Is it a general human tendency to side with the underdogs?
I assume in general that is the case, unless something more important comes up. Patriotic feeling, blood-ties etc. and of course specific hatred towards a ‘subject‘ will naturally override all other better intentions, with only exceptions, rarest of rare, to prove the rule. The manifestations of this behaviour are more prominent when there is a fight between almost equals, and extremely vociferous when the supported are underdogs. When the balance is too unbalanced, in the favourite’s favour, these factors, though would never cause a migration across to other court, but still would at least stifle the support.
The clearest example of it I find in sport arena, where one could come across all the three situations. Say in Australian Open, Djokovic vs Tomic (though I don’t recall this happening), Wimbledon Federer Vs Murray or US Open – Serena Vs Bertens. I am not bringing in the Serena Vs Roberta Vinci Semifinal, which Serena lost against all odds to an unseeded player. This situation would have of course unplugged the throttled voices, since the over-dog had become under-dog for the time being.
This is not limited to sports and is found in many, if not any, field, naturally even in wars. Think of ‘Desert Storm’ where the most unbalanced war took place against someone who was finally proved to be more maligned, than malignant, or even Vietnam, where too the ‘defenders of human value and humanity’ were finally proved (though the voice is still throttled enough to accept the fact) to be more anti of the same values that they were supposed to be defending. In these highly unbalanced cases, till the opposition partially fought back (Viet) the crowd hysteria rapidly waned and questions being asked, though not in support of ‘Enemy’, but on the need to unleash ‘Aces’ and winning 6-0, 6-0, 6-0, against the weak opponent.
In such a case, in favouring the weak and helpless for once I don’t feel like an iconoclast (which normally I am though). What can be more unequal fight than one that is fought against the system.
Naturally a system, as we know, runs by a fixed set of rules and procedures (and laws, guidelines etc. if I want to expand the list). The main offshoot of it is that the systems considers ‘Objectively’ the situation and takes a ‘Corrective’ action. It is least bothered about the ‘Subjects’ and unless the actions of the ‘Subjects’ are somehow proved (by the defenders) that they actually fell under the acceptable system framework, the ‘Subjects’ are doomed. In fact in a system, Subjects and Individuals don’t exist, it is only the ‘Acts’ and ‘Outcomes’.
I won’t say it is too wrong though. If we talk of ‘Societal’ system, unless the outcome ‘Robbery’ or ‘Murder’ is punished (corrective action) the system will fail and chaos will reign. The second law of Thermodynamics ‘total entropy (for non physicals, it is the measure of Chaos) of an isolated system always increases over time, or remains constant in ideal cases…” is true for many fields, not only Physical Sciences. That’s why, whenever the system gets even a hint of deviation, a force of sufficient (in fact usually quite a bit more than sufficient) magnitude is applied to bring it back to shape. This would keep the deviant ‘atoms’ within the system or trap it in a relatively more rigid molecule, i.e. Jail, which also is the part of the same system. In addition, and more importantly, it will also deter and push back in the system a few other atoms that had been straying too near the border to be comfortable.
This is obviously necessary, otherwise the society too will follow the Second Law and chaos will run supreme, and it would be all a Jungle Raj then. Though frankly whether a Jungle Raj is that bad, I am not sure. After all, most of the evolution has taken place through the Jungle Raj, where the survival of fittest is the Key and the mutations through generations, some successful, some not, are through which everything has evolved. The successful ones have passed on their success genetic codes to the future generations, whereas the failed experiment had been eaten by the successful, of the same specie or another, higher on food chain.
But while defending Jungle Raj, I must remember one fundamental difference between a Jungle Raj and Jungli Raj – it would be natural selection in first case and selection by ‘Nature’ in second case. In Jungli Raj (Rule by the wild), it won’t be the ‘Fittest’ in true sense who would survive, but the one who should have been declared unfit, as per the laws of natural selection, will. The situation would be like Purge (2013 movie). But in that movie, only a small window was allowed for doing whatever you want to, here it would be all the times.
Unlike the wild things, the civilised human in most of the times don’t kill others (including humans) for physical need, but only to satisfy their deviant psychological need. The lions will kill only those cubs of the vanquished pride, who were of a age that made their mothers deny the new Kings the opportunity of propagating their genes. We however want to have much more than the opportunity to just propagate our genes. It is more important for us is to have a complete subjugation or rather denigration, and even more, of everyone around us. If it was only the propagation, Timur or Genghis among many others, won’t have cleansed the occupations of one gender, since by then they had already ensured the propagation of their genes en mass through the other gender.
Some can control this tendency, and in fact trained to the extent that they probably won’t be able to come out of the System, unless a big provocation arises (like Col. Douglas Mortimer, in A Few Dollars More). These people, would naturally be the losers in case the system collapses. The time when the Deviants would rule and in fact the society itself would turn deviant.
The mentality of Genghis or Timur, the mechanism of control to a level that the targets don’t rise up, elimination through murder and subjugation and denigration of those who had been allowed to survive, through torture, is inbuilt in human psychology. The target is physical, but only to an extent, more focus is on psychological destruction of the other, the physical part is only an aid to it.
It is interesting to think of this behavior pattern. Probably it is only human who practice it. Any other creature would fight it out with the adversary for territorial rights (which includes chance to mate). But that would just limit to it. Once the adversary is vanquished, unless it is fight to death, he would be left alone, most probably lonely, being outcast from his earlier family. But that is the end. There won’t be any act from the winner’s part to rub it in. Then why do human do this most uncivilised act, which non of the “uncivilised” society (animals) indulge in?
Rapes and sex-slavery unleashed during occupation isn’t limited to a sect or a group. It isn’t only Nazis who did it. It is universal and even the most righteous do it, as a part of psychological warfare against the ‘enemy’ to break their backbone. The propagation of species isn’t the only reason anymore, in fact it is probably not the reason anymore. It is the sadistic self-elevation by the act, which now probably the ruling cause. Why the perpetrators would not only keep the proof, but also advertise it, when nothing more than bragging value is to be gained? It is not only to have an absolute control over the subjects, but also a declaration to others of their strength and capability, “Be aware and be warned, don’t mess with me“.
Probably this has something to do with the ‘Excess” of brain and also an all pervasive inferiority complex and its attendant insecurity. I don’t suppose anyone, deep inside, ever certifies himself to be better than all others, or even better than all of his immediate circle. We know that the superiority complex or Egoism is in fact a deviant manifestation of its opposite, the inferiority complex.
“I know that I have my lacunae, which someone else doesn’t have (at least that’s what I think, though I am definitely not going to admit it. That person too, like me, may have some other stand on this aspect, he might even be mentally putting the same crown on me, which I was on him). So, I will let the world listen to my declaration, that in fact I am far superior to all, especially him.”
This inferiority complex, added with the intelligence is the root of all evils. We know that the animals, if they could think the future, would behave similarly. Fortunately, they are not farsighted, except ocular of course. Had they been, the new king of the pride would be aware that sooner or later he is going to be vanquished and thrown out, probably even by one of his offspring. In that case, he would take necessary care that his offspring become, and remain a mental wreck, unable to challenge him. If he does it to his family, obviously, he would do it with neighbours too, at least while he could. And the devise used need not always be physical prowess, it would be most of the time the devious cunning, and hitting below the belt whenever opportunity arises, to make the prime challenger a subject of general ridicule. They are definitely not going for a head-butt like Big-horns. The concept of “All is fair in love and war” is limited to human species only.
The capable are brain or brawn, both are important in evolution (and the combination, rare, what Hitler reportedly tried in his labs, is the ideal) but when both are absent or in short supply, the human turn to cunning, and in case of system failure, those would be the winners.
But the system is abstract concept. Unless we reach the level of the SF – say Matrix, the system would never be completely objective. Even Asimov’s End Of Eternity are human controlled – Technicians, Sociologists and Computers (they too are human), so are the Robots series. He didn’t give the ultimate power to the machines, and kept in his (human’s) hand through the laws of Robotics. Even in his epic foundation series, where the heroine Bliss probably was a perfect Humanoid (she doesn’t accept, but doesn’t deny either), she had manipulated but not taken the control of the story. In fact she had left all decision making in the hand of the “Forbidden by Executive order to be manipulated” Trevize.
Then what is the system? Obviously the system is the persons who maintain it. It has several parts in hierarchy, like in the End of Eternity.
We have the Cubs, who collect the data, and provide the necessary information up the ladder. Giving the information about things that were not going up to the plan. A similar thing was in the foundation series in terms of the second foundation, the mind manipulators. There were the Students, who would be moving around and checking up whether the things followed Seldon’s graph and converged along it or not. But they are not allowed to do anything more than that. If they did, they were in for a trouble. These are our cops. Once they have become senior (The Technicians or the Research Scholars, Officers) they now have the power to correct the things. But still they are not the systems, they are only the second ladder of it.
The top of the ladder who decides and hence are representing system, are the all powerful, Librarians or Computers. They sit around and take a call on, not only what is done by technicians but also whether it was right and sufficient.
They are the persons, who objectively formulate the boundaries of the system (the governing laws that are to be followed by each and every atom in a system define and are per se the definition of system boundary). In addition, as the formulator of the law, they are the supreme arbitrators, in case any ambiguity in interpretation takes place. In a way, we can say that these Law makers and the Interpreters are the system, since these are the people who are unquestionable, there is no one above them to ask.
Probably it is casting aspersions on the politicians and judiciary, may be it is, but in a broad sense, it isn’t limited to them. The system could be a smaller one than a country, or bigger than a galaxy. Still there would be laws, and these laws would be interpreted, by humans, or by physics (or chemistry or biology, unless I bring in the Absolute Powerful One in the picture) and that interpretation would be absolute, and unquestionable.
The main point of emphasis is that in interpreting events, with the framework of a system, we are looking at ‘Crowds’, the horde of atoms, molecules and people. We don’t look at individuals and take a individual situational decision. When we study and look at psychology, or medicine or any other science, we are again studying group behavior, only it is aimed at individual.
We know that under such and such stimulus, a person is expected to behave in such a way. So we study our ‘individual’ subject under that stimulus and measure the response. Or if it is already fait acompli (e.g. murder is done), we look at the stimulus present before the event, and try to fit in the model to find the motive and the murderer’s profile. Whether he was insane? Was he insane enough? Was it a cold blooded premeditated? Was it due to instigation and at the spur of the moment?…
If it follows the set rules, at least up to a major extent and as interpreted by us, we jump into bathtub and rise from it like Archimedes. If it doesn’t we look at some other type of stimulus which would bring an expected response.
Obviously that is how it should be done. These theories are based on volume of research and observations by trained scientific persons over ages and then interpreted and theorised (or may be previous theory modified) by them.
But the problem is exactly that. It is based on volume of data which means that it is interpreting the general, and not specific, behaviour under stimulus. Then to compound the issue, it is done by trained persons. Even the best, being human, will have his or her own prejudices and biases. Obviously that would colour the “Law” that is framed. If the colour is light enough, probably it won’t be noticed by the others or may be all of them have the same tinted glass in their eyes (much more common than one would like to believe). Most important lacunae is in generalisation. It has two effects, the first is that even normal individuals , on whom the study wasn’t done at the time of the experiment, couldn’t be expected to follow the pattern the ‘controlled’ groups did. When the light strikes a photocell, we know the electrons jump out and join the conduction band. How many we can say, but not which one. The one who didn’t can’t tell why they didn’t, even if they could speak and I asked them. There is something worse. As statisticians, we know there are outliers, who are in the system, they are absolutely ‘Normal’ but they are just a bit different from others to the extent that they could behave differently.
These are the problem spots, and being rather rare, (after all they may be one per million), the normal individuals would suffer just due to the reason of having been clubbed. And there is something even worse, whether identified or not, they actually are rare, and hence extremes, which could be on either side of the tail. The system won’t see which side they are. The geniuses could be of many types, from Einstein to Moriarty, Hannibal Lecter or Joker, from Professor X to Magneto. Some had been handled well so they went up to the upper tail of the curve, some were not, so they used their genius in lower tail. But all of them had been a part of but not a part of normal human being, and the generalized medicines won’t work on them.
The worst sufferers are those who fall in the group of “Beyond tail” but haven’t been identified to be so, or may be had been, but too late. By then the unforgiving soulless system has either successfully destroyed them, or had put them very near it, on a irreversible path.
They are rare, not as rare as I can relax on my chair and say “Well, some times it happens”. Some of the names, like Ritwik Ghatak, Poet Sukanto etc are now known, but there could and definitely would, have been many such, whose scribbling were lost.