Wednesday, 01 February 2023

Montoliu: About power and authority

Throughout time and everywhere in the world, specific individuals and groups have imposed their wills on others, from the victors on the battlefields who enslaved their victims to those who defined the role of women to be subservient.


Middle Eastern patriarchies, which had the greatest influence on western civilization, further enshrined obedience as the highest virtue, in this case obedience to a God to whose access they alone declared holding the unique formula. In practical terms that meant submission to the Temple, the Church or the Mosque that were said to exclusively represent divine authority on earth, and that indeed shared, along with the State, tyrannical powers over the populations that had the misfortune of living within their reaches.


It appears to be the curse of all cultures called civilized, even the Aztecs, to have been pathologically obsessed with ideas of conquest, of dominant power, and of the submission and control of the populace under the authority of single rulers or governmental institutions, and in many cases of religious figures and dogma.


No other cultures but the West and the Middle East have historically so successfully used religion as a tool of domination, of coercion, of the breaking of individual will to serve and benefit the various kingdoms and empires whose aims and actions certainly never spoke of humility, but which were on the contrary driven to reign over the world by any means, rationalizing their arrogant and all-too-often abominable transgressions by, ironically, pretending, with the sanctioning of religious institutions, to represent "God's will" on earth.


The idea of submission or obedience as a fundamental necessity for spiritual salvation consequently never applied to the rulers, to those who assumed power over the people and who indeed had to be deified, to be made to rise to the elevated and grotesquely inflated positions of god-king, god-emperors, to be made to embody divine powers, so as to be free to exert tyranny over their own people and those they conquered.


Humanity has not yet completely cleared its own psyche of centuries of such conditioning, and considers questioning authority a daring act, when it is in reality a baby step in the vital process of reclaiming spiritual sovereignty, of restoring the integrity, unity and wholeness of the soul.


People still believe that submission to authority is the foundation of civilization, and are culturally programmed to think that without a fear of the law, without the threat of coercion, they would "revert" to chaos, to anti-social behaviors. They are trained to think that civilization rose out of chaos, of anarchy, of savagery, of barbarism, and that anything that threatens it would recreate such conditions.


Yet were not most so-called primitive cultures more orderly, united, stable, harmonious and grounded in timeless traditions than present societies, which are becoming ever more chaotic, unbalanced, diseased, divided, oppressive and unsafe? Nothing seems to produce chaos more surely than civilization, that is to say coercion, because living under the authority of another or of an institution or government, a person automatically learns to associate freedom with destructive behavior, precisely because freedom means expression, and expression means the ability to release what becomes, under such abnormal and unnatural conditions, prevalent emotions: anger, fear, resentment, rage in extreme cases.


Living under pressure, the civilized mobs periodically release such pressures illegally by participating in riots, in occasional bloody revolutions, and legally in global wars in which their barbarism is unleashed with the blessings of the State and of religious authorities and finds full expression, after which they are made to ponder their own inhumanity, and to welcome ever more control, ever more coercion, ever more "civilization", because told to fear themselves, to completely distrust what is defined for them by religion and science to be a degraded and brutal human nature.


This is why all major wars lead to ever greater losses of individual liberty, to the expansion of bureaucracies, to greater governmental and institutional powers, and to the greater power of those whose immense wealth place them in positions of extreme influence, and who marvel at the ease with which they can manipulate the willingly submissive and self-destructive masses.


Raphael Montoliu lives in Lakeport.


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Upcoming Calendar

1Feb
02.01.2023 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
East Region Town Hall
1Feb
02.01.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clear Lake hitch listening session
2Feb
02.02.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
2Feb
02.02.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
8Feb
02.08.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
100+ Women Strong in Lake County
9Feb
02.09.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
11Feb
11Feb
02.11.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild

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