Professionalism

The carpenter desires timber, the physician disease. 

~ Rig Veda IX. 7.9

All professions are conspiracies against the laity.

~ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some training to know how to lie well.                                                           ~ SAMUEL BUTLER

A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip.                         ~ CASKIE STINNETT

History’s most gruesome moment so far was made possible by the inner logic of civilization, which is, at bottom, division of labor. This division of labor, or specialization, works to dissolve moral accountability as it contributes to technical achievement in this case, to the efficient, industrialized murder of millions.

~ ZYGMUNT BAUMAN (Modernity and the Holocaust)

 

 

The easiest method to identify the leading trend of a particular culture or epoch  is to identify the most successful trend of that culture or epoch . In almost every modern event, we can trace a common syndrome, the working of a mechanical sort of knowledge as the fundamental behind all modern trends which can be eventually identified as PROFESSIONALISM. As the ‘mind’ behind every modern ‘success story’, the new pass word, professionalism, is the much sought after pre-occupation in almost all modern trends.

Be it in arts or sciences, in sports or politics, in fundamental sciences or applied sciences, in philosophy or theology, professionalism by all means has emerged as the only route to get to the top. Today experts and professionals are the top notches who have emerged as the new idols and the common factor in almost all modern success stories, particularly, in the advanced nations. Every enterprise, national or multinational, go to any extent to recruit the top professional for every strategic job.

By and large, late nineteenth and early twentieth-century professionals, especially those belonging to medicine, engineering and law, shared the same socially conservative outlook as other educated middle-class of the modern society. Like other university trained individuals, they viewed themselves as part of the prestigious intellectual elite – an elite responsible, at least in their eyes, for the pre-eminence of modern culture. Their social superiority was reinforced by the exclusiveness of their professions. This was particularly true in the medical profession.

 The latter proved to be especially important in promoting their social images like physicians, engineers and ‘officers’ of other professional institutions, as morally and intellectually superior beings who were ‘born into their profession. This professional prestige was unquestionably connected to the abstract value attributed to modern science. Beyond that, however, it was the ideology of scientism and, more particularly, the expected social utility, especially of physicians, that bestowed upon them both their much desired social role as custodians of society’s health and wealth and their newly found esteem.

As our society has become more rational it has also become increasingly fractured into smaller and increasingly insulated professional groups. This can have at least two consequences. Firstly, those in each professional group hide behind their walls of specialisation and expertise, making their recommendations and decrees, without actually doing much good for society they purport to serve. Many such people scorn a general and broad education as ‘unemployable’ to keep this culture going. Secondly, but also because of the first consequence, while the rise in professionalism has paralleled the rise of individualism in the modern epoch, the result has been less autonomy and self-determination. Abstract and ‘efficient’ answers to real world issues taught by proponents of the same systems of thought dominate the globe, and are in the process of standardizing it beyond belief.

Roman leaders divided knowledge into specialized fields that were cut off from the totality of knowledge. By doing this, the leaders blocked everyone from integrating knowledge. The unrestricted integration of knowledge would have enabled citizens to see right through their leaders’ claims to power. Certainly, the leaders controlled food and money supply in order to make everyone’s physical survival dependent on the establishment. And by dividing knowledge, they were able to rule everyone. The leaders promoted the knowledge of specialization to everyone, especially the geniuses. By locking the mathematical and scientific geniuses into tiny realms of knowledge, all threats were effectively removed. Hence, Roman leaders were able to rule for centuries without opposition.

A close look at the universities reveals that knowledge and careers are divided into increasingly narrower ranges that are cut off from the rest of human knowledge. Overspecialization reigns supreme in today’s colleges, universities, careers, and jobs.

The science of professionalism

In his book World Without Cancer author G. Edward Griffin exposes how corrupt politics and professionals join together to prevent real cancer cures – herbals, certain natural minerals and other cheap products of Nature – from reaching the public and which incur no money in prevention.

He writes: “Once you’ve got cancer you’ll pay anything to try to stay alive. Cancer treatment is therefore a booming business, and cancer prevention is nowhere. That is the basic dynamics of the debate. Cancer surgeons can achieve the status of rock stars among their peers. Those who advocate prevention will most likely find themselves without funding, ridiculed and despised by the chemical industry, the pesticide industry, the asbestos industry, the oil industry and all their minions – lawyers, bankers, engineers, reporters, professors, and politicians – who make a fat living off those who pump out cancer-causing products and dump out cancer-causing by-products, akin to toxic waste”.

German writer Berthold Brecht said that professionals and business people who are very much aware of the truth, but nevertheless call it a lie and want to prohibit it, just for one reason: to make profit!

Now let us examine the common attributes of the following categories of people, put together, as a single class: managers, businessmen, experts and consultants like doctors, engineers and lawyers, the career artists, the career sportsmen, professional writers and journalists, career politicians, bureaucrats, professional thieves, professional killers, prostitutes etc.  All these people come under a single category called professionals. Besides, they all have certain common characteristics and attributes in their pursuits of ‘success’ in their respective fields.

And surprisingly, as can be expected, the common attributes of these modern experts and professionals coincide with those of modern science. And modern science can survive and develop only in an environment called the Matrix.  But, what is this synthetic ‘environment’ called the Matrix. “The Matrix is a system, Neo, and that system is our enemy. When you are inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, diplomats, professional politicians, professional godmen, clergies, knowledge workers, carpenters, draftsmen, artists…. the very minds we are trying to save. Until we do, these people are part of that system and that makes them our enemies. You have to understand that most of these people are not ready to be unplugged and many are so hopelessly dependent on the system, they will fight to protect it. The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.”, Morpheus thus illustrates the life in the technosphere, in the movie, “The Matrix”.

Today, those who matter in society, namely, the politicians, the industrialists, the bureaucrat, the experts, and the professionals of all hues, including thieves, terrorists and hired killers and people with vested interest have formed a group. This is often referred to as the elite group. They have come to exist as a class of their own. They may belong to different religions, caste, creed or region, but they all exhibit the same characteristics. And their common, ‘natural’ system or environment is the MATRIX.

Rampantly bureaucratic mechanization and professionalism have locked modern society into a series of inward looking power struggles. Thus in order to be rational and egalitarian, professionals attempt to come up with a set of impersonal rules to cover every event. The result is that because decisions are predetermined, hierarchical relationships become less important and the senior levels lose the power to govern. Further, in order to maintain the impersonal nature of decision making, decisions must be made by people who cannot be influenced by those who are affected. The effect of this is that problems are only resolved by people who have no direct knowledge of them.

Professionals do not allow decay in the natural evolutionary process, and thus rendering the process noncyclical. Through reforms and refinement, professionalism makes the social system purely mechanical. It is professionalism that makes capitalism tick and this mechanized social system does not decay to meet its natural anti-thesis (ruin). Thus modernism, the refined and reformed form of capitalism, has become the most unchanging and the most orthodox and reactionary social system in human history. The tragic result is that instead of the manmade system meeting its natural decay, this highly professionalized system makes humans and his natural environment decay. We experience this development when we see most of the plants and diverse species in Nature shrinking fast and going extinct.

As strange bedfellows, passions and professionalism always stay apart. “You can’t adopt politics as a profession and remain honest”, Franklin Roosevelt’s expert adviser, Mr. Louis Mc Henry Howe is reported to have said in a speech on January 17 1933. As smart moderates, dualists and amoralists, the bureaucrats and professionals form the backbone of every establishment in modern society.  Columnist Jonathan Alter, in July 1991, wrote in Newsweek, “Once ensconced in office, these political entrepreneurs regard defeat as something akin to bankruptcy. As ‘professionals’ their self images are wrapped in their jobs in ways earlier generations of part time mayors or legislators could never have imagined. This helps to explain one peculiar paradox in politics: the safer a seat, the more cowardly a legislator becomes. Voting against the interest of powerful constituents amounts to a form of professional suicide . . . It’s where Democrats fit the profile of political professional more than Republican do.”

Purged of all real creativity, professionals are a sort of sterilized lot and they exist as safe havens and harmless creatures for the establishment. They are always expected to use their brain(to be opportunistic), never their mind; their talents are welcome, but having compassion is taboo.

Professionalism succeeds when one does ‘justice’ to his profession, like a ‘successful’ lawyer doing everything to increase his cases and fees by covertly prolonging the cases; the professional policeman rejoices at the sudden increase of law and order problems; doctors and drug-manufacturers help to increase diseases so that their businesses thrive; market- minded arms manufactures increase tension, which will help arms sales the world over.

The professional intellectuals who on the surface today appear to serve knowledge are the very ones who enchain it. Much in the same way as some medieval Popes claimed to be the ‘servants of the servants of God and, by claiming that they were necessary servants, rather had made themselves into the masters of God’s servants thereby displacing God, so, too, modern professional ‘servants of knowledge have made themselves its masters and the masters of all who would serve it. They have placed their chains around knowledge and forged them with resentment, jealousy, pretensions of pride, and hatred.

No man is born an evil, nor is he trained as one; he is only trained as an expert or a professional for whom good and evil are just the two roles that he will ‘legitimately’ perform on appointment or on payment. At a time when the line separating good from evil, right from wrong, fact from fiction have all been made very thin and flimsy, and which alternatively go on interchanging without much detection, it is almost a futile for us to expect modern professionals to solve our problems.

 Professionals and experts exist only because of our problems. If problems cease to exist, they too will cease to exist. It is a situation that they can never allow. They solve one problem only by laying the seeds of two or more, serious problems.

The logic behind the widespread ragging in almost all professional colleges is based on the principle of purging the finer conscious sentiments from the incumbent trainees. The the logic behind is that this would embolden them on the path of professional excellence. Of late, this pathological trend has developed into something even worse. For instance, even deaths are reported from many engineering and medical colleges in India.

Inside the Nazi camps, the Nazi doctors, scientists, and nurses performed criminal experiments on patients. They developed the medical science of death and their lessons were never forgotten. Dr. Robert Jay Lifton of the Nuremberg Commission wrote: “Psychologically speaking, nothing is darker or more menacing, or harder to accept, than the participation of physicians in mass murder” he wrote. Take for example the views of Mahatma Gandhi about the profession of modern medicine when he said: “I have endeavored to show that there is no real service of humanity in the profession [of medicine] and that it is injurious to mankind.”

Professionals like scientists, physicians, teachers, lawyers, military and religious leaders, journalists and politicians use their authority to keep us gullible and, at times, trembling in the balance.  One philosopher stands out in history as the noble sage who fought professionalism and having had the greatest influence on our critical thinking standards: Socrates (469?–399 BC). “The unexamined life is not worth living,” says Socrates in Plato’s Apology. Socrates is known to us is as a figure from Plato’s dialogues. For centuries, Socrates has stood as a model of intellectual integrity and inquiry: the ideal critical thinker.

 Here Socrates is depicted as confronting someone who claims to be an expert or a professional who, in earlier times, was known as sophist. Each expert is depicted as arrogant and self-righteous, without the slightest self-doubt. Socrates leads his antagonists not to the answer but to confusion. What Plato seemed to admire about Socrates was not only his method of cross-examination, but also his humble and skeptical attitude. That attitude was in stark contrast to the arrogance of the priest Euthyphro or the sophist Thrasymachus. Socrates meaning is clear. The arrogants do not examine their views. They are not worth imitating.

An era of weeds: Professionals and experts form the largest chunk of parasites and render this age an era of weeds.

 As parasites and weeds, professionals survive at the cost of the natural man, that is, the common man, the tribal or the layman. The natural man or the pristine man can exist independently and in harmony with Nature as they have been living for ages. Man of Nature will be far better off than they are today if they are not ‘helped’, ‘aided’ or ‘developed’ by the world of experts and professionals. But society of experts and professionals (loosely grouped in modern society as ‘the developed’) cannot exist independently. They are dependent largely on laymen, the peoples.

The concept ‘developed’ is all about developing the expertise of exploitation. Scientifically, professionals are the army of operators of such an economy, and exploitation is the only logical process. The professionals always serve the highest bidders who naturally are what we call the corporate world comprising mainly the multinational corporations.

Professionalism degenerates as sociopathy: In The Sociopath Next Door, author Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4% of ordinary people – one in twenty-five – have an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that these people have no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five persons in modern society, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. It could be your colleague, your neighbor, or even family. But how do we recognize the remorselessness? One of their chief characteristics is a kind of glow or charisma that makes sociopaths more charming than the other people around them. They’re more spontaneous, more intense, more complex, or even sexier than everyone else, making them tricky to identify and leaving us easily seduced. Fundamentally, sociopaths are different because they cannot love. Sociopaths learn early on to show sham emotion, but underneath they are indifferent to others’ suffering. They live to dominate and thrill to win. They are expert professionals of their respective fields.

The child of the professional, unless properly nurtured, becomes a child sociopath: This is a story as to how a kid becomes a sociopath. His parents are upwardly mobile. They are power-hungry. Both are professionals and have little time for the child. This kid sees that his perceived world works better through manipulation. There is no real need for true love. He gets all kinds of things but no parental care or attention.

The kid learns to trade on that. His only goal becomes his own short-term satisfaction. He is a chronic liar, and grows up to become a psychopath and goes into a school to murder a bunch of other kids. After all, he is seething with anger inside.

Intellectual Prostitution

“The tradesman scarcely ever gives an ideal worth to his work, but is ridden by the routine of his craft and the soul is subject to dollars. The priest becomes a form; the attorney, a statute book; the mechanic, a machine; the sailor, a rope of a ship. In this distribution of functions the scholar is the delegated intellect. In the right state he is man thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men’s thinking”, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) about professional writers. Of all evils in the world, intellectual prostitution – selling conscience for a material consideration – is the most damaging of all evils. A woman by professionalizing sex may be leading only a few people towards sin, disease and ruin. But, by professionalizing the affairs of human mind – working just mechanically for money, position or fame in society – professional intellectuals are leading the whole world to sin, disease and destruction.

An intellectual who is doing a mistake or wrong unknowingly is doing no wrong so far as he remains open for correction. But someone who does it intentionally is leading the whole society into this wrong doing – logically! He is doing it like the one who pretends to sleep – as one who cannot be awakened – and thus the mistake goes on uncorrected.

Modern book creation, especially the cause book creation, has almost become a professional market affair rather than any human affair. Right from the mind to the print, including the generation of idea, plot, style and expertise, it is all a market-sponsored mechanism in the present book market. Finally when the product rolls out of the press, an army of experts – language expert, subject specialist, psychologists on the targeted book readers etc., would have been roped in to make the product ‘best selling’ and in ‘world class’ package. “Perfection of means and confusion of end seem to characterize our age,” Albert Einstein wrote in his later years.

A recent American best seller on How to Write Best-sellers has the following advice to the prospective writers. “The theme must be catchy. The presentation and style must attract the attention of a reader lying on a couch, watching TV with beer in one hand and pizza in the other and his only one eye slightly opening.”

Long subjected to cheap consumerism, modern man has become an addict of everything in ready-to-use package. He is not much bothered about the content so far as it is in world class package. And what we call world class packaging is all that go with highly mind-managing techniques like style, big name, sponsorship, awards, high advances, trademarks, high technical qualification, and tantalizing ‘news’ favoring the product and aggressive selling. What is plainly visible here is the fast eroding self-confidence, self-esteem and the growing consumer impotency of modern humans.

The market force wants the writer to do with words what it wanted Michael Jackson to do with light and sound, or what it wants Madonna to do with the symbol of sex. Market force wants them all to be spin-doctors hoodwinking the gullible on lookers, readers and the man-on-the-street, for that alone can send the sales graph of these consumerist ideas and  such products  into a tailspin.

Professionalism Under Attack

Today people sense that something is terribly wrong with our manmade systems. They believe there are too many doctors, engineers, designers, beauticians and other professionals. There’s a reason people hate them. It’s because they have a monopoly on what rightfully belongs to everyone in human society. Take, for instance, lawyers. They have an economic interest in generating problems and prolonging them. Laws – or rather the machinations of laws – are to experts and lawyers what fishing rods are to fishermen. What if there is a deluge of fishermen?

Of late, the trend of pre-eminence of the expert and professional class changed dramatically. Even in Western societies, recently, public opinion is increasingly dominated by unreflecting prejudice and an unwillingness to trust experts and professionals, even when they come with, what they claim, ‘factual evidence’. Experts no longer command respect, and polls show that the only scientists the public seem to trust are those who work for environmental pressure groups.

As if there is acute paradigm conflict, professionalism is increasingly coming under attack today, as Michael Ellner put it: “Everything is upside down in today’s world. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, major media destroy information and priests destroy spirituality”. Members of every profession are today part of the market-led society and when their values are no longer seen as relevant in terms of money then they adopt the reigning society’s values – or even that of the marketplace. For example, many doctors in the USA now enroll for a management degree and become businessmen.

 “A nation as badly governed as America is by professional politicians who may not know the term professional is an encomium when applied to apparatchiks like Rollins and Jordan”, thus columnist George F. Will was commenting, in Newsweek, on then American political scene while referring to the Ross Perot factor in US election campaign in 1990. Another American columnist gave a critical look at salaried professionals and the soul-battering system that shape their lives. Author Jeff Schmidt addresses the tail end of this question in his book Disciplined Minds. He writes: “The status of ‘professional’ in America indicates to the masses that you have made something of yourself. You have become one of the best and the brightest. But what sort of Faustian deal had to be made to get there? The ‘best and the brightest Americans, as historian Howard Zinn has pointed out, are the people who have engineered atrocities like the Vietnam War”.

The US system is facing some major problems because of the connivance of the marketing professionals with the market system. For instance, medicine as a profitable venture became legitimate long before corporate chains were founded. Professionalism has become the active subservient in this market-ridden economy.

Note: Due to the constraint of space, some parts of this chapter under the following subtitles may please be read in the e-book edition of this book (soon to be published):

  • Professionalism Paralyses Creativity and Will
  • Professionalism Emerges as the most Effective Manipulator
  • Modern Science is the Offshoot of Professionalism
  • Middleman is now the Leader of Man
  • Professionalism and the Decline of Spirituality
  • Priestly Empires are the Longest in History
  • Clergy as First Category of Organized Professionals

 

 

 

 

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