Facilitate the power of love - confront the love of power

Sat, 26 Jun 2004

Sailing barge, repair and maintenance.

I live on a large timber boat and at this time of the year if the weather blesses, which it has these last weeks in the UK, I shift into shipyard mode,  I scrape, paint, chisel and fill the damage due to sunshine, frost and bad weather in the previous 12 months. Which explains, if explanation were needed, the recent gap in the blog.

This doesn't mean that the world hasn't been offering a shedload of experience, example and evidence matching the theme of our inquiry here, just that until today I haven't had time to write about them.

The Normandy landings - a snippet
Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt met off Newfoundland to discuss the invasion of occupied Europe in 1944. Their business completed, they and all the assembled officials sang the hymn 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. Isn't that neat? How bizarre that, 60 years later, the contemporary leaders of these same nations could plausibly do the same.

Fundamentalism cont.
I begin to get an inkling that fundamentalisms of all kinds, but especially branded religiosity, are parasitical. A special form of dominance; living off the rest of the world but putting nothing back, contributing only destruction and damage. A example, familiar to me, is the scale insect, which mines the sap of tasty plants such as amarylis and lemon trees and has killed several of my house plants.

Another is the tapeworm. Reading the amusing, if challenging tale of my friend Vincent's tapeworm, triggered the notion that here is a great metaphor for fundamentalism. The tape worm feeds off, and yet makes zero contribution to, the economy of its host. Isn't this also true of fundamentalism? For example the 'Reverend' Ian Paisley whose fundamentalist religiosity has depleted and impoverished Northern Ireland for decades while holding it locked into Protestant dominance; and the economic fundamentalists who persuaded Russia to move from a command to a market economy in 30 seconds, creating a licence to steal state utilities; a pope, sitting in the country with the lowest birth-rate in Europe, who imposes worldwide the belief that contraception, women priests, and abortion are anathema.

Hmmm, abortion, we'll have to come back to that.

I begin to get a sense that fundamentalisms often equate to a love of power. Not necessarily personal power but being in love with the expressions of power, in love with powerful others, tycoons, kings, queens and princes, popes, stars, saints, warriors, champions, tyrants and gods.

Here are a couple of examples of 'warrior worship' that I recently collected. This ad is for a computer game, currently on show in London's underground celebrates... well what do you think? And this one on Pepsi Cola bottles champions a soft drink. And lest this seems self-righteously aloof, here is a warrior drawn on his bedroom door(now a storeroom) by my youngest son, then aged 12ish, and at the time a Judge Dread enthusiast. More on the warrior stereotype another day.

State power
In the way that the world turns, an example of state power interrupted this writing. I opened the post to find that my request to be excused jury service because it conflicts with the work I do as a psychotherapist, was refused. I can and will appeal but this probably means shaking out the suit and tie and showing up before the appeal judge. Not that I have anything against jury service as such, no doubt it will provide a sobering experience of the inner psyche of West London, maybe my own included.

If this is the first entry you look at today be sure to check out the new section, Satyagraha, devoted to living from love, living from liking, creating the world we want alongside confrontation of those aspects of the the world we find damaging, or indefensible.

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