Vol. 6, Iss: 1, p. 30-31


by Maria Humphries & Michelle St. Jane

[. . . ]

The fields of conquest – made rosy through habituation of forgetting:

[ ... ] most of the major states of history owe their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country [... ] [once] in control of education, [they] made the class divisions in society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were, thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior (Einstein, 1949).

Western civilization is indoctrinated with over 5,000 years of conditioning to "fight and
conquer" or "flee and hide" responses. All that conditioning is habitual, unconscious, and largely unexamined. These are inadequate responses for the perils of the future. Personal or collective complicity in a system of death and destruction is difficult to face by those who see themselves as "just" people, people who would not want to consider themselves engaged in what Arendt (1994) so vividly phrases as "the banality of evil". Yet, from over 30 years of research in the sociology of knowledge, we argue that complicity with the interests of The Master has been won by the habituation of economic discourse as the predominant and informing logic conditioning all moral responses to distress - even to the point of death and destruction. These habits of thought have been so normalised, they appear "natural". In what Humphries and Dyer (2005, 2001) view as a magnificent hegemonic achievement, a crisis in the Master's House ("the economy") justifies visible sacrifice – one that kills, maims, and destroys creatures and Earth rather than seeks to meet the aspirations of human flourishing aspired to in democratic rhetoric:

No where have we really overcome what Thorstein Veblen called "the predatory phase" of human development. The observable economic facts belong to that phase and even such laws as we can derive from them are not applicable to other phases (Einstein, 1949).

Jaques Fresco, futurist and engineer, takes a similar view. Business and monetary economies generally he argues are predatory – devised to serve business and the monetary economies – not humanity[1]. Fresco:

[ ... ] founder and director of the Venus Project (, and his associate Roxanne Meadows have scientifically proved that world's resources are more than enough for everybody and that the elites in power are not using them properly, but instead causing poverty, injustice and one crisis after the other. Fresco's and Meadows' unapologetic call for revolution is being welcomed worldwide, increasingly after the economic downturn that has hit all countries and made the middle class the new poor[2].

Fresco believes that the human species is capable of better. But beyond Fresco, where can we link the discourses of systemic critique with discourses of hope for a healthier, more just future for all people and planet? As teachers and practitioners of organisation and business, we may have a more influential voice than many others. How might we use it? We can begin with a critical reflection of who we are and how we go about being human. We can begin with exposing the Myths of the Master and rewriting the future.   [. . . ]

[2] www -call-jaque-fresco-a -dreamer /58586