Facilitate the power of love - confront the love of power

Sun, 31 Jul 2005

Pause for breath

Pursuing an enquiry like this is necessarily a haphazard matter. The demands of employment and households knock me off my enquirer perch.  By the time I have climbed back up events have moved on, agendas have disappeared and priorities have changed (note the bird in a cage metaphor, an example of how despite our best efforts, domination can live on in us !)

Also, the exploration and development of satygraha—positive programme—tend to be overwhelmed by new items of evidence, new insights into the how and why of domination.

And I begin to see an awkward tension between the unfolding of the enquiry process and reporting on it. Too much detail of the process (such as this piece) obscures its usefulness and yet the validity of the enquiry requires being explicit about its process. I'm looking into how to keep the process more distinct from the 'findings' or reports. 

Another example of the tail wagging the dog is that by far the most visited area of g.o.r.i.l.l.a. is the Picture Gallery.  This pleases me a lot since one of the reasons I write and publish here on the web is that it contradicts one of the hidden  aspects of domination—the hegemony of text (and some would say, English text) OK, I could have published on these topics in refereed journals, but academic publishing, though incomparably more accessible and cross-indexed than it used to be, remains a vehicle for text and diagrams.

And as I found with my experience of The Mind Gymnasium, writing and developing an extensively illustrated book requires a quantum leap of resources compared with monochrome text. In consequence a hierarchy of importance is supported that unconsciously sells us the notion that anything and everything of consequence can necessarily be  expressed in text and that images are of much less consequence.

This flies in the face of daily reality where tv and cheap colour printing, and more recently, the Internet, digital still and cameras, dvds, colour printers, camera phones, photocopying etc, have made the image ubiquitous. Owning the means of production for publishing writing and images has become as commonplace as owning a phone. (The  challenge to conventional politics that this poses has yet to work its way through our electoral processes.)

Dominance weather
Like mobile phones the image is multilingual. And much of the surge of political conflict of recent years seems to me to have been image fed.

For example if you are one of countless Muslims who live near this advertisement in central Brussels, how do you handle its challenge to your cultural preferences?


It speaks but what does it say?

That corporate capitalism, on the way to exhausting its exploitation of the material world, is now busy colonising intimacy, sexuality...

...and human feeling, turning them into things, products?

'Oh well we all know this' you say. But is this colonization just a trivial aspect of modern life, unworthy of the kind of attention I give it here? Or does it, as I believe, amount to a kind 'dominance weather' that clouds the skies of daily life, hiding our psychotic devotion to the comfort zones of consumerism, religion and wealth creation, and disconnecting us from feeling the damage that dominance causes?

So that when, as James C. Scott has pointed out, tension between this, and other, opposing ideologies become very heightened, and the lightning strikes of 'terrorism' kill those near and dear to us, we see it as god-denying, ie 'evil', and 'enemy'-driven, not the result of the core beliefs about human nature that we hold to be true.

The response to such lightning strikes by one London tabloid seem to me a good examples of this 'dominance weather'.

In the face of the 9/11 attack on new York, the Daily Express brandishes its crusader logo and its christian credentials.

A month later, the worldview embodied in the Daily Express crusader logo has been matched by the claim 'The world at war'... (with Islam?)

In the week after the July 2005 bomb attacks on the London underground,
again under it crusader logo, the Daily Express claimed (below) to know what the core values of its readers demanded.

As I guess most of the world knows, the 'terrorist' the headlines refer to was a Brasilian electrician unconnected with the recent bombings in the UK, who was killed by eight bullets from armed police while held face down on the floor of a London underground tube train.

Newspapers intentionally reflect and reiterate those attitudes that are proven to sell newspapers. This headline screams for the merciless vengeance of raw dominance. Meanwhile the crusader (top) and the notion of 'evil' (bottom) both identify the page as brandishing a christian worldview.  Do they reflect, or create, or colonize, the worldview of the Express's 2 million readers?

If you haven't visited this enquiry's accumulation of other vernacular evidence of how deeply domination seems to be embedded in our daily lives, take a deep (preferably broadband) breath and visit the Picture Gallery now.