Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Power and Rights

First feelings of power, of volition are the replications of initial, external power that submit us. A child is scolded for wetting his or her pants; the paternal force disciplines the child. The child then soon enters into this force, appropriates it and in delusion believes when he restrains his own body, he is doing it by his free volition. The first feelings of power, the emergence of the free self, is the exercising of control and power external to ourselves.

From this base, psychological condition of humanity, larger structures of political and social construction occur. Democracy and liberalism, understood in a broad sense, is the appropriation of power that submit disenfranchised groups. What are the pillars of democracy and liberalism? Universalized human rights, the notion of a common good stemming from the construction of a concept of humanity -- of what a human is and therefore needs. Looking carefully and anthropologically, it is apparent that the creation of the human idea is an act of separation, isolation and justification. The Ancient Greek's believed that only men, of particular greek families had status as humans, and every person outside of that restrictive, elite group were sub-human, something more akin to animals in their availability for use; humans have a right on a ground of superiority to exert force and dominion over groups outside of themselves.

In subordination, these subhuman groups enter into numerous psychological complexes. One of them being their inability to assert their force, robbed of an identity, a position in society that allows for the expulsion of bodily and mental force. At times, their resentment and anger turn inward, escaping from the world, giving rise to metaphysics, to a new world of insubordination that can be turned on their one of powerlessness. This is the birth of Abrahamic religions with its clear and hidden progeny. At times, being unable to assert their power, they appropriate power, but power as defined in terms of the elite group's notion of what is human and what humans have rights to. This is the paradoxical universalization of human rights. How can there be an encompassing of all into the one notion of what is human which is defined by elites to distinguish themselves from the subhuman and give them the right over all people? This is the birth of liberalism and democracy. The initial power held over subordinate groups is appropriated, but ironically, the robbing of the elitist notion of humanity allows for the preservation of that power permanately, outside of the hands of its creators, floating between people in senseless self-discipline.

Western formations of government and religion are both born of powerlessness, resentment and revenge; their subterranean texts fester, where the bubbling up of these hidden words and feelings results in an obsessive need to association these institutions as harbingers of freedoms.