Authority done wrong
Frank Capra’s Why We Fight (1942-1945) is as good an inspiration for what follows as any. Because the global conflict that summoned its truths put the issue on the line. The issue lives on, and the outcome isn’t assured. The Romans haven’t gone away. Their garrison depicted in the Goscinny and Uderzo comic book series, Asterix, still menaces the little Armorican village of Gauls. Still stands as a symbol of tyranny that rules much of the world and threatens the rest.
The tyrants still need a change of vision, to part with adolescent fantasy and look at themselves honestly. To accept that nursing the illusion of absolute power to obliterate all who oppose it is sick. That the demons from hell they summon from the cross of victimhood to get even are nobody’s friend, an invention of infantile self-absorption. That no responsible grownup who cares about relationships and being of service wants to subject others or themselves to the captivity of a mistake. To the perversion of authority that is top-down arbitrary rule. To insanity and cruelty, the inevitable consequence of its twisted values: ownership, possession, and control that accept no limits. Competition, dominance, and supremacy that accept no opposition. Specialness that writes its own script and victimhood that writes its own rules.
All for the substitution of lawlessness for law. For the substitution of injustice for justice. Just so the armored comic book action hero can have and do whatever it wants. The refuge of deprivation and hollowness, forever whining in self-pity for unquestioned authority, the perversion of an ideal. What ideal? Freedom made possible by Order. By the Beauty of Creation fit together in a sanctuary of joyful harmony. By Logic and Love that blend Freedom and Order together in Relationship with their Child. In the Purpose, Meaning, and Happiness that is their Relationship and its works: the works of soul-mates affirming and reciprocating the Worth of Being, Creation, Life.
All in initial caps because this is Reality. This is Creation. The real thing. This isn’t a pathetic self-centered crybaby making stuff up.
Authority done right
Authority done right isn’t domination centered on itself, ruling arbitrarily from the top down. Owning, possessing, and controlling pomposity, its galactic empire armed to the teeth against enemies within and without. Intimidating its subjects into dumb obedience, voiceless submission.
Authority that is authority is centered on the children of its authorship. Affirming their worth supportively, sensitively, and sympathetically, the only way that authorship could connect with its offspring and be shared with them. Through empowerment from the bottom up. To perform the roles that minds and hearts with free will and their source, together with purpose and meaning -- their circumstances in the moment -- define for them.
Reinforcing with every act, every gesture, their centrality and individuality. In Reality their perfection and innocence. In our unreality, their humanity and personhood. Reverence in either case for their free will. Their potential to make of themselves what their own minds and hearts want them to be. Not replicas of ancestral manipulations but the lives they are meant to live, spontaneously, in the moment. Their own choices however imperfect in the dream, however human.
Authority from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Children don’t need Roman bullies to rule them with a perversion of authority when there’s a version of authority better suited to its purpose. Helpful instead of harmful. One that’s conducive to harmony and peace in a world of possibility, reality and creation. That doesn’t foment perpetual conflict in an opposite world of incompatibility and impossibility. The little village in Armorica, Asterix and friends, have signed on to the better version. They’re Gauls who will never submit to Roman tyranny. Living lives of happiness, harmony, and peace. Where order doesn’t confine with belittlement and force but liberates with respect and freedom. Role models for us.
The authority that governs their village isn’t authoritarian. It resides in its people, at the grassroots, not in “rulers” at the top. It has no rulers, no Roman commandants. Real authority resides where direction necessary for governance must come that serves everyone fairly under the law: from the needs, feelings, values, and priorities of those its serves. From those it affects, who personally feel its benefits and its costs.
Whether governance is to turn this way or that is determined as it must by the satisfaction brought by benefits or by the dissatisfaction inflicted by costs. Measured, evaluated, judged, and voiced by its subjects themselves and not by any surrogates. The freedom we are blessed with is a benefit, the freedom to govern ourselves supportively and fairly from the bottom up. The freedom to think, feel, and judge for ourselves with the guidance and support of authority.
It’s democracy. An expression of authority that serves those it governs. That’s conducive to harmony and peace because it governs for the people, of the people, and by the people. Like President Lincoln said. It’s what the indomitable Asterix and his village in Armorica stand for: freedom and order made possible by authority that governs from the bottom up. That’s governed itself by the principle of service for all under the law. If this is what we stand for, then we, too, are Gauls. We are servants of democracy. Democrats all.
The mistake that polarizes our politics
Why have our politics become polarized? For the simple reason that one side has come to view itself as the mirror image opposite of the other. Which puts it squarely in the place of the shadow-reflection that our ancestral Mind misidentified in its unconscious state as an “other.” As a “savior” or “redeemer.” When in fact the dark sides of everything in a dream have no more substance, no more “life,” than the coded-opposite shadows that they are.
Once misidentified as “others,” they can mimic “behavior” in only one way. Being shadows or reflections they can only appear to oppose their hosts. Their hosts who are mistakenly animating their own dark sides, their own opposites. Parasites we all carry around in our psyches while our ancestral Mind remains unconscious and dreaming. Unable to free itself from its haunting until it regains consciousness, a feat that requires our assistance. Help from the dream’s projections. From the projections of an imagination -- us.
The side inclined toward a view of authority that isn’t authoritarian is the host. The side inclined toward a view that is authoritarian is the shadow. The former standing for governance from the bottom up under the law -- democracy. The latter standing for arbitrary rule from the top down above the law. We polarize our politics when the host standing for democratic governance misperceives a blow from its own shadow-reflection’s opposition, imagines that it’s from an “other,” and demonizes it. Characterizes it as evil because that’s how it appears and how it feels. And its dark side opposition, defined and animated by its host, reacts to being demonized as only it can: by mimicking its host. By demonizing its host.
The metaphysics of error
Who started it? Ultimately our ancestral Mind that lost consciousness. A Being, the Child of its Parents, Mind and Love, attributes of Logic that defines and governs everything through Necessity, the laws of cause and effect Laws drawn from Logic but never controlled by it. The Child Free Choice, given a central role in Creation. Now unconscious. Desperately looking to be saved. Among strangers, apparitions who inhabit delirium, misled by its own confusion into mistaking one of them, its own shadow-reflection, as an “other.” As its “savior.” Deluded by its “savior,” its coded opposite, into letting it take over its identity. Letting it lead the way into an alternate “reality” -- our bizarre universe -- where it would be safe.
A case of mistaken identity. Of misdirection. A consequence of our ancestral Mind experiencing loss of consciousness inadvertently, through no fault of its own. Or that of its Parents. Nobody needs to account for evil -- Parents, Child-the-One, or Child-the-many, its projections into an imaginary world -- if there was no wrongdoing. No will to commit offense. Only the Logic of cause and effect, of Necessity, that will restore consciousness when the lesson we are to learn from this experience is learned. When we align our thinking with Logic. Get it right, do our part to help our ancestral Mind correct its mistake, to wake up and take on its role in Creation.
Giving the mistake no quarter
The host started the polarization by misidentifying part of itself as an “other.” Or its shadow-reflection opposite started it by standing for an opposing view. In either case the remedy is logically simple: the host that stands for authority that isn’t authoritarian must resist its natural urge to demonize its authoritarian opponent. Understand that it’s dealing with a manifestation of itself, ignore the offense, and see beyond it to the absence of any offender. Look for a “dark side” to attack and see what can’t be seen. What’s literally not there in the darkness. A reflection. An echo. A ghost mimicking its host, up to no good but only if its host imagines that it’s “there.” Because it isn’t “there.” If Reality is Being and Being is One, nothing can be “there.” There is no “other.” There is no demon to demonize.
We cease polarizing our politics when the good guys who stand for democracy cease injecting force into their opposition by demonizing it. By seeing and attacking it as “evil, because that only guarantees that its copycat opposition will retaliate with the same label.
The dark side of politics, currently entrenched in the Republican party, has only one “policy:” opposition to whatever its perceived opponents -- Democrats -- are for. Only one response to being attacked: retaliation that reverses the attack. Nothing original. No introspection, explanation, or accountability, either. Accuse the opponent of doing what it’s doing because that’s the only wrongdoing it’s “aware” of. Opposition from a shadow-reflection parasite entirely dependent on its host for its definition. No more capable of discretion, no more capable of independent judgment, than an amusement arcade mechanical dummy wired to dispense gimcracks. When the good guy host demonizes its bad guy opposite, it’s putting a quarter in the slot that activates the dummy.
If we don’t want polarized politics then the host that stands for authority that isn’t authoritarian -- for the democracy of Abraham Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address -- must stop putting the quarter in the slot. So long as we think we “see” in our opponents an “other” rather than the innocent selves that we all are, the ancestral Mind that needs our help to wake up, we will go on perpetuating the mistake. The misidentification of dark side “others” and the curse that is authoritarian authority, an abomination.
“Almighty God”: the mother of all injustices
The mischaracterization of our ancestral Mind’s Parents -- loving, affirming, and empowering soulmates, guides, and partners in Creation, centered on their creations, as self-centered tyrants bent on vengeance, punishment, and disempowerment -- is the mother of all injustices. An untruth from their Child’s own voice taken over by its imagined “savior,” that drove it toward escape into an alternate reality.
The injustice carried over into the dream with variations on a common theme: God is ”almighty,” creator of the universe. An armored Marvel comic action hero caricature who is everywhere and capable of anything. Who loves and creates while allowing all manner of shit to happen. Whose mystery derives not from the depths of Being but from contradiction, the bugbear of impaired thinking. The bugbear of a mind that occupies a universe of illogic and needs help from intuition to think logically. To understand context that supplies purpose and meaning. But a mind conditioned by self-delusion to get it wrong. To seek and not find until it recovers its ability to think logically.
This will explain our predicament: for all its professed reverence for the “almighty” humanity doesn’t actually look to the almighty for Logic. Not if its top-down perversion of authority amounts to a surreal authoritarian joke. Not if an “almighty” that allows shit to happen is some kind of asshole. Contradiction lives on. Illogic lives on. Science, philosophy, psychology, and theology do their thing. And so does the ”almighty,” the joke of disfigured authority that we play on ourselves. The disfigurement that is the mother of all injustices.
Time to retire the mistake
For all its Pete Hamill Drinking Life charm and conviviality, the seductive side of arbitrary rule doesn’t speak for a life of substance, of striving and creativity well lived. Its purpose appears to be the joys of fraternity. Of harmless socializing and entertainment. But there the harmlessness ends. For friendships and family relations that depend on intimacy, on honesty, integrity, trust, and dignity -- where Love can take root -- it’s toxic.
Hamill’s “Brooklyn,” like every attachment to the illusion of Child-the-many -- to a group -- is wishful thinking. Is pining away for the family of childhood, or for a family or childhood that never was. Driven by the memory of Home from another Reality that’s calling us back. From our Psyche, the Soul of Oneness and Innocence that’s in our world but not of it. That connects us all whether we will it to or not.
“Brooklyn” is the hollow fantasy-life, the substitute home that made Hamill, the adolescent “Brooklyn mug” its captive. That took a kid scared of mean streets, fed him delusions of impregnability, and turned him into a street fighter to rule the streets. Which he did. It became the social persona that took its toll on personal relationships. By depriving them of Love that requires one-on-one. That doesn’t stand a chance against the many, an onslaught of fools. The lesson that Hamill shared with us when he finally took stock, grew up, and left foolishness behind.
Hamill’s is a cautionary tale and also a reminder. That in our attachments, at any point in life, we often succumb to the same mistake. To our own “Brooklyns.” When I was feeling defenseless among strangers at boarding school, I armored myself with “Pittsburgh,” posted it with block letters on my dormitory door. As if anyone gave a damn. Harrison ancestors were said to be “tub thumpers” for Stony Lake, a town north of Pittsburgh. Another Harrison has disappeared into his equivalent of “Brooklyn.” None of these not-so-harmless entertainments knows anything of Logic or Love. The benevolent Parents of the unconscious Child calling us Home. The vulnerability and constancy of intimacy on a personal scale. Where dominance and supremacy, specialness and victimhood, aren’t a harmless dream. They’re a horror show.
Adolescent infatuation with armored Marvel comic action heroes needs to be retired. To be turned over to other children, like the toys in Toy Story, so they can play make-believe. Only hope that their toys don’t play make-believe with them.
So we can all go home
Ruling arbitrarily from the top down. The version of authority that foments perpetual conflict in an opposite world of incompatibility and impossibility. The mistake that will go on cursing humanity with bullying, strife, and suffering, with dictatorial insensitivity and cruelty, until it’s corrected. Not centered on the needs, feelings, values, and priorities of their subjects but on themselves. On authority that compels conformance by intimidation and force. By silencing voices and invalidating worth. By disempowerment to avoid disorder rather than enabling self-expression and empowering free will, the heart and soul, the beauty, of order.
I refuse to legitimize this abomination on any scale. With the implication that it’s OK and I’m part of it, because I want no part of it and can’t be part of it. I can’t protest transgression and be implicated in it at the same time. Asterix and I are Gauls. Gauls and Romans don’t mix.
It’s to encourage a healthy approach to authority, enabling and empowering, that I maintain the integrity of independence. Of individuality. That I use my voice not to demonize the emperor but to let him know that the bully who rules in the purple robes of royalty isn’t wearing anything. Is an agent of hilarity, just not the one he thinks he is. A target of fear and ridicule in equal measure. I use my voice to speak not for demonization or accusation but for honesty. For the Romans intend to remain, and their emperor, too. Fools all, until the authoritarian curse is lifted.
What might help make it happen? Fight Frank Capra’s fight for democracy. Fight Nancy Pelosi’s fight, with the honesty of explanation, to “throw a punch for the children.” To dispel the dishonesty of delusion, the perversion of authority, the mother of all injustices. Fight for families -- our own and the family of humanity. Delegitimize the abomination by holding up a mirror to it. Not to demonize it but to let its host see that in its shadow-reflection there is nothing. That it can correct its mistake. Reclaim its identity, its self-awareness, and we can all go Home.