Using Power & the Taxonomic Location of Good and Evil

Warren Kinston 14. April 2012 09:00

Using Power ... Courtesy Pratanti candle in the dark

No doctrine can deliver virtue or character.  So none can ensure that using power to apply the supposedly beneficial doctrine will be safe and wise.

Character flows from our humanity, the same source as the power that we use.  It is wonderful that this humanity and this power is irrepressible.

However, our humanity is a tricky thing and using power is even trickier.  We are not  dealing with good that is unproblematic.  Humanity is built on an endless conflict between one good and something else that is also good.  Of all these conflicts in relation to using power, and there are many, perhaps the most significant is that between what is good for our humanity and what is good for our society. 

As you know: evil is choice of the lesser good, and of these two, the lesser good is often our society.  Aspiring to the greater good, which is what our humanity absolutely demands of us as the price of personal development and social progress, means in many situations and all too often, to view and oppose society as evil.

Can our humanity ever be the lesser good?  Its misuse might be, but humanity's survival depends on goodness winning out.  And our identity as human beings cannot be a lesser good.  We cannot avoid existing in a society because we are social beings, but we are first and fundamentally human beings.  For example, we can envisage leaving a society and choosing or even creating another one with like-minded others, but we cannot choose to be other than human. 

The problem is that society is naturally held to ransom by its lowest common denominator.  The majority makes spontaneous choices that end up governing everyone.  If the majority loses its senses out of fear, greed or despair, as it periodically does, then society goes mad.  We see this madness in political follies like the divine right of kings: as per my recent blog.  Also in financial follies.  A few years ago, half of Albania participated in a Ponzi scheme until it collapsed in the violence and anarchy of its "Lottery Uprising".  Currently, most in the West are willing participants in a quasi-Ponzi scheme that has not yet blown up.  And then there is war.  The stupid war to bring democracy to Iraq and the still-running madness of an Afghanistan war are obviously not enough for our leaders, because at the time of writing it seems that politicians+media in the West are whipping the majority into shape for war on Iran.

Majority choices are driven by a minority who enjoy wielding power and whose demeanour and behaviour look so normal.  This is typical of psychopaths and severe narcissists.  They cultivate a belief in their importance and mock actual integrity. 

Our only hope lies in encouraging the majority to wake up and distinguish belief from reality.  They will do this, one by one, sooner or later.  It just involves applying our humanity and seeing society for what it is.

Society cannot function without virtuous citizens.  Once criminality reaches a certain point, it collapses economically.  That is society's weakness and humanity's strength.  Society is intrinsically tribal and doctrinal.  It is governed by political, cultural, religious and scientific paradigms.  The relevant social institutions socialize to the point of brainwashing everyone.  The system works after a fashion: sometimes for centuries because it showers favours and prestige on those who conform.  Independent thinking may be suppressed by authorities, but that is quite unnecessary, because an intellectual elite stands ready to do the hatchet job in return for power and wealth.  Those who think independently and differently are ridiculed, sometimes vilified, and hounded out of their institutions.  Centuries later they may become culture heros, like Copernicus, or in modern times get compensated with a Nobel prize.

It doesn't have to be like that.  We can become aware.  Aware of how psychosocial reality functions. Aware of how we function.

No paradigm or brainwashing makes or can make a person be aware or choose awareness.  None can make us act virtuously.  Society's institutions and theories are lesser goods in comparison to the ultimate values that fill the soul and can independently direct action via simple awareness and intuition.

In THEE, I have now discovered the place where the battle between good and evil takes place in the human heart.  That framework is provisionally labeled: «sustaining human existence».

It took me a little longer to locate where and how the endless battle between good and evil takes place in social life.  It certainly exists—but then you didn't need me to tell you that.  I found it hard to face up to, and to get my mind around these issues.  That struggle is what led to this blog.

Fight the good fight!  Start by telling me your view now.



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21st Century Enlightenment | Better Self

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Warren Kinston is the creator of the THEE-Online website as an open forum for the further discovery and development of THEE. He writes this blog as an escape valve for the excitement and frustrations of the work. More info here.

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