MAMMON [4]= Can ‘Organizations’ Be Evil?

We are all aware of political evil — “wickedness in high places” — but there is also evil in the way most modern types of ‘organization’ are set up and run. Faceless mediocrities ‘manage’ the system, but do not know the vast difference between [true] leadership and [mere] management, as my friend Andy puts it. They care nothing for the work of the organization, but only care about using the organization as their personal fiefdom so they can climb the greasy pole of ambition; they are so far from being immersed in what the organization actually does as its work, or service to the community, they do not really know what is happening on the ground and could not care less about it. What matters to them is how their time in the organization will ‘improve’ their CV for the next job they will seek. And in their utter mediocrity, and panic to ‘appear’ good, they impose in a top down manner all sorts of stupid, and irrelevant, and even harmful, ‘policy decisions.’ For these sort of abstracted [and distracted] people, their fellow human beings have been reduced to mere marks on a sheet of paper, and once other people just become alienated from us as mere objects in some [foolish] scheme, then we can do to flesh and blood humans whatever evil we like, and not feel it for what it is. So, if you kill off livelihoods of thousands of human beings at the stroke of a pen, you need not feel and understand what this will do to real people. There are no real people, only ideas on a page– so why not move the ideas round as your calculating mind thinks best? ‘Destroying lives’ can be translated into ‘making the organization more efficient.’ Fine. Job done!

This evil of the abstract mind — the mind abstracted from human reality — is so widespread today, very few see it for what it really is. All I—Thou relationship is reduced to I—It non relationship. Organizations — in politics, in education, in economics, in religion — are set up and run via an ‘abstraction’ that allows managers and bosses to behave like they were a psychopath; the whole organization proceeds as if it were a psychopath. [A film made this point a while back for big corporations in the USA, and it is true for lots of organizations.] No responsibility for harming people is ever taken. Instead, you get the ‘whited sepulchres’: people in neat and respectable suits on the ‘outside’ masking a lack of integrity, and indeed just egoic self-serving, on the ‘inside.’

These dire people are evil too.. They kill bottom-up creative practice, and they kill the human factor of inter-relationship [and solidarity] wherever they run the show. This too is a vast pall on human potential, and creates widespread injustice. These people are the sheep just ‘playing the game’; and the sheep come in two sizes, bigger and smaller: those who play the game better, and want to get on top of the other sheep, and those who play the game less well, and don’t care if they are the bottom upon which other sheep perch.. Anything for a quiet life.