Vacuums Need to Be Filled
A society’s stability and structure can be influenced by people with different perspectives on the state of societal condition. By human nature, people make their own interpretations about life and its environment, and this individuality can lead to disagreements among people. The quality and nature of interaction between people is driven by differing interpretations and viewpoints. In some cases, hostilities occur and the results can be devastating to a society in its whole.
In the novel, Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, and in modern sources, the authors explore the effect of anarchy on human behavior and social order. At the start of the novel and as discussed in the “Ecocritical Reading of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies,” by Rohitash Thapliyal and Shakuntala Kunwar, interaction between groups with different demeanors has various effects on a society. The society in Lord of the Flies is divided into three groups: the choir, the littluns, and the biguns. The littluns are known as followers, while the choir develops into a savage group composed of independent biguns. Early in the story Jack, a choir member and later the leader of the Savages, and Ralph, a bigun, do not get along and argue due to their vastly different ideas on tactics necessary for survival. While Ralph is leading a meeting, Jack interrupts and states, “He’s like Piggy.
He says things like Piggy. He isn’t a proper chief” (Golding 119). Piggy behaves as if there is a controlling force over everybody on the island, and this force is otherwise known as adults. Similarly, Ralph’s leadership style has a strict, mature order to it, the kind associated with being an adult or parent. On the other hand, Jack believes that all members of the society should have free reign and will.
Eventually, the dichotomy between Ralph and Jack leads to a fight for power over who will control the community. Thapliyal and Kunwar expound on Ralph and Jack’s psychology. As readers learn throughout the story, Jack and Ralph are complete opposites in the way they work and think. These differences are manifest through their leadership skills. Thapliyal and Kunwar discuss these skills when they write, “Ralph works to organize things, maintain order, and create laws… But soon, the evil within human (Jack), the desire for power to control starts unleashing itself” (Thapliyal and Kunwar 86-87).
In other words, Ralph leads to create a controlled environment for the community while Jack desires and thrives on power. As time passes on the island, it becomes evident that this contrast between behaviors and ideologies has dramatic impacts on the order of the society. Desire “for power to control starts unleashing itself” when Jack, through violence, challenges Ralph for the role of leader (Thapliyal and Kunwar 87). Confrontation between people with different inclinations can have dramatic effects on a society and in the worst cases can lead to the collapse of an entire civilization. Eventually in Lord of the Flies and explained in “Exploiting Anarchy: Violent Entrepreneurs and the Collapse of Libya’s Post-Qadhafi Settlement,” by Marc R.
DeVore, a society without leadership and with too many conflicting opinions loses control of its population. Although Ralph started with control over the island through the “power” of the conch shell, his followers quickly lose respect for him as doubt of rescue sets in. This doubt, shared by many on the island, leads to violence and the belief that survival is only achievable through strength. At one of the final meetings that Ralph holds he states, “Things are breaking up. I don’t understand why.
We began well; we were happy. And then – people started getting frightened” (Golding 77). The philosophical differences conflict between Ralph’s peaceful ruling style and Jack’s savagery gives rise to bloodshed between Ralph’s group and the Savages, led by Jack. As the violence continues and Ralph loses virtually all his supporters, Jack gains power and chaos sets in. Similarly described in DeVere’s writing, Libya, devoid of authoritarian leadership – following Qadhafi’s death – struggled for balance between political and military factions which eventually escalated into violence. Many Libyan citizens did not want to live under the authoritarian and brutal role of Qadhafi, but peace was just as elusive following his ouster.
This disagreement led groups known as the anti-Qadhafi to revolt against the government with many different and distinct militias. DeVore described the effects of the revolts when he stated, “the rapidity of the anti-Qadhafi coalition’s victory meant that no unified ‘revolutionary’ army had time to develop. Rather Libya became host to 1,700 militias, embodying 231,000 registered fighters” (DeVore 464). The revolution ended with instability permeating throughout Libya and the reconsideration of political ways. Although the country was able to keep itself intact (barely), the fact that there was an uprising shows how anarchy resulted in Libya following Qadhafi’s questionable legitimacy. With the collision of different philosophies and ruling styles, anarchy –the loss of control – takes hold of the social order, resulting in a country undergoing change.
By the end of the novel and as described in “Roots of Brutality,” by Laura Spinney, murder, often prominent in a society encompassed by anarchy, is rife across the clans. After Ralph and Jack spar, Jack becomes the alpha male and gains authority over the uncontrolled civilization. Due to the violence prevalent with anarchy, the Savages gained an appropriately-named trait – savagery – described when Ralph ponders, “They understood only too well the liberation into savagery that the concealing paint brought” (Golding 166). Not only did the title of savage label people as a member in the new society, but it also represented their overall behavior. A true tautology – the Savages became known as savages with both violent and militaristic actions.
They followed orders from Jack and reacted to situations with brutal, barbaric actions without considering logic and morals. Discussed in more detail, Spinney conveys how Jack’s behavior directly leads to violence prominent in the Savages’ activities. When anarchy prevails, leadership is needed to regain stability, and Jack is the authoritative figure with the ability to restore order. By nature, Jack is deceptive, which enables him to convince people to have trust in his methods. His traits empower people to act violently as discussed by Spinney when she states, “And the primary instinct not to harm may be more easily overcome when people are ‘just following orders'” (Spinney 1). The Savages, originally organized without central leadership, turned to Jack for guidance, who guided them toward violence.
Since Jack tacitly approved of their actions, the society formed into a belligerent community controlled by intimidation. No matter how immoral Jack’s orders were, the Savages would obey in order to gain privileges, such as food, to aid one’s survival.The actions and behaviors of every individual contribute to the final version of a civilization. Golding and other modern sources discuss multiple aspects of psychology in the formation and organization of societies. As people with different characteristics and philosophical orientations interact, ideas spread and generalization occurs. In Lord of the Flies, the realization by the children that they may never be rescued produces the idea that survival by any means is necessary, and this leads to fights for the best or most efficient way to survive.
As new societies form and old ones fall throughout the world, similar revolutions occur. Revolutions occur when people with different philosophies attempt to impose their ways to ensure survival of a country and its people. The interactions between people with different beliefs, concepts, and notions of civility will never end, but new ideas will eventually be adopted. In numerous scenarios, the adoption of new ideas results from anarchy. Anarchy is a time which allows and begets the formation of new leadership and philosophies to support a society and help it survive.