The axis of human rights at the moment, always in motion.
Macguffins have provided a valuable tool forming and perpetuating authoritarianism in all it’s forms, including most recently, both communism and fascism. They are used to move the Overton window away from natural law and naturally forming social norms. Society and government can then be centrally molded creating a top down master/slave system that psychopaths better understand and prefer. By understanding the tells of a person repeating a narrative you much more easily identify and help block the move away from citizen consensus on society.
There is an old unnamed idea, of imbuing an object or event (1) with critical status to a narrative. Macguffins are used in storytelling as an object that must be obtained in order to move the story forward. The more difficult they are to obtain the more they move the story. They are such a powerful literary device that they can forgo nearly all other literary devices. Such as character development, character arcs, exposition, and even death. Entertaining in fiction, and horrifying in real life.
It is widely thought humans have been listening to oral stories or narratives as long as man has had access to fire. Receptiveness to oral tradition likely predates the civilization gene (the birth of villages and cities) for example. Today in the United States people spend 6% of their income on entertainment. A majority of that is story driven. Narratives come to the fore as whole societies, and even single fields of study, complexify further away from a plausible classic renaissance man or comprehensive understanding of all fields. Pop culture permeates all skill levels of conversation. Archetypes cling to their highest bandwidth placeholders, normalizing conceptual fiction in philosophy. Pressing forward, but dulling their sense of normal.
Authoritarians must move public sentiment away from the acceptable center of human behavior, usually characterized by natural law (law based on how most people attempt to ‘act fairly’ without the force of law in place.) Authoritarian MacGuffins typically depict an idealic world of near anarchy. Where human rights are impossibly not trampled by exercise of others rights, and the resources those rights imbue, at the same scope. A fantasy that only exists in fiction and is the practical opposite of the daily mechanics of strangling centralized regulation.
For example ‘Might makes right’ depicts pure natural selection with no civilization as an ideal civilization. “Camelot” is one MacGuffin for dark age feudalism presented as a solution for an impossible level of both financial success through conquest and security and as an answer to the lies of ‘might makes right’ with new lies of ‘success needs might.’
More recently Communism unironicly depicts peaceful, charitable, anarchy as only possible through a top down system. That system pours on centrally managed genocide and has no formal incentive structure other than patriotism and the MacGuffin itself. Meanwhile fascism in a jest directly to communism made patriotism it’s MacGuffin, while it also flattens all reward structures to a single government run system, enforced again through genocide. It’s a strange but instructive MacGuffin since patriotism is achievable in a natural Overton window, but fascists fictionalize it to impossible extents. You can never be patriotic enough. Patriotism must be perused to barbarism (might makes right) Which demonstrates the true purpose of narratives, they are a carrot, on a stick, before the donkey. They are not meant to be reached.
The real damage… Focusing attention on goals that are untested and likely impossible, results in a population perpetually distracted from improving the society around them through realistic and natural means. Removing this distraction by design would result in local, specialized, and therefore different conclusions.
Being aware of this gives free minded humans an advantage in spotting these fictional narratives.
Narcissists think they live in their own grand story, like the Truman show. Since it’s a story, your story, and you are always the lead, you only need to declare someone good or bad and that’s their role in your movie forever. It’s their movie and we’re all just living in it.
A non-psychopath can be exclusively narcissistic, and indistinguishable at a distance. All humans retain the full scope of behaviors of the psychopath, but many display additional behaviors that negate and better their overall performance and contribution to society. Brainwashing (extreme repetition and symbol substitution) can form a protopsychopath from a healthy adult who’s conscience has effectively become their jailer, oblivious to it’s original purpose as a risk engine. This is as plainly true as parents program their children, as a normal and socially acceptable way to keep them from harm until they mature. Plainly, parents brainwash their empathic children as a temporary measure, until their brains absorb their own observations and grow to match the complexity of the world around them. All brainwashing hijacks these potentially beneficial mechanisms, and the narrative keeps them imprisoned in a fantasy.
Narcissism IS the mark of fantasy. Only in fiction is a strangers status, like ‘racist,’ or ‘sexist,’ last for the duration of the narrative (in the real world, their entire life). Fiction defines characters with their first interaction, This is part of the structure of an entertaining fiction. To streamline the story and shorten it. To ONLY present key information and turning points. But people in control of their own faculties, make decisions continuously after a long series of interactions. This is what the conscience, not acting on prejudice, is for. (Anti-prejudice narratives are actually functional prejudice!)
People should be given room to improve as much of emotional growth comes as learning from serious errors. Mistakes regretted, form morality. This is where the unstoppable force(the conscience) meets the immovable object(the narrative.)
MacGuffins are narratives that threaten civilization. Replacing locally sourced interaction with top down psychopathic work alikes with no centralized, structured path to success. If followed long enough, they ruin economies and societies, and inevitably end in collapse.
(1) Wikipedea 5/31/2021
Edit 6/10: typos, grammar