For decades, I have puzzled over mankind's desire for certainty and control and its worship of science and rationality as the path to their realization. Eventually it led to a fascinating question.
What would it be like if one had perfect infinite, absolute control and what would be required to achieve it?
To begin with, it would require omniscience about past, present, and future. Knowledge of every entity that has ever been or ever could be, along with knowledge of when, where, and how they acted or would act, and every nuance of the results of their actions. One could never control that which could not be known until after it happened. Mystery and surprise would be intolerable and would have to be eliminated.
Such perfect knowledge of entities and events would not be enough. It would be necessary to know the thoughts, emotions, and desires of every human being and other living entity; all their hopes, fears, joys, and urges. Not just other people, but everything that oneself might ever think, know, imagine or experience. Even beyond that, it would be necessary to be rid of all emotions and feelings for such things that can catch us unaware and affect our behavior. Compassion must go, love must go, admiration, envy, desire, hate, nostalgia, and hope, along with every aesthetic sensibility. Perfect control would also require that one be the sole possessor of such infinite knowledge and personal composure.
But all this reveals little, for it leaves unanswered the important part of the question. What would it be like to be the sole possessor of total, infinite absolute control? At first it seems as though it would be akin to being a god, at least as gods are normally conceived to be. But what would one's life be like under such circumstances. Suddenly it hit like a bolt of lightning! It would be death. Absolute, perfect control is in the coffin.
Life is uncertainty, surprise, hate, wonder, speculation, love, joy, pain, mystery, beauty, and a thousand other things, some we can't even imagine. Control requires denial of life. Life is not about certainty or controlling. It's not about getting. It's not about having. It's not about knowing. It's not even about being. Life is eternal perpetual becoming or it is nothing. Becoming is not a thing to be known, commanded, or controlled. It is a magnificent, mysterious, odyssey to be experienced. At bottom, desire to command and control is a deadly destructive compulsion to rob oneself and others of the joys of living.
Is it any wonder that a society whose world view and internal model of reality is that the universe and all therein should be mechanistic, hierarchical and controllable, should turn destructive? Is it any wonder that a society that worships the primacy of measurement, prediction, command, and control should result in massive destruction of the environment, gross mal-distribution of wealth and power, enormous destruction of species, the Holocaust, the hydrogen bomb, genocide, and countless other horrors? How could it be otherwise when we have conditioned ourselves for centuries to seek ever more powerful notions of domination, engineered solutions, mechanistic societal organizations, compelled behavior, and separable self interest?
Tyranny is tyranny no matter how well intended, cleverly rationalized, or unconsciously perpetrated. It is that to which we have persuaded ourselves for centuries, day after day, month after month, year after year, generation after generation, in thousands of subtle ways. It need not have been so in the past. It need not be so now. It cannot be so in any livable future. A livable future requires a new, very different, chaordic model of reality firmly entrenched in the mind and heart of every person on the planet. It is there that the essential change must take place as a necessary precursor for the emergence of more beneficent, effective societal institutions and leadership. One can only move firmly in that direction and hope.