Posts Tagged ‘politics’

on the mastery, or control, of emotions

March 17th, 2015 No comments

In “The 48 Laws of Power”, author Greene states that

one of power’s crucial foundations is the ability to master your emotions. An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power. Emotions cloud reason, and if you cannot see the situation clearly, you cannot prepare for and respond to it with control

If indeed an emotional response is one that clouds reason and hinders a rational assessment and response to a situation, and thus results in a reduced scope or a total loss of power, then it follows that the “infantilization” of the public and the overemphasizing of all aspects emotional and sentimental in the individual, that we have seen as a clear, established, and rising, trend in recent politics, is evidently looking to undermine, weaken and ultimately eradicate all manner of power in the individual sphere, the power of the individual to determine his own answer to a situation, his own rational reaction, searching to make him respond, act and conduct himself more like a child, in a sphere where only emotions that have been directed, manufactured and packaged by those holding positions of power, hold sway over the individual. Never have we heard so much talk about developing critical reasoning abilities in the individual while doing the exact opposite from state-controlled “public education.”

tie the knot / 刺钢丝

The deliberate debilitation of responsibility and stupidification of public life, as well as the widely held belief that if you were inspired by good intentions and lofty goals – no matter how empty-headed and misguided – then you did not, could not act wrong and you are thus excused of any harmful consequences of your actions, are manifestations of this trend, of this (not so) subtle and debilitating maneuvering.  Furthermore, one does not even need to measure the effect of one’s actions and decisions that were inspired this way.

In the age of narcissistic solipsism, the vindication of sentiment, the spurts of bland sentimentalism, empty good-willing grand statements, do-goody blatitudes and inane bleatings that we’ve had, and continue to, endure from our politicians and the media all look to extol the validity of sentimental response as supreme, to establish it as a superior and better thing that being a colder and more rational.  In this way, the individual loses and relinquishes, without even realizing it – which is the best way to co-opt somebody’s resistance-less cooperation – the capacity to react, to assert his own response.  Without as much as missing it, or even realizing he had it in the first place. This means a neat power transfer from the individual to the upper instances who actually hold power, and seek to accrue it.

Categories: rants Tags: , ,

return of the conviction politician? WTF?

February 18th, 2015 No comments

I was reading this short article on the idea of the return of the “conviction politician” (whatever that might exactly be) and the, as of late, much adored, and hitherto unknown, Varoufakis. Frankly, this “conviction politician” idea does not seem to be that sound, if not downright scary. Were not Stalin, Mao or Hitler men of conviction too?

It’s a simple question, are we talking about a the management of a country or about vague, and mostly outdated, ideologies detached from reality, and in fact, impervious to it? Personal convictions usually rest on prejudices and ideologies that often are not amenable to any analysis of reality, and which tend to avoid realistic assessment of our environment when that assessment is going to yield results that do not fit in the range of acceptable results according to our set of beliefs.

It’s even funnier if you consider what would be the scenario if the “conviction politician” were to be one of traditional and/or religious convictions.  I can almost hear the cries, the outrage, the indignation from the usual flank of leftish commentators, who in fact, are ferociously conservative and fascist.

However, if the “conviction politician” is one that shares my convictions – he’s one of our tribe, of our church – then it’s a good thing.  It’s like freedom of expression, as long as it is my ideas that get voiced, all is well.

While a 100% technocratic with no “soul” approach is no good thing, having the wrong convictions and a twisted moral compass is no good either. Nothing proved that better that the worst moments of the XXth century, and the Soviets demonstrated what horrendous outcome results if you combine both things. If your approach is to appeal to solidarity after having binged on other people’s money, and having issued public debt like crazy on the backs of future generations (now, that’s some fucking solidarity as well), and the ask everyone to share the burden, what kind of proper and “right” conviction is that?

And that’s without even entering a discussion of one’s own idea of “right” vs. “what works” or “what has to be done” if you really want to do something for “the hungry in the streets of our cities”.  “The hungry in the streets of our cities” have been created by the reckless fiscal and budgetary indiscipline of the state and its very poor management of the economy, its siphoning off of resources from the real economy to its own expenditure, be it on feeding the beast, be it on its numerous and tangled client network, lobbies and vested interests as well as the social engineering experiments it loves to indulge in; by its meddling with job markets, by taxing companies into oblivion and discouraging individual initiative.

And of course by the absolute refusal to ever admit you were wrong, your policies were wrong or misfired. Never! It’s a sign of our times, this refusal to accept the consequences of our actions and decisions. We can see that across the entire gamut, from the single individual to the public sector and the state. It’s a habit that has permeated into the very fabric of what our societies are and the terms in which they think of themselves. Just like thingking that anything you do with the “right and good” intention has to be inherently right. It does not matter if those good intentions have unintended and wrecking consequences. It was done with good intentions in mind in the first place, so it is all justified.

There’s never any discussion of freeing up the economy, of loosening up the shackles the public sector has on the private sector, the sticks in the wheels.  Apparently solutions must be found within a very narrow set of options, because there are many taboos.  A very interested cadre of state lovers has succeeded in beatifying the state, pushing for the identification (confusion) between people and state, and often successfully. No matter how strong, your convictions and ideology aren’t feeding anybody, except maybe you. They become self-serving.  More worried with saving face against the promises and the “red lines” that were constrained in the first place by your own convictions. Since the discussion seems to be Kantian and philosophical, I’d recommend revisiting the concept of Schuld in Nietzsche. Maybe that can help point the moral compass in the “right” direction.

Categories: contemporary, rants Tags: , ,