“Revolution? Don’t count on the sheeple for that – baaa!”
“They’re killing you sheeple! You’re not going to say anything?!?!”
These and other similar emotional exhortations are heard from the likes of Alex Jones, Charlie McGrath, and others. We find hundreds of them posted at the end of provocative articles that explain how we’re all being screwed by the powers-that-be.
Sorry to say it, but whoever writes these things and actually expects such results is expecting waaay too much. Expecting the masses to understand what is going on (even when it is spelled out for them), or to feel able to effect the needed changes, or to see what is coming on the horizon, is dreaming.
Sorry to be so cruel, but they can’t. It’s simply beyond them.
We make such statements because we have been trained (like good sheeple) to think that everyone is equal. NOT.
There is no equality. Find just two people who are equal in every respect anywhere out of the 7 billion on the planet. You won’t be able to do it. And it’s not even a reasonable assumption if you spend even a little time thinking about it.
Despite the idea of a middle class, or the fact that we have many things in common as a society, we all still have uniquely different lives: different parents, different backgrounds, different families, different education, different religions, we read different things, watch different entertainment, eat different foods, drink different beverages, enjoy different things, etc., etc., etc.
So who, after all of these different experiences, can be equal in thought, ability, motivation or even intention? Yet despite the differences that make us unique there are commonalities that group us together.
The Vedic worldview helps us to understand both how we are different and how we are alike, and allow us to deal with different people according to their different characteristics. The influences that determine these differences are called the gunas, or consciousness determinants, as I have translated that word.
The Bhagavad-gita explains that the different material energies exert different influences on the consciousness of the living spiritual being. That is to say, our consciousness, or simply, us. We are consciousness, and how we associate with the various energies determines how we understand and relate to the world. By associating with the influence of tamo-guna and the consciousness becomes dull, confused, incapable of proper understanding, or even aggressive, abusive and violent. Associate with the influences of rajo-guna and we become motivated to produce, to get, to have and to enjoy. And by associating with the influence of sattva-guna we become satisfied, peaceful, serene, and live with a sense of justice, equanimity, and care for others.
The gunas are a zero-sum consideration—one influence increases only at the loss of the others. For the influence of tamo-guna to increase, rajo-guna and/or sattva-guna must decrease. Sattva-guna can only increase at the expense of rajo-guna and/or tamo-guna, etc.
All human being are influenced contact with the material energy and the become conditioned by the corresponding gunas. And not only in this life, but our association with the gunas in our previous lives have left their mark on us that are felt from birth.
Lord Krishna explains these influences in the Gita as guna and karma:
catur varnyam mayam shristam guna karma vibagasah
“According to the three qualities of material nature and the work associated with them,
the four divisions of human society are created by Me.”
These four divisions, or classes of people, are the called brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras, which we translate as the intellectuals and priests (commonly called teachers), the administrators and facilitators (commonly called politicians), the organizers and producers (commonly called businessmen), and the workers (commonly called workers), respectively. All four classes of people are observed in every society around the world—the different people who are naturally inclined to do different things, or are attracted to different activities.*
Sattva-guna has a greater influence for the intellectuals and priests.
Rajo-guna is the most predominating influence of the administrators and facilitators.
The organizers and producers are primarily influenced by both rajo-guna and tamo-guna.
And the workers influenced more by tamo-guna.
Don’t try to understand this too literally. These influences are extremely complex, but the overall influence or inclination is what we are referring to here. And even with these divisions there are over-arching influences that affect everyone. As we have explained in our book “Spiritual Economics,” the over-arching influence of sattva-guna was felt in times long past—the so-called Golden Age—and to a lesser degree in the indigenous cultures around the world prior to the advent of Western “civilization.” In our current day of the 21st century the influence of tamo-guna is becoming increasingly felt, and we thus find the inclination to gamble, cheat, steal, exploit, abuse, neglect and kill (anything living, not just people) becoming the preferred way to deal with our problems.
Intellectuals influenced by tamo-guna will fudge their research to get name, fame or fortune. They prostitute their profession. The pressure to intentionally do so for political, social and economic reasons became a heated issue during George W. Bush’s administration. The priests pose as religious authorities without proper understanding or qualification and thus create cults that have no religious potency, and mislead people in the name of religion.
Administrators and facilitators influenced by tamo-guna exploit rather than protect the people. This class includes politicians who have become lackeys who do the bidding of the monied interests.
Under the influence of tamo-guna organizers and producers will exploit their workers, the animals, the earth, future generations, their suppliers and customers, produce cheap and shoddy goods, externalize their costs to the environment, and attempt to profit at everyone else’s expense.
And workers under the influence of tamo-guna will do their best to cheat their employers, steal from the workplace, lie about reported work hours, and give less than an honest days work.
It should be clear by the above description that the influence of tamo-guna is now rampant in society and is the determining cause of the many social ills that we are facing.
When we speak of the workers being predominantly influenced by tamo-guna we do not intend that this should be interpreted as per the preceding paragraph. The worker under the influence of sattva-guna will do his work conscientiously, and be loyal to his employer. Under the influence of rajo-guna the sudra will work hard and be eager to produce results. Still the consciousness of the worker is not as completely developed as that of the higher classes. He (or she) is not able to deal with long-time horizons, organize complex tasks, or feel as though they have power over their circumstances. They seek security and want to have a consistent, predictable environment without surprises. These are the people referred to as sheeple.
The Natural Distribution
By nature’s arrangement the percentage of the various classes of society are 1: 10 : 100 : 1000. That is, there is only 1 actual intellectual per 10 actual, qualified administrator, per 100 organizers and producers, to 1,000 workers. We are not speaking about those who pose themselves as such, but those who have the actual nature.
The nature of the money economy distorts and gives facility for people to fit themselves into classes that they are not qualified for. Thus we have those of the sudra or worker nature who occupy political posts, or intellectual posts, while at the same time those who are genuinely intellectual are waiting tables while they try to find a teaching position. It’s all become scrambled up and thus the world situation is a mess. Unqualified people hold inappropriate positions and everybody is under the influence of tamo-guna.
Is it any wonder then that the world is in the shape that it is in?
Back to the Sheeple
So who are the sheeple? They are the vast majority of people, those who, influenced by the lower gunas have little discriminating intelligence to discern between wrong and right, good and bad, what is to be done and not to be done. They have a natural faith in their authorities and are easily misled through the propaganda of the mainstream media.
This is why the rulers of today’s world promote the idea of democracy—the vote of the people being the best method of government—because they know how to influence the sheeple to vote the outcome that has been determined beforehand and promoted. For them, playing the people is as easy as playing a fiddle. Democracy, schmocracy.
As long as their enslavement comes in small and not-too-uncomfortable degrees (the boiling frog), the sheeple will grumble and complain, but go along to get along. They will tolerate what is tolerable, and they will surrender their freedoms gradually in the name of security. Don’t ever expect anything different. It is only the higher classes who have the discriminating intelligence to see what is going on, to understand the implications tomorrow of events occurring today, and the wisdom to know what to do.
Unless revolutionary leaders get sustained control of the media (not at all likely) do not expect the people/sheeple to begin to understand the present day reality and then rise up and protest against their increasing enslavement. And even then, without inspiring leadership to follow their protests cannot be effective in producing lasting change (the Occupy protests offering no positive alternative are a great example of this). And, even if a revolution is carried out, the sheeple will not be able to govern themselves properly and the entire civilization will degenerate into a Hobbesian war of each against all. If we at all want a happy future for the world we must understand the destructive influence tamo-guna and act together to reduce it through shifting to activities of sattva, and calling on the help of God through the chanting of His holy names. If we fail to enact such changes the future will grow steadily darker as the influence of tamo-guna increases. This understanding is what led Srila Prabhupada to write:
This post introduces concepts that are quite different from the Western way of thinking and Western culture. Helpful background information can be found in the second chapter of “Spiritual Economics” and here. And if you would like to ask any questions about the subject please do so on our forum.
* Some readers of this blog who are familiar with the history and culture of India will object that we are describing the very dysfunctional caste system. Actually, the present day caste system is a perversion of these different classes of people, known as varna. The caste system that locks people into a social order simply due to birth is the result of too much tamo-guna, that allows the higher classes to exploit the lower. Under the influence of sattva-guna those of greater ability take care of and attempt to lift up the less able.