- Governance - Prevailing Conceptions - Three Protagonists Power

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?


- Prevailing Conceptions

Consumer Culture

Today’s consumer culture, a byproduct of the cult of the individual’s materialistic religion, is unapologetic as it reinterprets every aspect of human history and behavior within its single-minded view, as it imposes its ideology through a cultural hegemony, as it infiltrates its value in all social systems and structures – education, media, law, health care, and development being far from immune.  If one analyzes it deeply, it is simply no more than the triumph of animal nature and impulse, free now from any religious restraints, however superstitious they may have been.

One clear example is its effect on language.  Behaviors which at one point were characterized as moral failings are now rewarded, encouraged, and prized.  Selfishness is referred to as a commercial resource; truth is reduced to a negotiable commodity; pride is viewed in terms of social value; manipulation is called advertising.  The loss of meaning in our language reflects the profound loss of meaning in all relationships that make up civilization – breakdown of family life, weakening of community ties, dysfunctional educational systems, institutional power-struggles, the worldwide crisis of authority.  And this is perhaps the greatest crime of consumer culture.