1. Introduction

This section provides a concise introduction to the website. A more complete, but very concise overview of the core concepts of Geopolitics and Cognition is available as subsection of this introductory section.

To Be or not to be
To Be or not to be

To be or not to be in control of your life

Self-empowered individuals control their own destiny and make the most of their lives and environments. In contrast disempowered individuals allow their destiny to be shaped by others. This entails not only that they are ineffective in shaping their lives and environments, they are also likely to be exploited and to suffer from mental problems as indicative of their inadequacy. Their general inadequacy also a constant source of problems for others.

There are two ways of empowering yourself

Absolute empowerment

This entails that you actively empower yourself through self-development and constructive and creative efforts of some sort. The result is that you become more competent in all aspects of life. Some forms of education and coaching catalyze empowering, but it is essentially something you do yourself.

Relative empowerment

This entails that you empower yourself by disempowering others. This typically involves stultifying the development of others or by actively destroying the fruits of creativity and other efforts. The others become less competent to shape their own life and as such you end up as relatively more empowered. Forced schooling, the military, most of government and big-business, charities and think-tanks, organize religions, PR-agencies, mainstream media, and many other well-known institutes are efficient instruments of disempowerment.

Bewildered
Bewildered

If your consider this list of instruments of disempowerment shocking or otherwise problematic, realize that they all involve hierarchy and therefore stable power relations that can only exist if a need for them is maintained. If you still find this problematic you might skip to the section addressing the question Are you pathologically normal?

All power relations — including global power relations — are defined by a balance between self-empowerment and disempowerment. Of course pervasive (dis)empowerment has (geo)political consequences. More or less pervasive disempowerment leads to hierarchical societies in which some elite, which is not necessarily highly self-empowered and capable to manage their own lives, controls even less empowered masses. The more layers in the hierarchy, the more levels of (dis-)empowerment. Stable societal hierarchies are indicative of pervasive disempowerment.

How many layers of hierarchy exists between you and the people who control geopolitical developments?

Per definition, hierarchical societies have a most empowered class at the top, the least empowered classes at the bottom, and intermediately empowered classes in the middle. Since [aristocracy] is defined as “the highest class in certain societies, typically comprising people of noble birth (whatever this ”noble birth“ is supposed to mean) holding hereditary titles and offices” it makes sense to refer to the top of the social hierarchy as the aristocracy. When this top is able to shape the society without being controlled and curtailed by the rest of society we have aristocracy as state form (‘aristocracy’ is Greek for ‘rule by the best’).

When the aristocracy only appears “noble” but is actually highly corrupt, one might speak of a [corruptocracy]: rule by the corrupt. Corruptocracy leads to the most pervasive exploitation of society and the most pervasive disempowerment of its lower classes. The most unequal societies are characterized by this phenomenon, but it is not exclusive to highly unequal societies.

Pervasive disempowerment is apparent in the form of [hierarchical societies] in which a majority of disempowered members show a [pathological dependence] on the very structures that suppress their self-development, curtail and direct their thoughts and behavior, and create and maintain their problems. It will be argued that these societies are characterized by centralized or group authority, suppression of diversity, and dependent (i.e., authority supporting) thought, which are all characteristic of modern [globalization]. In contrast pervasive self-empowerment leads to egalitarian and sustainable societies characterized by individual authority, expression of diversity, and independent thought, which can be referred to as (cognitive) [localization]. In table-form these basic concepts look like this.

Basic concepts
Pervasive disempowerment
Globalization
Self-empowerment
Localization
The individual needs authority
Hierarchical organization
The individual is authority
Egalitarian organization
Complexity reduction through suppression of diversity
Dependent thought
Pervasive optimization and expressions of diversity
Independent thought

Note that the four lower cells combine an authority type with a type of society and a mind-set that supports it. This table summarizes the reason why the domain name involves both cognition and geopolitics: the individual affects the global and vice versa. This table is a very short summary of the section [Cognition for geopolitics].

The structure of the lower four cells is the consequence of very deep psychology associated with two attitudes towards a complex world that will be outlined in the sections on [cognition for geopolitics]. The structure corresponds to the concepts of [authoritarianism and libertarianism] in political psychology. It seems that his deep psychology, which we only recently approached scientifically, has been known (implicitly or explicitly) and used throughout (written) history by the aristocracy to keep themselves in power by disempowering the rest of society.

The dynamics of that process is by and large determined by the manipulation of our sense of morality (what people think is good or bad behavior). People in a very large majority tend to choose behavior that they think is moral, and they oppose any individual or group that is considered to act amorally. Authoritarians — and especially fearful authoritarians — have almost opposite moral values as libertarians. This is depicted in the next table. And derived in a proper context in Three sets of morals.

The moral opposites
Authoritarian Fearful authoritarian Libertarian
Good Norm compliant behavior. Support of authorities in all their efforts. Subtle self-imposed limits on exploration and self-expression. Actively curtailing individual autonomy; Suppression of diversity; Norm compliant behavior irrespective of adverse consequences Increasing individual autonomy and diversity; Independence of thought, opinions, and activities. Freedom of self-initiated activities. Freedom from oppressive authority
Bad Norm violating behavior. Challenging, questioning, or ignoring authorities. Increasing individual autonomy and diversity; Independence of thought, opinions, and activities. Freedom of self-initiated activities; Actively curtailing individual autonomy. Unsupported authorities. Actively curtailing individual autonomy; Suppression of diversity; Norm compliant behavior with adverse consequences

This table reflects two stable moral states (or [attractors]). One dominated by the libertarian mode of being and one dominated by the fearful authoritarian mode of being; one free and democratic and one oppressive and centralized. The upper echelons of the aristocracy have probably known about this dynamic[1] and used it to keep societies in either the oppressive mode or in a free and democratic mode near the tipping point (a true democracy — rule by the people — has no role for aristocracy). The transition from one domain into another is known as [regime change]. And it we look at the history of the 20th-century is it clear that most countries experienced this change one or more per century. In fact every one might expect such a change within a life-time.

However, while this allowed aristocracy to remain at the top of a long succession of societies and state forms, the aristocracy’s efforts to prevent the commoners from self-empowerment looks more like a prolonged retreat than a perpetual victory over the commoners: more and more people empower themselves and this is changing our societies profoundly. In fact it might well lead to a gradual (probably bumpy) change in geopolitical structures and more and more effective explorations of high quality freedom and true democracy. In fact we might venture into realms of human empowerment and self-development that exceed anything in human history.

If we dare to face societal and political corruption and educate ourselves out of dependence on (corrupt) authority, humanity has a bright future with literally endless possibilities. Nevertheless the gloom and doom scenario is also realistic since its has many witting and many more unwitting proponents. But it will be averted if we empower ourselves enough to effectively control and curtail centralized authorities, or, even better, to abolish the need for external authority altogether.

This ideal may seem as ideal for true libertarians it is positively alarming for true authoritarians who cannot envision a life with authorities: that makes then authoritarians. And it motivates them in stronger than libertarians. This is referred to as the authoritarian dynamic which is an important force that shapes geopolitics.


  1. Gaining power and remaining in power must require considerable skill since the position of top-dog has many advantages and therefore competition prone. Dis-empowerment skills of all would-be competitors might well be the defining core-competence of the aristocracy throughout the ages.  ↩

Section overview

    1. Self-empowerment and disempowerment
    2. Core concepts of Geopolitics and Cognition