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What's your opinion?
I didn't understand anything 15%  15%  [ 4 ]
It happens but it's rare 19%  19%  [ 5 ]
I prefer to think it's not true 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
What you describe doesn't exist 11%  11%  [ 3 ]
Duh! 15%  15%  [ 4 ]
Other _________________________________________________________ 41%  41%  [ 11 ]
Total votes : 27

Greentea
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20 Jan 2010, 1:27 pm

Except for very rare exceptions, people are very dependent on other people. Almost everyone chooses to belong to a pyramid for protection against sudden misfortune in exchange for their soul. ---> this is the thesis I'm asking you to disprove.

Most people can do very little in life in terms of independent pursuit of what they really want, like or believe in. Living like this is a choice. And almost every person chooses this way of life. It's a sacrifice people make in order to cope with the extremely scary nature of life and the world. They don't ever get to genuinely enjoy life because they're not allowed to by the group they belong to, but in exchange for sacrificing their lives they live with the reassurance that they won't get to know naked, full-brunt tragedy/disgrace either.

I call this kind of group a pyramid because it is an organized group of people where you must behave in certain ways in order to be accepted. It's usually a family - either your family of origin or the family you form, or another's family that adopts you, or a group that organizes itself like a family. The structure is one leader at the top, whom everyone must worship and back up whatever this person does, and whose values, habits and preferences must be accepted as their own by each member. Then you have the secondary leaders, those who most influence the top leader. Then there are more and more leaders at each level, then the wide base of non-leading members.

The top of the pyramid is always an evil person. This is because what the pyramid offers is protection against evil - and therefore, the top leader must be one of the evil ones in order to be able to establish strong bonds with powerful evil people and so protect his pyramid (in exchange for total, absolute, unquestioned control of all the members).

I've recently discovered that when you talk to someone, they're actually first and foremost concerned with not losing their membership to their pyramids, and usually have no other considerations in mind. They'll say whatever, as long as it's allowed by the pyramid and doesn't go against its interests or threaten its strength/existence, or harm their relationship with someone higher up in the pyramid. They'll do anything, if the pyramid requires it. They'll uphold beliefs and values, whichever as long as those are the beliefs and values of the top leader.

You don't ask a 9-year old child if he wants to go for a movie and a burger with you. You first ask their parents. In the same way, people (almost all) are not independent and before you ask them something you have to ask their pyramids if it's ok. Therefore, it's a waste of time (and a risk to the relationship) to relate to someone directly. You have to relate to their pyramids, first and foremost, and often even exclusively.

People tend to call others living like this "cults" or "closed groups" or "clans" or "mafias". But actually those are just pyramids that are easier to identify and less hidden than any other pyramid - not more strict than any other pyramid.

A pyramid is little else than a web of nasty, fake, selfish, political relations. That's how people relate to each other when they stick together just out of fear of the "out there". They resent each other, they're passive-aggressively hostile to each other, they compete and envy and fight dirty for the favors of those higher up in the pyramid.

Eg: Lucy genuinely appreciates Tom, but Tom feels like a threat to the pyramid's strength if you ask Sam. So Lucy, not wanting to annoy Sam (since Sam is very influential to Kim, who in turn has a strong influence on Joan, the top leader's wife), claims to dislike Tom when asked about it. Then, out of fear of becoming suspicious to the pyramid, she goes on to do something really nasty to Tom to prove her continuing allegiance.

It doesn't matter what someone genuinely thinks of you. What will determine your relationship with them is the intricate politics they have within their own pyramid and how they think you fit in or not with those politics.

The worst thing you can do to a human is make them risk their membership to their pyramid. They'll react like an animal feeling threatened and will destroy you for their own survival. They may have feelings for you but they'll never act on those feelings - they'll do whatever it takes to ensure their place in their pyramid, at any cost.

Eg: I asked someone once if she'd like to go to the Galilee for the day on Friday, since we were both saying how much we loved traveling to the Galilee in the weekends. I was sure her answer would be positive. However, I was shocked when she extended her palm in front of me and moved backwards abruptly. As if distancing from the devil. She explained that Fridays she must cook for the whole extended family, they all come to hers for Friday dinner each week. I realized that, should she ever go away on a Friday, she'd piss off someone who enjoyed dinners at her house, that person would influence someone even more influential against her, and she might lose the protection of the group. She'd much rather NEVER see the Galilee again than risk the lack of protection of her group. It's a sacrifice she's willing to make in order to live with the reassurance that sudden misfortune will not have to be dealt with alone, that she'll have the protection of her pyramid when that happens.

I think most NTs don't only feel more secure in a pyramid - they also enjoy the odd day when belonging to a strong pyramid gives them a feeling of power. Autistics, however, can't form part of a group. Pyramids are a lifestyle, a choice. Yet the Autistic has no choice - he can't belong. And on top of that, the Autistic doesn't enjoy ego power trips. If I had to give up on exploration, creativity, research, adventure, self-advancement from day one in order to be protected for life, I'd live a very sad, hopeless, boring life. Most NTs are sad and bored too, because of their dependence on their pyramids. But they won't change their lifestyles - with all its badness, the pyramid is the only possible protection against tragedy.


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Last edited by Greentea on 21 Jan 2010, 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

ursaminor
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20 Jan 2010, 1:35 pm

I can sort of see this thing where people are dependent on someone, but not socially, such as in a company or a family. I still go against my mother when she gives me no good reason to do something, sometimes resorting to the reason× "Because".












×This is not actually a reason, because nothing follows. Sometimes "Because I said so" is used, which is a reason, but by all standards (if there are any) a bad one.



leejosepho
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20 Jan 2010, 1:56 pm

Greentea wrote:
Except for very rare exceptions, people are very dependent on other people. Almost everyone belongs to one group or another that gives them protection against sudden misfortune in exchange for their soul.


I question the "in exchange for their soul" part of that, yet I do understand what you are saying:

The protection of human community has a price.

There can be levels of responsibility shared among people aligned horizontally.


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20 Jan 2010, 1:57 pm

Greentea wrote:
The top of the pyramid is always an evil person. This is because what the pyramid offers is protection against evil - and therefore, the top leader must be one of the evil ones in order to be able to establish strong bonds with powerful evil people and so protect his pyramid (in exchange for total, absolute, unquestioned control of all the members).


I think it would be a tad bit cynical to say that the top of the power pyramid is always an "evil" person. "Good" and "evil" are relative terms, and two sides of the same coin.

While there are hierarchical structures in nature, there are also extensive check-and-balance systems. Those in power are not "evil" due to their intrinsic function of "protecting against evil", what actually happens is that the appropriate check-and-balance system, if it existed at all, has gotten out of whack. What you call "evil" really ought to be interpreted as "unbalanced"; after all, "good" is the same as "evil" in different circumstances.

There is always going to be group politics and power struggles. That's going to be inevitable, because people are not 100% selfless all the time, nor should they be. And people's motivations oftentimes conflict. This is not unique to the human race. You might think that perhaps this whole system is vulgar, but it is what it is.

Now with all this in mind, the part where you say

Greentea wrote:
I think most NTs don't only feel more secure in a pyramid - they also enjoy the odd day when belonging to a strong pyramid gives them a feeling of power. Autistics, however, can't form part of a group. Pyramids are a lifestyle, a choice. Yet the Autistic has no choice - he can't belong.

should take on a different meaning. People on the spectrum perhaps do not "belong" in an NT-oriented pyramid. Instead, people on the spectrum serve as the counterweight to check and balance out NTs, just as NTs check and balance AS folks. This is why it is wholly counterproductive for AS folks to wish NTs didn't exist, as NTs are needed as much as AS folks are.

At the very end you say

Greentea wrote:
Most NTs are sad and bored too, because of their dependence on their pyramids. But they won't change their lifestyles - with all its badness, the pyramid is the only possible protection against tragedy.

and I think it has a lot to do with lack of balancing. The basic NT premise is that human life is valuable, and that all humans are equal. However, in nature there are hierarchies, and in the human race it's no different. Your pyramid example demonstrates that. How can one possibly resolve this apparent discrepancy? Because if you had a human leader as part of the hierarchy, then it would break the rule that all humans are equal. Ultimately organized religion provides a solution, by imposing an authority figure who isn't human, consequently maintaining a sense of hierarchy without breaking the equality rule. However, no solutions are perfect, leading to a whole host of other socioeconomic things that are perhaps best left to the PPR forum. :)


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visagrunt
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20 Jan 2010, 1:59 pm

I disagree with this assessment on a number of levels:

1) It presupposes that autistics cannot form a social contract. This is clearly contraindicated by the number of people on the spectrum who have formed meaningful relationships with families (often creating families of their own) and with peers. We may face different challenges in our social lives, but that does not mean that we do not desire them, nor that we are incapable for form the relationships that are their component elements.

2) It presupposes a singular structure for social groups, and a singular means of control on the part of so-called "leaders." While your experience might well have been a family that included a single, controlling parent with a subordinate second parent, it is a trite observation to say that every family is different. The proliferation of new families, involving wider groups of step-parents and step-siblings, half siblings, and parents located in two different households all serve to erase the monolithic, patriarchal conception of a family unit.

3) The blithe use of the word, "evil," is nowhere explained, or justified. Supposing that the pyramid exists, it does not logically follow that its purpose is to protect members from "evil." Even if protection from evil is a function of the pyramid, it does not follow that one must, onself, be evil in order to protect those within the pyramid.

That is not to say that abusive relationships, in which one person is complicit in their exploitation by their family or their peers, do not exist. Of course they do. But to suggest that all families and all peer groups follow that same model is to be uncritically generalist.


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20 Jan 2010, 2:32 pm

While there are elements of truth, I have to disagree with the premise as a whole.

Quote:
Almost everyone belongs to one group or another that gives them protection against sudden misfortune in exchange for their soul.


Exchange for their soul? Really... that is simply melodramatic. That said, -everyone- belongs to groups. You do, by being a member on WP. By regularly shopping at a specific grocery. By listening to different types of music or musicians. These groups do not offer any sort of legitimate 'protection' against anything, other than the security offered by being surrounded by those with the same point of view.

Quote:
Most people can do very little in life in terms of independent pursuit of what they really want, like or believe in. Living like this is a choice. And almost every person chooses this way of life. It's a sacrifice people make in order to cope with the extremely scary nature of life and the world. They don't ever get to genuinely enjoy life because they're not allowed to by the group they belong to, but in exchange for sacrificing their lives they live with the reassurance that they won't get to know naked, full-brunt tragedy/disgrace either.


Can agree with this, actually. As I mentioned before, I think it most to do with a sense of security than any offering of protection, though.

Quote:
The top of the pyramid is always an evil person.


Disagree. This is subjective projection, perhaps from your own experience, and not factual. Evil, in and of itself, is a subjective descriptor and not really useful. Regarding the rest of the relevant paragraph here, I do not understand your idea regarding "evil ones" at all. It sounds more like religion than social analysis, at least to me.

Quote:
I've recently discovered that when you talk to someone, they're actually first and foremost concerned with not losing their membership to their pyramids, and usually have no other considerations in mind.


I don't think this is true. I think, even if only on a subconscious level, they are aware of social obligations that those on the spectrum miss completely - this is something I notice only because it has been explained at length by those who have been close to me.

Quote:
You don't ask a 9-year old child if he wants to go for a movie and a burger with you. You first ask their parents.


I don't think your comparison is effective, if only because it: 1) that sort of behavior could be interpreted wrong, and 2) in modern society, a nine year old is not generally considered to have 'free will' or sufficient maturity to make decisions.

Quote:
Eg: Lucy genuinely appreciates Tom, but Tom feels like a threat to the pyramid's strength if you ask Sam. So Lucy, not wanting to annoy Sam (since Sam is very influential to Kim, who in turn has a strong influence on Joan, the top leader's wife), claims to dislike Tom when asked about it. Then, out of fear of becoming suspicious to the pyramid, she goes on to do something really nasty to Tom to prove her continuing allegiance.


Domino effect; everything has subsequent effects. Learning how to accurate assess and predict these effects is a tremendous challenge, but no one operates in a vacuum. Everything we do has an effect on others, even if we are not aware of it.

Quote:
The worst thing you can do to a human is make them risk their membership to their pyramid. They'll react like an animal feeling threatened and will destroy you for their own survival. They may have feelings for you but they'll never act on those feelings - they'll do whatever it takes to ensure their place in their pyramid, at any cost.


Um... people are animals, first and foremost. The greater their attachment, the greater their response in protection of what they value.

Quote:
Autistics, however, can't form part of a group.


Not true; an impairment on processing and recognizing social cues does not equate to an inability to participate in a group. It may affect one's ability, but does not preclude.

I think you recognize the interdependence of others on social structure and reliance on that support, but misinterpret the causes and motivations behind it.


M.


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arielhawksquill
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20 Jan 2010, 2:48 pm

I think you are overanalyzing your interaction with the woman who wouldn't go with you on a Friday. She probably does not frame it to herself as REALLY wanting to go to Gallilee but fearing her family's displeasure if she didn't cook for them; rather, she might think of it as being an important part of her own happiness to see and be with her family, and to keep to a routine (Aspies should understand the importance of routine!) You should have just asked her to go on a Saturday.

And like the others commenting here, I disagree that the person at the top of the pyramid is always evil (althoug certainly they sometimes may be.) Some people reach the top of the pyramid because they are so generous with their time, attention, favors, and money that they become beloved by many who support them in the heirarchy, and who hold that position of leadership in order to take care of and nurture those under them.



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20 Jan 2010, 2:53 pm

This whole thing assumes that nobody ever actually likes the groups that they're part of.
Somebody who cooks dinner for their extended family every week might enjoy having their family together, might like knowing that at the end of every week they'll have a nice dinner with the people they love, it might even provide them comfort throughout the week, knowing that they might feel alone and frustrated now, but at the end of the week they'll be together with their whole family. They might even like the routine. You make it sound like fear is the only thing that could cause someone to not suddenly cancel a family dinner. Most people love their families.



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20 Jan 2010, 3:09 pm

I actually was in a cult for 20 years, so I'm afraid everything I experience is going to be compared to that.

I can see that pyramids exist, usually in milder form, though. the person at the top cannot be assumed to be evil. sometimes they're mentally ill or insecure.

the most common method of control I've encountered is the person at the top of the pyramid pitting people lower down against each other, either scapegoating those lower than them or making people compete for favor with those higher than themselves. the person at the top decides who the target is.

mostly when I've seen a pyramid in a workplace, it's very covert. in families, it's overt and really sick and hurtful. I'd prefer having a family where no one feels the need to be top dog. unfortunately, I didn't get lucky like that.



ursaminor
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20 Jan 2010, 3:11 pm

bhetti wrote:
I actually was in a cult for 20 years, so I'm afraid everything I experience is going to be compared to that.

I can see that pyramids exist, usually in milder form, though. the person at the top cannot be assumed to be evil. sometimes they're mentally ill or insecure.

the most common method of control I've encountered is the person at the top of the pyramid pitting people lower down against each other, either scapegoating those lower than them or making people compete for favor with those higher than themselves. the person at the top decides who the target is.

mostly when I've seen a pyramid in a workplace, it's very covert. in families, it's overt and really sick and hurtful. I'd prefer having a family where no one feels the need to be top dog. unfortunately, I didn't get lucky like that.
Divide and conquer is a good strategy because it keeps in mind human nature.



Greentea
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20 Jan 2010, 3:28 pm

bhetti wrote:
the most common method of control I've encountered is the person at the top of the pyramid pitting people lower down against each other, either scapegoating those lower than them or making people compete for favor with those higher than themselves. the person at the top decides who the target is.


That's very interesting, I didn't know the pitting members against each other and making them compete for favor with others higher than themselves were control tactics in the pyramid. Can you give an "every day" example, from cult life or not?


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bhetti
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20 Jan 2010, 3:36 pm

actually I have a bunch but no time to type them out. I'll try to come back to this later or tomorrow.



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20 Jan 2010, 9:16 pm

Yes! it does appear that people who are into "power" have significant influence over others. There are benevolent and malevolent dictators... some operate overtly and others covertly... some with "official status" and others "self imposed "...... unfortunately these people wield a lot of POWER over those who wish to be "recognized as worth while humans".... and the more people they have influence over the greater their "success" .........it seems to be the norm of "reality" for most people. However, since I've never really shared their value systems based on hierarchies etc....and have through "neither fault nor complete choice of my own" been an "active contributing participant " of any such ladder climbing, intimidation etc I can only say that I have witnessed what you call pyramids and have found myself on the perifery.... realizing that there is no place for me within and also having no desire to go against "my truth" to gain admission to such a life I view as "living a lie".

For those who participate... possibly what I view as living a lie is living "their truth"... by that I mean that they accept the parameters of this type of system, pyramid, as being the norm or possibly as "human nature" ..........the position I hold in regard to self ethics may be completely foreign to them... and therefore not perceived as "natural"


I guess that is why I've become even more reclusive, with social contact pared to the minimum........family situations still can be demanding... but less so the more I disengage...

However, there still exists within me a longing to belong......despite the fact I know it to be not only futile but also an illusion...belonging... without being owned.... doesn't belonging imply being owned?! Can one be free and belong?! Does one state exclude the other?!

Independant....dependant... interdependant.....nondependant.........can one be "intradependant"...if there is such a concept...... well if there wasn't there is now ......! :idea:



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20 Jan 2010, 9:34 pm

Pyramid (ponzi) scheme topic

Sounds like Earl Jones, Madoff and Tang! (evil financiers)

I like your imagery, though, Greentea. You have been around some nasty human beings.

But absolute power does corrupt absolutely, and I think this is the evil of which you speak. Off hand iI can think of many more corrupt leaders and their cronies than I can good, honest, decent ones. And some start out with good intentions and screw up.

And the motives of your friend? I would not ask anyone, as I would not be comfortable. Sometimes people say no. As AHQull wrote, maybe you could ask here on another day (Saturday was suggested).


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Greentea
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20 Jan 2010, 10:41 pm

I remember when 25 years ago, we young, pretty and broke immigrant girls without families in the country were often approached with offers of cages of gold. Orthodox religious families, pyramidal families, etc. would try to charm us into the golden life of leisure and luxury where all we had to give in return was never rebel against the pyramid, accept everything about it without questioning, worship the top leader unswervingly however evil. A life of jewelry-purchasing at nights in the Duty Free stores of the world airports while on the way to the upteenth turquoise water island 5-star resort, with kids, husband and 2 nannies so the kids wouldn't disturb our tanning and spa sessions. No career needed, no frantic looking for parking to go to a job interview, no being fired and having to pay rent, just be pretty and dumb and be ready to betray even your mother, lack integrity and fairness and compassion for others completely and you'll have a life of shelter from any misfortune - because we have the money and the connections (ie the power) to assure you this.

This is how my friend the fun unconformist once appeared at school wearing pantyhose in extremely hot summer weather (she was marrying into a rich, orthodox family, her new values were only the values of the patriarch at the top, no more creative exploration, no more personal convictions or acts or logical dressing). Those were the signs your friends were being enlisted in different pyramids. It'd start showing in their new behaviors that contradicted everything they'd been till a week or two before. They'd been charmed into the idea of the easy, sheltered life of being owned.

I don't think a pyramid lifestyle or an independent one are better than the other. They both have advantages and disadvantages. When life gets rougher than usual, I long for some pyramid. But when I had one I often felt I was living a farse, I felt no motivation, and I was constantly nauseated by the things that were expected from me to serve the pyramid and the top leader.


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20 Jan 2010, 11:37 pm

I vehemently disagree.
I don't even know where to start.

Are there 'groups' with a 'leader' withing social packs? Yes.
Are these groups automatically 'against' outsiders? NO.

These groups, as you have given examples, are FAMILIES. If there is a single leader, they did not achieve that position by evil deeds, but by being recognized as the most intelligent, most capable, most loving (for they so love their family that they would risk conflict, argument, and disharmony in order to protect one member -can you say you have done that for someone? - ) of the members.

Everyone has weaknesses, within a family the one most capable of keeping everyones lives smooth is the one in charge.

In essence, a family is based on LOVE. It is not a power trip that runs the family, but love and concern for others within the family. So yes, a family tradition is more important than a field trip with a friend - because it is tradition. It is part of your identity in that family. It is blood relatives that would like to see you and find out how you are faring in life. It is what makes the bond thick.

Families protect you from dangers you may not even know you are close to. The "creepy" boyfriend. The tendency to party too much. The failing grades at school. The disrespectful attitude. The depression, withdrawal from activities.
All these things are opened up and adjusted during family functions.

Everyone in the family has a chance to leave the "world" and regroup and remember what is important in life. Relationships, children, homes.

Now, here is where you say to yourself "I have AS, I'm not included in that, I don't understand that, so I hate that". Ask yourself truly, have you never been invited? Or have you declined such invitations?
Chances are, unless (like me) your family was completely dysfunctional with an alcoholic/crackhead/depressed parent or two, you HAVE been invited. But for your own reasons you didn't want to join in.

I'm sorry but, the pure hatred I hear on this site towards NT people is really starting to piss me off. There are so many things in this world we can't understand, but one rule I go by is "different isn't bad, different isn't evil, different is just different".

I have know so many NT people who have dedicated their lives to understanding and accepting people with differences; and it's really not fair to find such a wonderful group of people - only to find out that some of them hold this bitterness to a WHOLE GROUP of people based on their personal experiences with one or two NT's.

You may call a family a "pyramid" because it suits your bigotry, but you are alone in your hatred.

"Pyramids are a lifestyle, a choice. Yet the Autistic has no choice - he can't belong. "

This is bull. Pyramids are a group. To belong to a group you only need to recognize that you have similarities with a few other people. Naturally, if you feel connected in the similarities, you'll want to stay near those people. You might even ask them for advice, or their opinions. A person with Autism may not belong in an NT group, but, as this website is testament to; a person with autism can very well find a group to belong to. And they belong. And they ask them for advice, or opinions.

Well you have mine.
Will you take it?


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