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Jordan also has a podcast, The Peaceful Way, in which you can learn the concepts, ideas, and strategies behind making a more peaceful and nonviolent world.

The uncomfortable truth about authoritarian regimes is that they come into power primarily through the expressed permission, or general apathy, of the population which they rule. It is always after the fact, after the ethnocides, secret police, show trials, and rigged elections that the public realizes the monster it has participated in creating. The pretence under which the citizens accept the dictator is primarily an irrational fear of some sort of perceived existential threat, coupled with scapegoating of a smaller segment of the population, or even a single individual. In Pol Pot’s Cambodia for example, influenced by a monolithic Buddhist culture, peasants often had a very blase attitude towards human death and suffering, attributing torture, starvation, and displacement to bad Karma from a previous life, making it taboo to even intervene. In the early years of the cultural revolution, Mao Zhedong was able to galvanize poor farmers to publicly torture, execute, and even cannibalize slightly less-poor farmers for the sin of being wealthier than themselves, under the auspices of being “capitalists” and “robbing them of their wealth”. Power lusting tyrants love nothing more than to feast on people’s fears, while portraying themselves as messianic figures ordained for “such a time as this”. The tyrant himself, however, can hardly be held entirely responsible, without the explicit support of the masses, police departments, military, academia, and even mass media. Without these, a dictator is simply a boat without a rudder. …


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Once familiar with Joseph Campbells “Monomyth,” and how to analyze narratives by it, it can be identified in the oldest recorded stories. The Epic of Gilgamesh, written around 1800 BCE, chronicles the adventures of the part-God, part-man, Gilgamesh King of Uruk, and his companion of supernatural origin, Enkidu. The parallels between the Epic and the monomyth lend some credence to Campbell’s thesis of the presence of a single myth across all cultures.

The story begins with Gilgamesh as the womanizing ruler of the city Uruk, taking the soon-to-be wives of the men of the city and sleeping with them. To end his oppression, the Sumerian deities create a powerful and wild man, Enkidu, to challenge Gilgamesh. Though Enkidu fails to best Gilgamesh in battle, the King is so impressed by his foe that he befriends him and the pair develop an inseparable bond with one another. Enkidu is therefore the first occurrence of the Ally archetype in literature. A similar companion motif is repeated in many famous “monomythic” fictions such as Frodo and Sam, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, Batman and Robin, Han and Chewie and so on. …

About

Jordan Taylor Swaim

Just a family man sharing his ideas on the internet.

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