Monday, February 13, 2006

The will of the people.

A friend made a remark today that sparked of a chain of thoughts. “What if,” he said, “what we are seeing truly is the will of the people?” Something in me reacted at the gut level – the people have no will! I wanted to scream – but I went away with this little episode churning in my head and then after a while the veils began to drop.

Man has a will when he is substantively engaged in his life. When he is producing it and consuming it by his own volition. When he is experiencing his life through his own senses and reflecting upon it through his own mind. When he is engaged with his humanity actively and not as a passive automaton.

“Man is the subject of History”, Marx once said. History is about Man and it is Man who creates it. Therein lies the dialectic of the will.

Today we live vicariously. We live through the produce of others and we consume our lives vicariously watching others paid to go through the entertaining pretenses of living it. We, at best, negotiate our right to exist and are awarded our consumption rights – each according to our credit histories.

We have abdicated our rights to experience our lives unmediated and with that we have abdicated our rights to our wills. The will of the people is a prime time TV show. If the ratings continue to drop it will be cancelled and not even a re-run will be forthcoming.

Why did this happen? The Founding Fathers enshrined for us the right to the pursuit of happiness – somehow that got switched to the pursuit of the happy hour somewhere along the way. The one deals with producing and experiencing joy the other deals with maximizing one’s consumption of it.

There are those who would have it so. For to have a society that is actively engaged in producing life implies a society that reflects upon the world around it, understands it and knows both it’s own and the worlds limits. It is a society where the will of the people is the primary mediator in its symbiosis with the world and life. Here the will of the people resides in We The People. It is a will that rests on autonomous thought. And there is no greater subversion of authority than that.

Authority and Will cannot co-exist. The one derives its ‘will’ by command. The other by experience and reflexion. As it is said in the Lord’s Prayer. It is the Lord’s Will that is to be done not ours. That is why Secular and Democracy are symbiotically bound and that is why a non-secular democracy is an oxymoron. But if experience and reflexion can be cut off then the link to one’s will is severed. And society can be granted the illusion of willing what we see today and still not see that they live in a suicidal illusion.

What we are seeing today is not the will of the people – it is a people without a will, in every sense of the word.

The question that remains then is why should an all powerful, omniscient God be interested in a species as pathetic as this?