Systems failure

Saturday 31 May 2008

The authority that we need must be total. It can no longer come from mere church mandate or Bible interpretation, but it must also come from our souls. We need Christians who have souls!

Only people with inner authority, what Gandhi called "soul force", are capable of true nonviolence. Only they can both let things be and call them into being. They alone create. All the rest of us simply rearrange.

Richard Rohr, Near Occasions of Grace

I am thinking of about seven different strands this morning regarding systems and their failures. Whether I can whittle it down into something coherent remains to be seen :) Kent is talking on his blog about the failure of law to bring about what we intend it to bring about. Once you start seeing it, it's very difficult to stop seeing how our efforts to enforce our safety and security by law backfire.

I think of the new law encoded recently by the Australian Football League. Because of one incident occurring several weeks ago involving an interchange stuff-up, the League, in typical reactionary fashion, has introduced a convoluted new system of rules and regulations that I can't even be fucked looking into, to be honest, to try and stop something so horrible and market-share-reducing as a mistake.

Knee-jerk reactions by insecure people who feel like they have to be seen to do something by the general insecure public, most of who want something done, something coded, something fixed, goddammit, so that they can feel like they've got some control.

Well, you know what, people? We're not in control. We never have been. Control is an illusion, designed by your fearful brain to make you feel like enshrining laws is going to make the world a safer place. But you know what? Enshrining laws just contributes to the feeling that most people have that they don't get to really be themselves, to any sort of degree, because they don't know what the rules are. If someone will just tell them the rules, then everything will be okay.

But it won't be okay. Not until we all start taking goddamn responsiblity for being in our own skins, instead of wanting a bunch of people in uniforms to tell us how it should be done. What happens if deep down we often know how it should be done, whatever that means at any one time, for a particular situation? Imagine if, using our God-given inner authority, we got about living on gut feelings and compassion and reasoning and logic and common sense and aesthetics and paradox and because the sky screams it instead of doing it because rule 3.5(a)(1) says so?

Knowing for ourselves what is right, stops us from being coerced and manipulated by people whose motives are generally ulterior. Hell, everyone's motives are ulterior. We've all got agendas. The good widdle government man isn't just encoding a law to make you feel safer. He's encoding a law because he doesn't really know what the fuck to do, and this sounds alright, and it'll quell the vocal fearful.

Every law that is encoded to make you feel safer takes away a tiny little bit of you, and your own ability to act (or not) out of what you know is right. Acting because a law says so when your head and heart are not in agreement is not acting at all, it's following. Walking about in a world that is so blanketed in rules and laws is not freedom. The guy in prison because he's tanked himself up on crystal meth is a total danger to society, and in that situation steps need to be taken to try to minimise the harm to himself and others.

But a world that never questions the policeman nor the law behind him - that's a million times more dangerous. People who have been taught to not question or think for themselves? They're the most dangerous because they never have to question why they are manipulative, vengeful, hateful, and happy to lord it over others in the name of politics, religion, peace or safety.

It just won't wash. Or it shouldn't. But it does, every day, with fabric conditioner to boot. Because we've been taught that we can't do anything about it. That's the worst part about living for the rules. It might make you think you're safe, but really it's just making you not think much at all.

All the better to manipulate you with.

Now Radio Susie is gonna be singing I Am the Law by Human League all afternoon :)

It's a beautiful day out there, the last day of Autumn. It's a beautiful thang, also, to be aware of all of this systemic shit, to get passionate about it, but to not get carried away by despair over it. That's no small thing in this society.

The sun is shining and the shit goes on, but that's our world. Happy Saturday, bloggers :)

Edit: And anyway, I can't get too despondent about too much happening in the world because I really believe that, underneath it all, waves like this are coming. I can feel it in my marrow. And I've never ever learnt to surf but I've always always wanted to :)


  1. It's all grace Sue and a part of Father's unfolding purposes. I really feel no need to kick against it, just to continue to awaken to it and shake free from it...and be involved with what the Spirit is already doing in the world.

    "A singing bird in an open cage who will only fly only fly for freedom." Everything else is wasted energy.

  2. Hey dude.

    Yeah, hmmmm, I see it a little bit different from my position. I do feel the need to kick against it, to testify against it (as wanky as that sounds). Not out of anger (although there is that) but out of something else that I can't quie describe. It's something I need to do. It feels right to me. It needs to be spoken about and written about. Or at least, I need to :)

  3. maybe I expressed that wrong? I'm talking about it with folks when the opportunity arises and when they seem to be open to talking about it. I just don't really feel any angst about it anymore.

  4. and also, if it turns out that you are feeling a bit differently about what you are to do with it then I am...that's the beauty of our uniqueness. No problem at all with that.

  5. Oh, okay, I get you now :) I was misinterpreting what you were saying a bit, but I wasn't thinking you were having a go at me or anything (I'm not paranoid all the time :)

    Yes, I don't feel angst about it anymore either. Isn't it wonderful. It's just this kind of calmness. But I do feel anger at the way the system messes with everyone.

    But yeah, that grace. That realisation that this is very far from what we want and need. One of the joys I've found over the last 7 or 8 years is the validation of all the things inside that want to bear expression that society has said don't fit. And knowing that those flutterings and whisperings and desires are God-breathed, or at least God-influenced and grow in turn by his inspiring me - it's magic :)

  6. Sue, I'm with you in hating what it does to people.

  7. Nice subversive post there...Very punk

    What about this one from an earlier period Kent..

    " I heard a singer on the radio late last night, said he/shes gonna kick the darkness till it bleeds daylight..."

    I think with the call to trust, and leave everything but love behind, also comes the call to kick the darkness. Those who are anchored in the love that comes from beyond all praise and blame may despair at times, may rage and wallow at times, but will also rise on wings of eagles..

    (despite appearances)



    Believe in love.

    Ok Edge, play the blues...

  8. Urban Monk, how can I argue with that...very well stated.

  9. Preach it, bruddah. Preach it :)


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