Why Nothing Progresses (Except Dissatisfaction): Institutionalized Powerlessness

by Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds

The institution offers facsimiles of recognition, but the individual remains powerless and interchangeable.

Most people working within dysfunctional institutions do their best to keep the institution operating, and they naturally resent their institution being labeled dysfunctional, as it calls into question the value of their work. Their role in the institution is the wellspring of their identity and self-worth, and attacks on the institution are easily personalized into attacks on their self-worth.

This is understandable, as the need to affirm the value of one’s work is core to being human.

Several factors work against the affirmation of an individual’s value in centralized institutions. While some institutions are better run than others, hierarchical institutions are ontologically in conflict with the human need for affirmation of one’s value, purpose and meaning.

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