Idle Musings of the Hypothetical Citizen
"You know, slick, there's one representative for every 400,000 people. And many of those people understand that their single vote is nothing compared to the struggle between interests." And he didn't know the answer but was curious why it didn't result in more decisive action? Perhaps they felt that in moving against wealth they were moving against their own self-interest which would be tantamount to insanity.
"No, slick, the process of alienation is complete."
Lost. What is lost? And where is the transcendent form above the colliding interests? What is properly human: it's joys, sadness, feeling, thought, imagination, creativity, personality all taken from the spirit of the person so he must buy it back from the thief.
Oh soul of the people; blood, bone, and flesh. What is the weight that breaks the equilibrium between my soul and its rationalizations?
And doesn't the state of alienation exist regardless of who is in power and what laws are being made?
The hypothetical citizen was aware of one thing: Democracy wore down the heroic aspects of the human being and so prevented tyrants from gaining any traction. It had the potential of destroying artists and poets, however, so they had to arrogate to themselves something of a magical past that no longer existed, yet remain steadfastly committed to democracy as the ideal. The ideal was never to make everyone the same. The ideal was the get people to desire and work past the thresholds that had been erected in the past. That was the ideal and as long as that ideal was in the mind and heart of the people, democracy lived. The government mattered inasmuch as the government separated deadly enemies and gave some leverage to areas the society, as a whole, needed.
But a democracy was never judged by its government, but by its people. The people are the apex, the government is the foundation. And the wrathful irony of the day was that the foundation had become so fractured, obscure, leviathanite, that the citizen couldn't handle it. It came crashing down on him and destroyed his potential. It was no longer an informing bottom but an absolute limit past which the citizen had no chance of achieving anything.
In the sense of a pure democracy it made sense since all citizens and all issues had to be put on the table to be discussed and threshed out. And it was very evident that the people had thrown off the experts who come swooping down to solve their problems.
If the family was a prison, how then could a real democracy happen? If the workplace was a prison, then where was the real democracy going to take place? And he thought it as a whimsical thought. "Your democracy is judged by its unique and valuable acts, nothing more and nothing less."
And if the people were ground down to celebrate their profound addictions, then where was the democracy?
And it's end would come precisely when the people, rather than bettering themselves, celebrated the gigantism of military and state as evidence of their own greatness.
Ah ignorance, refusing to take advantage of all the resources available! Ah ignorance, refusing to think seriously about what confronts you. Ah ignorance, refusing to make your thought integrated to your daily life where the mass opinions are the treads on which the despised government moves wearily onward. The common treasure! Ah, ignorance that plunges headlong into the world of knowledge and surrenders to the abstractions of men without the pure contemplation of stark reality. Phenomenal world! Tree and word doesn't budge under the scrutiny of machines. The leap of phenomenal world high above the plain of battle as abstraction totters down the street in the mid-noon sun. Down comes the spirit in the pose of revenge to fill up the empty armor of the once victorious army to use it for its own ends!
He often argued with himself that the government and the people had negotiated a fine contract with each other. That, in fact, the government had to respond to the people, especially the property holders, or face the loss of power to their political enemies. The people often used this fear wisely. However, the people themselves never seemed to get the fact that the democracy was about their own development. It had entered that phase and created problems. Out of the stupidity and chaos it would create, a few genuine creative efforts would be made.
"Embody the very best in yourself and love knowledge." That was the key to it. Wisdom would follow after difficult experience. And would these qualities, then, be transferred from generation to generation? Or would each generation, as deTocquivelle suggested, "be its own nation?" The artfulness in a free democracy was to blend the two qualities; to make sure the experience and wisdom of the generations got through but to get a unique angle of attack for each generation so it could live a full cycle of experience.
The destruction of this fine art would result in the erection of tyranny. And what would destroy this fine art? Addiction. Waste. Ignorance. Fear. Among others.
"It's too early," he was told, "to be pessimistic or optimistic about tomorrow..."
© 2003 David Eide. All rights reserved.
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