Goodbye g.o.r.i.l.l.a...I've taken the opportunity of a holiday space to rethink and refurbish this Action Research enquiry into facilitating the power of love and confronting the love of power.
To more clearly underline the aims and intentions of the enquiry, I've changed the title from g.o.r.i.l.l.a. to livingfromlove. This may also help me manage the incoming tide of powerfreakery that here, as in the rest of life, tends to swamp the living from love.
To make the unfolding of the enquiry more easily accessible I've created a separate CONTENTS listing the material as it emerged... from earliest to latest.
In honour of the antecedents of this phase of the enquiry, I'll quote a few paragraphs from its opening statement
What do I see? Two key trends:
2. The collapse of the USSR project and its client states, brought into sharper focus the abuses of power by the US and its client states that had previously been masked by the Cold War.
The first of these is close to home, part of the work I do. The second has seemed out of reach, out of my range and competence but no longer. The open assertion that 'full spectrum dominance' should shape US foreign policy has made politics everybody's business. The notion that links all these trends is Dominance—the belief that 'might is right', that bullying is natural, that the use of force and coercion are inevitable and essential ingredients of human life—and that its shadow, subordination and victimization, is also natural and inescapable.
g.o.r.i.l.l.a. is devoted to unravelling and confronting these beliefs. They have seemed to be a 'given', a part of human existence. Might they not be self-serving social constructions that promote and support exploitation and generate damage? Might they not be obsolete? An old paradigm of relating that promises to end all relating?
Some hints and pointers:
People who inherit, gravitate to, are elected to, or seize, dominant roles, tell stories about reality that justify their tyrannies.
People who have been disinherited, side-lined, abused or exploited also tell stories that often justify or rationalize their victimhood.
The extent to which the media mirrors through which we know ourselves socially are in the hands of dominant corporate tyrants tends to mean that victimhood is seen as due to failure and weakness.
Since tyrannies tend to have the power to enforce compliance, and side-line or censor contradictions, their stories can seem to be 'true'.
A key element of how dominance plays out is dissociation. Tyrannies hide from themselves the damage that arises out of dominance, or if it cannot be hidden, it is held to be due to the weakness and failure on the part of subordinates.
We can learn to recognize the cultures of domination that we inhabit and resist, interrupt, and contradict them in ourselves and others.
And where does love feature in all this? So far as love is defined as the active mutual pursuit of flourishing with Others— it requires the absence of coercion and force. In other words Dominance is the antithesis of Love. Learning to love, learning to live from love, thus requires that we also confront our inner tyrants, that we move to eliminate our use of force and coercion and work to build the skills and emotional competence that negotiation and cooperation require.