize they can form a vision of what they want to do—and do they sense this vision has power?
What I’m talking about here has nothing to do with making an assessment of the likelihood of success or victory versus the numbers of people who are asleep or who defend the status quo. That calculation is, at bottom, an excuse for doing nothing.
If sheer numbers were the deciding factor, all action would be rejected.
Boiling down the basis of motivation comes to this: does the individual realize he is an individual? Does he realize it in greater and greater degrees?
If not, he’ll root around in the forest and never form an independent vision.
A vast overemphasis on his “interdependence with others” will sentence him to grinding out his days.
The “individual who is first and foremost a part of the group” is a fiction. It becomes a convenient fiction for many. It rationalizes avoiding uncomfortable circumstances.
There is the old saw: with great power comes great responsibility. There is some truth in that, but in most cases people are urged to consider responsibility in a way that chokes off their power. The responsibility is directed toward group-duties.
The individual’s responsibility is toward himself. Then, assuming his own power, he can act. Then he can think about his connection to others—but even so, how much is there to think about, if he is forwarding a vision to make things better?
Critics will drag up examples of individuals who enacted destructive visions. But what do these criticisms add up to? The discovery that there are bad apples in the bunch? This is no revelation. Is the crazy dictator a justification for damning all individual action? Of course not.
Where does individual power come from? It comes from the creative urge, the creative impulse. This is deeper than the notion of solving problems. It’s deeper than mechanical resolutions.
If the major part of the last 10,000 years of human history has been dedicated to submerging the individual, then turning the formula right side up is not going to be a Sunday picnic. Understood. But the reversal has to start somewhere. It certainly isn’t going to start from the program of a group. That would be a root contradiction.
Placing a “we” before an “I” may at first appear to be a strategy for exiting an old life, but it soon fades in the glaze of conformity that groups insist on.
Powerful groups can exist—when they are composed of powerful independent individuals, but the group does not give birth to the individual.
It never has.
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.