The Pyramid society emerges from a culture that is founded on a moral attitude of “I will not suffer anything or anyone.” In this society, suffering and joy is distributed in much the same shape as a pyramid, with an elite “top,” a series of levels proceeding downward, and at the bottom, a mass of people we will call “the desert,” who have no power but bear the weight of the structure above. Those at the top truly suffer nothing, all serve them. With each level downward, one must bear the weight of those above, but membership in that level allows one to enjoy themselves at the expense of those below.
The meaning of the name Pyramid
The pyramids of Giza, as we know from our schoolbook history, were great tombs built by Egyptian kings, their great height a measure of the greatness to which they could build monuments to themselves. These structures in turn are placed at the edge of the desert, rising starkly from the ground. While the structures have stood a long time, it is only because the stone was too large to carry away – the inside of the tombs had been raided long ago, and the structures are slowly crumbling away. The pyramids give us nothing but their presence, and therefore, being crumbling the moment no one is driven to maintain them. When one studies the data about the pyramids, we also realize that while impressive for the era, the pyramids were not that tall at approximately 150 meters (480 feet) in height. If they were taken out of the desert, and placed next to a mountain, or placed in a forest where plants could grow on them, the pyramids would not be as great. They would look short in comparison to the mountains, and if covered in trees and plants, it would become another hill in the landscape. In order to appear great, the pyramids need to be in a desert, and nothing else may stand aside it.
The Pyramid’s domination of institutions
The Pyramid is anti-cultural as the structure itself is meant to put on display the “greatness” of the rulers, and any competing institution, and the ability for others to choose such institutions, takes away that greatness. Further, for those in the middle and lower levels of the pyramid, if there is no desert to stamp on because the people left for another institution, then living under the dictates of those above is likewise a draining, pointless experience.
In other words, The pyramid needs the desert.
In this kind of a society, every person and institution must either become a part of the Pyramid, or become a part of the desert that is crushed underneath it. When this kind of society starts to form it may not be obvious as the Pyramid starts to take shape, but as it progresses, every institution begins to be subjected to various purity tests, or given arbitrary orders so that each institution either complies, becoming a part of the Pyramid, or refuses, marking it for destruction. The destruction comes from the lower parts of the Pyramid – the crass, violent individuals who enjoy the ruler’s legal protection as they brutalize the people made into a human desert. The contemporary Pyramid is often accused of decadence, or holding views contrary to Nature. This is in fact a necessity – demanding “2 + 2 = 5” would mean that the institution of mathematics is made to serve the Pyramid, instead of the Pyramid being limited by mathematics. 2 + 2 = 5 allows for a simple means of expunging anyone who refuses service to the Pyramid – by refusing to see reality and knowingly believe a lie, one is in fact admitting that they will not entertain any conflicting interest. So too with matters of family, personal life, academics, and much more. Decadence, especially at the lower levels, is in fact of benefit to the Pyramid. A person focused fully on their own pleasure, unable to suffer anything, will in fact be a miserable person whenever they cannot impose their will on others. Such people are easy to manipulate, and easily ordered to do the violent work of the Pyramid. Having a sufficiently large population of people with this basic character, but also divided so that one group can be turned on the other if too threatening, allows those above them to multiply their own power. This process of institutional domination is not avoidable. The Pyramid is founded on the idea that nothing should stand in the way of the Pyramid or its rulers, not even 2 + 2, if something so obvious stands in the way of its agenda. As the Pyramid reaches full maturity, the remaining institutions it dominates become increasingly surprising, small, even bizarre at it searches for anything outside of its reach. The official truths of the Pyramid likewise become increasingly strange and complex, to ensure that everything is subject to it.
Ideas that build the Pyramid
Once we see that the Pyramid is an engine of institutional destruction and domination, we can see that certain ideas favor the Pyramid, or lead to the genesis of a Pyramid society.
Marx had predicted that historical forces had brought humanity to a penultimate stage of capitalism, after feudalism, and that the “internal contradictions” of capitalism would allow it to give way to socialism, which in turn would give way to communism. If we look at this from an institutional perspective, “feudalism” was a period of many competing institutions. Over a period of centuries, however, wars, inquisitions, and intellectual upheavals had led to the suppression or even elimination of some institutions, and by Marx’s time, what he would have called “capitalism” would have represented a collapse of the Church, the fully traditional family (including family property, the rule that governments could not regulate family matters, and so on), and local institutions. In place of these, just two institutions, private business and the state, would be the only institutions left with meaningful power. Eventually, business would collapse, leaving the state (the “dictatorship of the proletariat”) as the last institution remaining. Finally, the state itself was supposed to fade away, leaving a state of equality. Using our analogy, Marxism could be viewed, institutionally, as a pyramid which erodes into the desert.
There is merit to judging each person as an individual, instead of as an abstraction of a group. However, what we mean here by “individualism” is the idea that every person is an individual whose identity is not tied to any community or institution. Further, that “freedom” means freedom from any community or institution that may limit or make requirements of individuals. This kind of individualism, while often sold as “liberating” the individual, is in fact a means of creating a Pyramid. In this case, it is in fact impossible to have total individualism – if each person is truly different, then in order to relate they must each determine what values must be shared in order to cooperate, and under total individualism there is no framework for finding those shared values. This leaves anyone with any amount of power or influence to guide the construction of those shared values. If we started from a state of total individualism, then we would start with everyone initially having no relation to each other, and this could be described as the “desert.” Once someone with any influence is able to pressure enough people in one direction, we get a pyramid rising out of the desert.
Enforced Traditionalism is a particular hope held by some that through politics, the other Pyramids may be held at bay, or even beaten back. However, since the traditionalism is being imposed through politics, it is not like the spontaneously generated traditionalism that is supposedly being defended, but instead a conception of what tradition “ought to be,” based on some reference time and place. This image, then, becomes the cap of another Pyramid. Instead of fighting the Pyramid, enforced traditionalism becomes a pyramid overtaking another pyramid. This is a common mistake among many reformers, and the origin of “reformers becoming the thing they were trying to fight.” Once the chosen solution is to impose a particular set of institutions, the imposition itself becomes the solution, hence the creation of a new Pyramid in place of the old.
It is worth noting here that the earlier definition of capitalism, namely a few remaining institutions, is separate from the idea that people are free to keep what they earn through voluntary exchange. This freedom to exchange allows for one to take the same resources, and begin building their own institutions. In the context of the growing Pyramid, another term could be used, corporate socialism. Whereas socialism comes with the idea of the state dominating all institutions, corporate socialism has a hybrid nature, in which select businesses, select media organizations, select universities, and a central state form the four faces of the Pyramid. This allows each “face” of such a Pyramid to cast blame towards each other, but in reality the different faces support each other, and a career near the top of the Pyramid may see someone working in every face.
The Pyramid’s destruction
The Pyramid’s destruction derives from the same nature that creates it. As we discussed earlier, the Pyramid needs the desert, and therefore the very resources and institutions needed to sustain it are destroyed. For a bully at the bottom of the Pyramid, one may derive joy from beating someone until they say 2 + 2 = 5, but the engineer trying to maintain a consistent supply of water, or a doctor trying to administer medicine cannot perform their duties using 2 + 2 = 5. While a pyramid shape is a very stable structure, in our analogy, the Pyramid in fact becomes increasingly unstable as its power grows. If reality, that is, God and Nature, are in opposition to the Pyramid, then no amount of manipulation can rewrite reality. Even if reality itself could be manipulated, that is, the person at the peak of the Pyramid could become a god, then it is still clear that the ultimate value in such a system is to supplant and take the place of the one holding ultimate authority. For this reason, instability will continue to exist as permanent revolutions are waged to continue taking the power. As long as multiple wills exist, that is, as long as people live, the Pyramid faces instability. But lets say we could in fact reach the ideal of a pyramid fading into a desert. It would still be the case that, as long as more than one will exists, that will would have to learn to live in relationship with the other wills. Since the eroded Pyramid has no further capacity to control others, this means free decisions and the formation of new institutions will begin again, the moment the fading Pyramid loses control.
The right side of history
Knowing this, we can see that the claim of a “right side of history” is questionable. The ones at the present time who are claiming so, and who are claiming to be bringing it about, are attempting to build a Pyramid, which has its destruction encoded into its character. Knowing this, we should not be afraid of an ultimate victory of the Pyramid – it is a predator seeking to devour until nothing is left, and then starve. However, we also should not wait for it to consume everything, knowing its ultimate defeat, we could perhaps stop its growth, let it collapse, and avoid the too-common story in history of an institution becoming too powerful and too centralized, to the point of civilization’s destruction, along with its own self-destruction.