The last hundred years in America have shown a lazy ignorance that is present in all failing civilizations. Civilizations either adapt to changing conditions, or die off under stereotypical, ineffective actions that no longer permit survival in the present.
We have no excuse, thanks to Max Weber, who has warned us about turning into “specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart.”
The Sociology Index goes on to describe the Iron Cage Weber warned us of. Weber himself spoke of
a polar night of icy darkness, a highly rational and bureaucratically organized social order, an iron cage” in which people are trapped.
Anyone familiar with the New Medicine would understand Weber as “an optimist.” A respectful quotation from the Sociology Index reads-
In his most famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1930/2000), Weber argued that the ‘inner-worldly’ asceticism of Calvinism had given birth to the notion of a ‘vocational calling’. This methodical orientation toward work, as it spread widely in the American colonies, lost its religious foundations after several generations. Nonetheless, this spirit of capitalism, now simply a ‘practical-ethical’ constellation of values, or ethos, had assisted in giving birth to an industrial and highly organized form of capitalism. In his iron cage model, the domination of bureaucracy calls forth a caste of functionaries and civil servants who monopolize power.
We’ve fallen into the abstract superstition of looking at structures through lenses which portray things as (leftist-Socialist-communist) versus (rightwing-capitalist-conservative). We might as well use the boogaloo names of Lovecraft’s Old Deities, for all the meaning that our superstition conveys to the argument.
Without being able to step outside the ring of assumptions that are unargued and largely unseen in our culture, there is no way “out of the Matrix,” to use the wonderful metaphor of the sci-fi movie of a decade or two ago.
In that movie, the general presumption is that events which occur “inside the Matrix” are unreal, and have no effect on reality. A few logical absurdities have to be followed to make the movie believable – otherwise EVERYTHING that goes on inside the Matrix would be absurd and irrelevant.
I think we should talk about the bad assumptions that are wrecking medicine. They originate in our intellectual laziness about bureaucracy, and our mindless adoption of Taylorism in all aspects of the American workplace. Other bad assumptions come from Modernism – that all things are scalable to larger sizes without loss of essential functionality, and that the Corporate/Retail model of business is somehow unquestionably The Best when it comes to Everything.
When a model becomes an absolute, it becomes an ‘ism,’ and once something is an ‘ism,’ it can be implemented in all sorts of senseless and awful ways, like Communism, Marxism, Nazism, Fascism, and every other blight upon humanity that humanity has inflicted upon itself.
I moved it away from my usual caterwauling about stuff, in hopes that it could develop as a separate line of thought. Have at it!