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Re: sloanpolitik

Date:          Thu, 29 Feb 1996 12:30:42 +0100 (MET)
From:          Per L}ngstr|m <s94pla\!/csd.uu.se>
Subject:       Re: sloanpolitik
To:            Michael Damian Catano <mcatano\!/is.dal.ca>
Cc:            Sloan Net <jrcovey+sloan\!/ac.dal.ca>

to express the point i tried to make..

On Thu, 29 Feb 1996, Michael Damian Catano wrote:

> anyhoo, it's an interesting 
> debate. i think the key is to accept/remember that passivity and 
> apoliticism is just as "political" as dynamism and conviction.  

political passivity is not as "political" as conviction i am afraid. the 
people in power don't take much notice to you if you just keep being 
passive. they just think you silently agree and are happy with that as 
that's what keeps them in power. 


This whole debate gets me to thinking what exactly is at the root of 
the debate.  That would be power.  Because at the root of politics is 
the search (for some people, the need) for power.  At least, I think 
so.  Even if people go into politics with intentions to do "good" 
("good" being a relative term, depending on which point of view you 
come from.  For example, one person's good might be to make a free-er 
climate for businesses to work in, free of gov't interference.  
Another person's good might be to make a climate in which business' 
operations are strictly monitored for, for example, pollution levels 
and such.  I guess that all depends on your politics.  I know, this 
is a circular argument of sorts.  I'm shutting up know), they go into 
politics so they can appropriate the necessary power to do "good".  
I'm no political scientist, but it seems to me that questions of 
power come necessarily with questions of politics.

That having been said, what does it mean when we are apolitical.  I 
think one thing it could mean is that at the root, one does not want 
to be responsible for one's actions.  Power gives one responsibility 
for one's actions.  (With great power comes great 
responsibility--really wise words from Peter Parker)  So although 
it's true that great power can be abused, I think you'll find that 
historically such abuse is reciprocally punished (i.e. Caligula is 
murdered after his reign of terror; the whole damn world gangs up on 
Hitler; the abuses of the industrial revolution are somewhat 
countermanded by the formation of unions; Brian Mulroney will 
eventually go to jail for all he did wrong, though not in a while).  
What I'm trying to say here is that power is not necessarily evil.  
Power implies the power to do right and the power to do wrong.  So, 
again I say, what does it mean to be apolitical?  It could mean one 
wants to be bossed around like a child, and then complain about it 
afterwards.  To be without power is to be helpless.  

That having been said, I am apolitical, mainly because I don't want 
to get caught up in the power games, most of which I believe to be 
immoral.  Thus, I maintain that it is not power that is immoral, but 
the way we go about getting power, at least in its current form. 
Most of the times, power games are not about guiding people to a
 better future.  It's usually about leading them by the nose to put more food
 in your trough, or the trough of another powerful person.  That way 
the same people get the best and the most, 'cause all the little 
animals on the farm are working they're asses off and getting 
repetitive stress disorders to feed the fattest animals on the farm.

But it is also interesting to note that the fattest animals on the 
farm have to work quite hard, albeit in their own way, to stay at the 
top of the pecking order.  They have to make sure that their 
neighbours isn't getting too much fatter than they are, and as such 
cut in on his ressources of pawns.  So the fattest are in a constant 
battle for more power, because if they are getting more power, it 
means that their situation, at the very least, won't degenerate.  It 
might even improve and they might get fatter.  So everyone is caught 
up in the battle for power, including the middle pigs, who serve the 
fattest pigs. 

So as such, I don't know if it is worthwhile to enter into such a 
system.  It keeps everyone in a constant race, on the one extreme for 
survival and on the other for more power.  The nice thing about the 
system however is that it is there. It is in place and functionning.  
As such, it is relatively easy to maintain.  It has a lot of social inertia 
pushing it forward.

So as members of society, there are two lazy ways to do things.  One, 
we can enter into the system and play by its quite well-established 
rules.  Two, we can pretend to ignore the system, and be those same 
pawns i was talking about, always scurrying about for survival, in 
fact to busy scurrying and burning out for survival to understand 
that there is plenty of food to go around, and that by scurrying and 
burning ourselves out for survival we just make it that much easier 
for the fattest to get fatter, or at the very least keep eating more 
food than should be coming to them.

I believe there might be a third alternative.  Instead of scurrying 
and infighting over power, and playing the game of who can best 
dominate other people, we should probably act to, well, try to attain 
well-being, and convincing other people that they should be seeking 
well-being instead of power. (I know that probably sounds terribly 
like a cliche...)   'Cause I don't really think that power 
makes you happy, at least in its current form.  This however, is much 
harder to attain than just seeking power in the current system.  In a 
sense, it is forming a better system.  Though this actually sounds a 
lot like something Marx would say...oh well. 

Oh well, reflections off the top of my head.  Feel free to cut them
down or consider it irrelevent as you see fit.  Even better, point 
out any perceived inconsistencies.

Sorry for the length.       
"Fingers burn clean inside-out from the marrow to the skin
An explosion of sin.
Fire cleans
And leaves a different kind of mess.
Intangible. Like life."

- Soulboy

"Naked we come 
And bruised we go.
Nude pastry
For the slow, soft worms below."

- Jim "asshole" Morrison