Governance and Discipline
How does the conception of power from the last few posts shape thoughts regarding governance? Currently, because our society’s structures and relationships are dominated by self-interested expressions of power, governance is viewed as a set of regulations and rules of conduct between competing parties, or an instrument of oppression by those in positions of privilege. Government, viewed in this manner, disciplines the populous in two ways – through systems of overt reward and punishment to ensure order and the status quo; and through a version of “common sense” indoctrinated through government education and socialization to ensure the easy governability of the people. What results is a perpetual struggle for power. Little wonder the lack of trust in authority.
As demonstrated with the analogy of the relationship between the nervous system and the muscular system in the body’s release of power, the role of government instead, is to guide and coordinate collective capacity towards pursuit of collective goals, decided upon through consultation. The highest purpose of institutions is nurturing human potential – releasing the creative powers of individuals and communities and harmonizing them together. Discipline also takes on new meaning. On the individual level, it is responsibly aligning creative capacity and action with collective endeavors, and consulting thoughtfully with institutions. On the institutional level, it is putting aside their own interest, valuing the welfare of all, and consulting with humility, never considering themselves intrinsically superior. On both levels, this discipline is not imposed by checks and balances, nor by fear or incentive. It is ultimately a conscious, spiritual, internal process entailing self-sacrifice and alignment with a higher purpose. And this process will lead to empowered individuals, empowered communities, and empowered institutions, utilizing power for the betterment of the world.
Do you have any relationships with authority that nurtures and releases your capacities and powers? What are the dynamics?