O globalnym społeczeństwie
But as the number of their victims increases, the time for apologies and even for indulging in guilt feelings begins to dwindle, and individual executions or burials not only become cumbersome but technically unfeasible. So new practices have to be initiated. Now the victims are led to wells, trenches, or rivers, executed on the spot, and then simply thrown in.
This represents less an increase in viciousness than an adjustment to the requirements of new situations which could not be handled with previous means.
The bystanders, on the other hand, now begin to treat massacres as if they were holidays.
The objective fact of physical power alone is not all that is needed in order to cause its eruption into war. It must be coupled with the belief that the critical volume of strength has been reached, for, without such conviction, even the greatest power is no power while, with it, even inferior strength may provide the impetus of aggression.
Russia would follow the same policy of aggression if she were led by a group of saints.
If the Russian leaders act as they do, it is not because they are bad, nor because they are communists, nor because they are Russians. They act aggressively because they have emerged from World War II with such a formidable degree of social power that they think they cannot be checked by any possible combination confronting them, or that there will be a time in the near future when they can no longer be checked.
Wherever and whenever they had this conviction in the recent past, they attacked, invaded, and made war. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, and the other satellites are all monuments to Russian power.
…the mobile balance, dependent on manifold littleness
The next thing
Man the individual, the active, is replaced in mass states by man the type, the passive.
Modern techniques have given some elasticity to the concept of what can be taken in at a single view, extending the population limit of healthy and manageable societies from hundreds of thousands to perhaps eight or ten million.
But beyond this, our vision becomes blurred and our instruments of social control begin to develop defects
which neither the physical nor the social sciences can surmount. For at that point, we come face to face with the instability which nature has imposed on oversize.
Society runs almost on its own momentum and thus permits the dedication of the principal part of the citizen’s life to the improvement of the individual rather than to the service of the state.
“…the worth of Harvard and Oxford lies largely in the fact that they keep on their shelves the great men of the little states.”
Philosophers, as also poets and artists, were by nature universal geniuses because they always saw the totality of life in its full richness, variety, and harmony without having to rely on secondhand information or to resort to superhuman efforts.
Culture is the product not of peoples but of individuals
But once we broaden our scope to regions beyond the horizon, and extend our affections to vast multitudes such as nations or humanity, everything begins to elude our grasp. What was ours in our ponds has been lost in the oceans, and our previously undisturbed emotions are now forever subject to the disturbances occurring on these vaster scales at every moment.
In our villages, there may be an upsetting murder once in a decade. The rest of the time we live in unruffled peace. In a large community, on the other hand, there is murder, rape and robbery every hour in some distant corner.
But since we are linked with every distant corner, every local incident turns into an issue, a cause, a national calamity clouding our skies not once in a decade but all the time.
This is the Holy Roman Empire of which Lord Bryce has quite properly remarked that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. It was a loose federation uniting in a single framework most German and Italian states, and lasting for the fantastic period of a thousand years…
The fascinating secret of a well-functioning social organism seems thus to lie not in its overall unity but in its structure, maintained in health by the life-preserving mechanism of division operating through myriads of cell-splittings and rejuvenations taking place under the smooth skin of an apparently unchanging body.
The Breakdown of Nations. Leopold Kohr.