Control and Related Psychopathologies
October 14, 2016
Power as Control
A working definition of a Sovereign State is ‘an Institution which is able legitimately to use force upon its citizens.’ This definition of course extends itself to the extremities of the rights of Sovereign States in order to make good its validity. It defines the Sovereign State by way of the extent to which it is permitted to go in its actions by convention and by its nature. The definition maps out the extent to which control of its citizens may be applied with impunity by a Sovereign State.
And so power is largely about control and control has as its chief consequence for those controlled a curtailment of what otherwise would be their freedoms.
Control may be applied by physical means; by restraints like prison cells and shackles; and it can be applied by means of conventions and expectations and by using general threats and menaces. ‘If you attempt to do this, we shall do this to you’ and so on. This in abstract is the proposition that the criminal law puts before every would-be burglar or thief.
Large Companies likewise possess sufficient power to ‘lay out precisely’ the ‘terms and conditions’ on which they are willing to trade with their customers. We all are aware of the Microsoft and Google T&Cs we have to assent to in order to access the benefits of their goods and services. As individuals we are often confronted. We have such small power and such few resources when we are set beside a large company’s power and resources, that we are somewhat humbled and even cowed by the requirement to agree T&Cs with them. Yet there is no option for us in fact. We either go to another provider having equally peremptory sets of conditions for us to assent to so as for us to gain access to use; or we do without and get on somehow without the goods and services. Not much of a deal, really.
The law of course is able to step in at those places whereabouts it finds abuses sufficient to warrant say a public prosecution of a large company. When we are more than just another somebody living somewhere we might decide to start a civil case to be heard before a judge to decide a matter we think unreasonable. But we know that we need to have resources and resilience sufficient at the least to discomfit the big company; otherwise it is all frustration to us and loss all round in our lives.
So the law is in most cases available only to the bigger fish in the sea; hence so much time in the courts is taken up with the courts hearing and settling judicial matters concerning the large companies and their rights and properties. The little guys, the joe soaps and jill sandwiches, are not in the frame to contest anything in the normal way; and they avoid the law like a plague. Generally-speaking, only when the police get their hands on a little guy does he see the inside of a courtroom; either as a defendant or as a jury person.
Those who are advocates and lawyers, people of the profession, are not of the likes of little guys; and they partake of and sympathise with far more the class of person able to bring lawsuits, than with the class of person who is unable to afford or to bear such strain on his time and resources. The legal professional is not a common or garden animal. All that I have written hereto is general truth.
The Sovereign State however needs no law to enforce its power to intervene in our lives forcibly. It is able to conscript us; to legislate us; to deny us money, goods and services; it has few limitations on what it can do to us because it is the superstructure for which the law is there to uphold and to maintain. Literally it is above the law.
Alexander was hearing the case of a pirate on trial for plundering seas around Alexander’s empire. The pirate is said to have said in his defence to Alexander that ‘I have only robbed a few ships here and there; yet you have plundered and looted whole kingdoms and states’. This is incontrovertible truth; it is not recorded as far as I am aware what Alexander’s answer to the pirate was. There was no sound answer to be had; that I know.
It is the threat of consequences; deterrence; which prevents most of us getting out of order and into the hands of the police and the courts and authorities. Even when we are not being out of order in fact; or in our own consciences and estimations are behaving in order, we often choose the easier option to eat humble pie and let an affront or an injustice go rather than force the issue; especially when the odds are so stacked against us as with large and belligerent companies who like to use their muscle to intimidate and so get their ways.
These days I do believe many such large companies bank on such prudent caution on the part of their small fry contingents. It is not quite unlawful; not quite a racket; not quite enough to catch they eye of a government Quango designated to keep such companies in order; although without doubt the very tenuous quality of tightrope walking with the law itself is an enticement to yet further wiles and deceits and an opening into a pit of ever deepening corruption.
This is the case inevitably when accepted and acceptable rules are waived or not applied; in the discrete instance for the individual and for the people in general when generally waived.
In our society wherein entertainments are ever seeking the next level beyond of shock or titillation or horror or disgust or whatever it now needs to turn us on; in our society wherein products and services are ever angling to market us the next level upwards of provision or facility; in our society wherein men and women are ever seeking to outdo and pull the wool over or get the better of our neighbours, to be the smart guys on the smart money; who are the figures of the moment and guys of the year and so on; those whom we celebrate and do homage in our acquisitive and ever-seeking hearts; it is only natural that in such a society that such a people should be subject to encroaching quasi-cheats and ever-accelerating incursions of sleights and devious methods, ever-greater day on day. We think ‘more and better’ ‘more and better’ as if we were idiots persuaded in our minds by persistent clamours and clangours of TV and Radio jingles and angles to get us in the shops parting with money often for we know not what and which we don’t use or need.
Today I was at our local tip; whereabouts household garbage can be driven in and dumped free of charge by my town’s residents. Today in the course of a few minutes I saw twenty or so lovely terracotta ornamental coping stones destroyed when a guy threw them into a skip marked ‘building waste’. They were old, and in good condition, period pieces, which the right person would have paid hundreds of pounds to have and to use in their home for their décor value. Again I saw an man and his son (maybe) loading into a skip for wooden items a great number of (probably used but certainly serviceable) flooring panels, of hardwood and with a sheen and a lovely finish; perhaps a hundred or so panels. At our local DIY supermarket that was say £500 worth of flooring. This was in less than 3 minutes.
Our British economy as a German comic who has settled here pointed out the other day, no longer makes much stuff; but all is loaded upon ephemeral services and their provision to make our nation sing and tick. And here we were tipping into refuse skips, junking the physical fabric of our nation and of its housing stock; and simply because we cannot be bothered to seek out recycling or reuse for it; but a quick run to the tip and hey presto it’s sorted; out of MY hair, they say.
Half the world or more cannot enjoy to date half the plenty and sheer luxury in which we ordinary small people live here in Britain; and we are content, idly so, to throw away resources and to not give a thought to the environmental and the spiritual effects such profligacy is having upon us. No, instead we go out and buy the latest version of terracotta coping stones and ultra-fashionable wooden floor panels and install them in our 2016 Mark VII kitchens or on our state of the art house fronts. Are we not fools? - and led by the nose by our stupid and greedy entrepreneurs whose dreams are of Santa bringing them sackfuls of currency down the chimney nightly.
On the one hand we have developed a service economy which in undue proportion is parasitic on its consumers, like a great creeping plant which saps and sucks all nutriment from the ground so that nothing wholesome might be grown within furlongs of it. Like our brownfield sites in urban districts; often so polluted by our careless usages of it that it can never become again arable or be fit for arable; our economy and our attitudes to goods and services are polluted and unfit for the continuance of life.
Our consumerist consumption, and the business guys who advocate it and haul in more money than they need or want or than is good for them; are a poison; they is poisoning peoples overseas in need of basic provisions and care; but it does not end in another country on an unknown family’s doorstep; but it is poisoning us too; our minds and our spirits, (which many people consider even that they do not possess) and we shall either be turned from our feckless ways and the demise which these ways are leading us to, by way of shock or poverty or crisis, and to our good; or else we shall be allowed to degenerate so far that our demise and decay eventuates .
Like an engine started and the driver gone away as it rolls downhill, gathering speed and heading for the cliff edge with a charabanc full of blind persons having a beer and a laugh, not expectant of anything but ‘more and better’ ‘more and better’ to be placed on the table at breakfast time every morning before them and for no greater effort or sacrifice or reason than it has always (no it has not!) been this way for us.
These guys, the powermongers, the politicians and the entrepreneurs of the large companies, they are in clover (they think) and by convincing us that we need all this junk and the junk services they are loading down our minds with and our shelves with; when we don’t need it, they need us to think we need it, so that we are the hive of buyer/workers and they are the queen bees who sit and draw from us what they need, at no cost, and as their due, (so they think) and with no comeback – presently.
Power can be seen as an evil being allowed to happen by its victims, those who are deprived, of freedoms and other valuable things, by that power. Power is not power when people do not recognise the wielding and the wielder of it as powerful. Just saying NO in many cases can mortify power at a stroke. Thinking independently and not according to what is provided as hash and pease pudding daily to be digested; and willingness not to accept what is offered (as a poison chalice) is able to undercut power and the appurtenances of power. Power is a phantom, as is money; both less real than is the spirit which walks and talks us as we go; less real than is the life without dreams of self-promotion and aggrandisement we are offered to be dwelt upon and hankered after as the thing to be. Nonsense, all nonsense
Whilst we see their hold on us as being power so it is able to control us and manipulate us and so to squeeze the life blood of freedom out of us. There are many, many, far better things to do with our lives than to grasp evermore for ‘more and better’ ‘more and better’. How about some more and better for others who presently have no more and better; this is real work; offers real deeds; real action; real life.
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