Thursday, May 16, 2024



Power is the capacity to effect change. It's an attribute that allows entities, whether individuals, groups, or institutions, to shape outcomes, influence others, and direct the course of events. Power manifests in various forms, from tangible exertion of force to the subtle sway of persuasion. It is the undercurrent of agency and control that propels actions and decisions, shaping the dynamics of relationships and societies. Ultimately, power is the driving force behind the ability to achieve objectives and make an impact in the world around us.    
This is an incredibly difficult topic because we don’t want to face the cold nature of power; we don't want to accept the conclusion of a power that has the ability to negate us and our desires; we don't want to see our limits; we don't want to see the power of oppressive power. (Of course, we have to be careful that in the process of recognizing power we don’t throw away our power). I think the point of recognizing power is, in part, to help us expand the potentials of the innovation of power, most specifically, power toward the realization of freedom; the point is to help us overcome oppressive forms of power.

I don’t think we grasp what’s happening in our time. Theory only matters insofar as it motivates and impacts the forces of power. (This doesn't have to be immediate.) Many a good theory has been crushed by power. What we’re seeing in our time is the rise of an Anti-Intellectual Power, and what’s being missed, is that this anti-intellectual force, has power!

I find it a bit of a struggle to articulate this, to actually get the point across, because it's hard to convey power without giving a crude example. One can stand on the street corner and preach about Human Rights, but if there are repressive forces that can censor, stifle and suppress this activity, prevent it from entering into the public sphere, prevent it from having an impact, then those forces have power. Power has ability, it’s capable of realizing its ideal. The power that’s rising doesn’t care about theory, more importantly, it has the power to crush theory. This is the crucial point. We are seeing vast delusion because of a failure to grasp the situation of power. What this means in terms of theory, is that there’s a need for greater innovation and intelligence when it comes to countering and outsmarting power. But we don’t see this necessary intellectual work taking place.

There are incredibly violent counter revolutionary forces in the world at present. These forces are ready to enact extreme violence on those who don’t comport with, or resist, their vision of power. If we don’t grasp the practicality and limits of our idealism, as it goes up against power, it’s very likely our ideals will be crushed by power. Resistance should never be naive, theory should strive for a grasp of totality.

What I find disturbing, is that the consciousness in the world, that should have a grasp on the dangers of power, is acting as though its idealism is sufficient to overcome the violence of power. This consciousness, doesn’t seem to understand, that it doesn’t actually have the power that its idealism makes it feel it has. In order for this to happen, it first has to win the war of ideas, and this has not happened at the level of legislation, enforcement or popularity. There are always coercive forces in society, the question is a matter of what ideals those forces will correspond to, whose purpose will they serve?

What we see in the culture of modern theory and activism is self-deception, that is, “I feel my theory is powerful, I have been convinced, all I need to do is speak my theory and the rest of the world will follow.” This is delusion. (It's bad enough that there are theorists who seem to think that the mere use of certain words entail, not only a justification of their views, but a kind of political victory, as though they have established their sociology through mere identity). Theories of emancipation, though highly enlightened and psychologically mature, are greatly marginalized and idiosyncratic. We are all insiders of the hyper intellectual cult that cares about freedom, the vast majority of the world lives in engineered ignorance, critical consciousness is a rare and endangered species.

The bottom line is that we aren’t doing what we think we’re doing if we aren’t actually shifting the levers of power, or innovating a way to subvert oppressive power to actually bring about an alteration of conditions. We must be more objective and less idealistic in our evaluations of power; more rational and less emotional in the ways we seek to approach power.
We are in danger. 
Fascistic forces are ready and eager to demonstrate their power through repressive violence. If the best our theory can do is play into the hands of fascist forces, then we’re doing something wrong. 

Show a fascist just how great your conviction for theory is, and he’ll show you just how great his power is to crush your theory and bypass your convictions. It’s irresponsible for resistance not to comprehend the nature of power. Competent theory strives to form praxis from the vantage of totality.

We are living in a paradigm shift of power. The age of regression is upon us. This is easily proven by noting the boldness of genocide and violence in our time. It’s out in the open and proud of itself; it has shaken off the shackles of shame, and discarded the intelligence of conscience, and now it is eager to prove that it can bend the world to its regressive will through violence. (The charge of genocide doesn’t even phase the new paradigm of power.) Tragically, this signifies that the intellectual groundwork has to be laid again, or that it must at least be revived. Our duty against oppressive power, therefore, is first to understand it and then to use this comprehension to innovate ways to circumvent it, turn it against itself, or shift it to the domain of freedom, without being crushed by it.