Organization Man and Democracy Incorporated
William Whyte. I certainly couldn’t have had then the networks of
understanding I’ve put together since — webs of thoughts with which I now tend to
view and interpret the organized, so-called "civilized’ world, a stage of life I’ve reached I guess could be called "aged," seems somehow past "middle." But certainly the
basic forms in that book must have resounded in me even then. I can’t even
remember what stimulated me to read it. It was written in 1956.
Huxley’s interview was 1958, I was ten and twelve respectively, so not
yet ready for such thoughts. But by the early Sixties in high school, they were
starting to blossom. I was reacting to high school, the institution; I
can remember that. Orwell’s 1984 was also in my reading list at that
time. I wonder now how much that prepared the ground in my mind for
the growth direction it took? My visceral response to the military,
for instance, did it prepare my mind for that? Or was my mind in some
way already pre set to take in the forms those writers were seeing and
describing in their writing, and something else had prepared the soil
long before, maybe shortly after birth even, and their ideas were just
I don’t think I’m seeing anything particularly new these days. It’s seems that more of it is lit at once, is all, and so I have more visually available to me to work with. The brain people call that right brained seeing, I believe. Perhaps it’s something else. But I doubt I
would understand the work Sheldon Wolin recently did, his own brain still lit up in his late eighties, on managed democracy (Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism), nor would it
be still working at my thoughts, without that set of categories that
I’ve been working into various patterns all my life; ideas that form this abstract "vision" of
civilization I keep coming up with.
I awoke this morning thinking
about Wolin’s description of Superpower and how he sees it as working from an implied informal "constitution"
that becomes culturally embedded in the very cognitively developed framework of the minds of those who get in
positions of decision making power. Hence my association with Whyte’s Organization Man. Superpower, with a capital ‘S’ is his unique visionary description he uses throughout
the work, whereby he couples the emergence of the U.S. as a global
Superpower with the comic book hero, Superman, a metaphorical figure
not surprisingly from the same era he traces back to the beginnings of
Superpower. The "enculturated" constitution of Superpower is, as such, an imaginary constitution evoked by other "imaginaries" like American Exceptionalism,
evoking a vision of power, but one that contradicts and works against the written and formally transcribed political Constitution, the one that supposedly defines our nation and formally legitimizes the political exercise of power — a power that was intended to be limited, where Superpower’s is virtually infinite. However Superpower seems to have somehow countervailed (and perhaps counter "veiled" as well) the written one. I suppose transfixing the imaginary can do that. At any rate, we are, then, according to Wolin, rendered a schizoid nation, part democracy and part empire, but in whole neither. Perhaps we are struggling for our sanity.
Imagining all that evokes a profound and generatively imaginitive
thought process for me that I suspect I could not have evoked without all those other
categories in the mix after all these years. Any one by itself just dies out once triggered if the others aren’t there to light up, and bells don’t ring when those steel balls bounce off them in a mind blowing pinball game. More and more when I think now, I light up the whole game. It’s just because I practice. There is some value to aging, after all.
I would certainly not have been hesitant to introduce this concept on a message board back when
I conceived the potential of the Unitary Executive Theory. It was the
ever frustrating results of my efforts to bring something out of the
coalescing intuition of that vision that now cautions my mind not to
bother. I suspect in some ways it’s the self fulfillment of the vision
of the organization man concept as it has evolved at which I’ve participated on various boards, combined with the
masterminding controls of the board managers themselves, supposedly acting in the interest of free speech and sharing openly of each other’s ideas, and all those other inarticulate thoughts that fill out
the vision I can see but can’t express adequately in that venue, that
now brings up that sense of caution in my mind. And what that implies
to me is that if this urge towards limiting expression is a theme running through the collective of
social conscience, then very likely it’s acting the same way on others,
keeping others from trying to work it out in a public venue, discussing
it openly with others. Weird to watch. It feels like unseen societally
controlling forces are at work that are way beyond any individual, because
no matter what I do the results will be the same — defeat in sharing a vision.