Elitism, Racism, and Sexism
Is there a common thread between the increasing economic divide between the rich and poor in America and the resurgence of racism and sexism?
By Amit Goswami, Ph. D.
At this writing, the tail end of 2014, there are three contemporary events which attract my attention: economic disparity between the rich and poor paralleling proportions close to feudalistic times; the resurgence of racism, as demonstrated especially by the police brutality against black men in Ferguson and New York and the subsequent protests, and last but not least, the resurgence of sexism as demonstrated by the sexual violence against women on college campuses. I see a commonality among the three events—elitism is back in saddle in America. Except for economic disparity, the case of racism and sexism is not as bad as in Feudal times, but the trend is disturbing. What is the cause for the trend?
Since the eighteenth century, as Feudalism died in the West along with the hegemony of religion, there had been a truce between the aborning worldview of science and the old worldview of religion. Reality was seen as having two components: mind and matter. Matter had become the playground of the aborning science, but mind remained the playground of religion. Unscientific or not, this truce—philosophers call it modernism—has given us the three most notable achievements of the modern era of civilization—capitalism, democracy, and liberal education. Under the aegis of these great institutions, equality, fairness and justice made substantial inroads in our society. Witness the breakdown of racism, sexism, and even homophobia.
Truce or not, human nature is human nature. Even under modernism there remained aficionados of the old feudal/religious worldview, call them conservatives. The followers of science on the other hand saw themselves as liberals—free from old religious dogma. Because of the truce though, the groups could work together for the good of the whole society.
However, the success of science for dealing with matter has grown by such leaps and bounds since the inception of this truce that by the middle of the twentieth century, science itself developed a dogma: everything is matter and every phenomenon can be explained via material interactions alone. A nonmaterial mind is not needed. Mind is an epiphenomenon of the material brain—so said scientific materialists. Matter has all the causal power in the world, no need to concede any causal power to nonmaterial agents like God as religions do. Unfortunately for liberals, as God died in the minds of many of them, conservatives hung on to the idea of God ever strongly.
So today we live in a polarized society torn between two exclusive worldviews—the religious worldview with mind-matter dualism and God’s causal power and the worldview of Newtonian-Darwinian science—scientific materialism. The polarization has led to a breakdown in communication as well. All this is well known.
Conservatives have always been elitists; they are the upholders of the old values in feudalistic times after all. This, too, is well known. What is not so well appreciated is that as science and liberalism embraced scientific materialism, the liberals, too, became elitists. It is a different brand of elitism to be sure—an elitism of the educated, talented, and creative, an elitism of big government bureaucrats. The fact is once you are a member of the elite, your liberal and conservative colors can be ignored, must be ignored in the service of elitism. Elitism has become an exclusive club with members wearing two different colors for their coats—red and blue.
I will give you an example. In December 2014, a money bill was passed in Congress financing the government; this was necessary. But somehow, an entirely irrelevant clause was made a part of the bill, a clause that allowed banks to make speculative financial investments with depositors’ money contrary to previous law. Now mind you, this is the kind of thing called derivatives that caused the 2007-2008 recession which resulted in bank bailouts and contributed greatly to income redistribution toward the rich. But why did the liberals go along with this overruling a few diehards? Elitism is irrespective of political labels.
Elitism in the economic arena gets rid of the middle class and slowly but surely destroys capitalism in favor of feudalism. Elitism in the social arena brings back old icons of privileged class: whites as opposed to blacks, males as opposed to females. In this way, racism and sexism come back in a hurry.
So what can you do about it? It’s the worldview my friend. Elitism is what both religious and materialist worldviews support. So whereas all other movements toward change will stop because either the conservatives or the liberals will kill the change, this one thing—elitism–will spread because both liberals and conservatives will support it.
The people directly affected by the trend toward elitism see it clearly, so there have been protests against such blatant racism in Ferguson and in New York. Similarly, there have been protests in the affected college campuses against sexism raising its ugly head. But the protests have not spread like they should. Why not? Even the Occupy Wall Street movement against economic elitism did better!
Which of the two current worldviews do you belong to? You have to see that perhaps unconsciously, you have been supporting an exclusive dogma. You have become a cynic tacitly accepting that, of course, the powers that be will work primarily to maintain the privileges of the elite.
To make a change, please note when the two dogmas functioned in a nonexclusive way under modernism, society thrived. And also note that we cannot go backward to modernism; that would be nonscientific and would implicitly boost the religionists.
And now heed the good news: today we have an inclusive worldview, the worldview of quantum physics, that is giving us a dogma free science that includes both materiality and spirituality, both mind and matter, both God’s causal power and matter’s causal power.
The elitists of either ilk—conservative and liberal—don’t like it. They try to give quantum worldview a bad rap. It is magical and mystical, they say. Its consequences are weird, they maintain. They use sophistry to misrepresent the theory and data whenever they can get away with it. Nobody understands quantum physics, they declare. Implicit is the idea that how can you trust something that defies rational understanding?
But elitists notwithstanding, we have understood the message of quantum physics thanks to the research of a few renegade scientists including myself. And slowly but surely, the new research is paving the way to a paradigm shift in science from a dogmatic materially based science to a science within the primacy of consciousness. This new science revives old religious concepts of God and spirit and soul but in a new scientific way that are being scientifically theorized and verified in the laboratory.
Science cannot make a dent in the prevailing worldview without people’s participation and that means you. In spite of the resistance of the elite, this new integrative science can become an integrative worldview if we, the people, wake up to its benefits for our selves and our societies.