This nagging questioning goes through the centuries and the answer invariably leans towards the same observation that has sorry many authors, scholars, scholars:
“The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not as dangerous as the apathy of citizens in a democracy”Montesquieu (1689-1755)
“There is no more cruel tyranny than that which is exercised in the shadow of the law and in the colors of justice.”Montesquieu.
“It is easier to raise a barbaric nation to the highest degree of power than to draw a polished nation out of mediocrity.” Denis Diderot (“The Encyclopedia”, 1751-1772).
Why have so many citizens and peoples subjected themselves to tyrants and why have they failed to develop more peaceful, equitable societies capable of placing human beings at the center of their institutions? Wars to plunder the wealth of its neighbors and slave them, wars of conquest to seize political power over the most extensive territories, colonial wars to capture economic, mining and energy resources and to sell the production of its factories to the richest class of these colonies. Military wars but more and more trade wars to impose the liberal capitalist ideology throughout the world and thus to enrich ever more the new masters of the world, Anglo-Saxon financiers who managed to divert the wealth produced by the work of all for their own profit. Wars with climate, chemical, biological weapons with bacteria and viruses have recently been launched, and new wars are taking advantage of the latest scientific discoveries unknown to the public and under military secrecy to maximize the profits of the richest people over and over again. Financial and then economic crises to indebt competitors on the market, banks, companies, small savers, households until bankruptcy because of the tyranny of shareholders and always the apathy of citizens in the current democracies…
Are we in a democracy? Can a democracy be controlled, funded, and directed by global high finance? Surely, since citizens are demanding more democracy and less social inequality while ignoring who really governs politics, the economy, our societies and production, distribution, consumption of the wealth produced by the work of all and are content to ignore who leads the increase in inequality.
“The perversion of the city begins with the fraud of the words “
Misnaming things adds to the woes of the worldCamus.
Who uses word fraud and manipulates citizens by misnaming things? Not the poet speaking here!
Yet the work of archeologists, ethnologists, historians, discovers extinct civilizations, first peoples possessing a way of life far superior to that imposed for centuries by European leaders.
And in Europe the remains of the prosperous periods still bear witness that our elders, with the means at their disposal at the time, shared better the wealth produced in the cities and the countryside and that they managed in their communal assemblies, their free cities. Of course, we can restore a better way of living together – one that is more just, equitable, humanistic, peaceful, in tune with nature, and responsive to our reasons for living.
As a young poet, sitting on the rock at the top of the mountain that dominates the plain and the surrounding landscape, we are faced with this essential question: How, after the Strasbourg cathedral and its arrow visible in the distance, after the Mont Sainte Odile in front of us, were the men able, there on the right and on the side of the mountain, to build a Nazi concentration and extermination camp? The poet grew up and traveled this path of knowledge that brings together the spiritual and the rational. This knowledge explains the relationship between the Benedictine convent and the Gothic cathedral, but this knowledge also reveals the way from its origin on the banks of the Nile, the preservation in the year 500 at Mount Cassin of the remains of Egyptian and Greek knowledge, knowledge of the Middle East and Celtic peoples, then through the Benedictine movement, the use of this new knowledge to rebuild Europe after the destruction of the Roman Empire and the great invasions.
The poet does not deceive with words and in the face of the woes of the world, he breaks the false dogmas, myths and fables that serve to mask the crimes and misdeeds of the leaders who need to dominate the peoples to enrich themselves without limits by usurping the power to organize a human society.
In our student room, while writing, reading, we discovered Hannah Arendt, a philosopher, who also wondered why humanity could pass from the flourishing civilizations of ancient Egypt and Greece to the crimes against humanity committed in the name of ideologies such as Nazism, communism, fascism. How did we get to Auschwitz from Athens? The horrors committed and endured over the centuries mark this path to the Shoah, an indelible crime of the twentieth century. Ian Kershaw writes: “The path to Auschwitz was built by hatred, but paved with indifference.”
The rejection of this conformism, this blind submission to authority, to the situation of the agent according to Milgram, will lead Hannah Arendt to the positive and constructive definition of Power: a gathering of equal men committed to action. It corresponds to “the ability to act in a concerted manner” and “it springs up among men when they act together. “
Allow the poet to complete the philosopher’s words: the ability to act means the competence brought by the learnings experienced through the initiatory journey. To act in a concerted manner is to be found within the framework of network organizations, in participatory local direct democracy, and not within the framework of the systems of power where it is necessary to obey the minority that occupies the top of the hierarchy. “Power springs from among men” indicates that it is never the same and here we address the subsidiarity that organizes the action of networks: obtain the optimal solution and then adapt it to local circumstances. The optimal solution does emerge from the group of experts who work together until they obtain it based on the knowledge available at that moment.
Thus, the first mission of a power is the selection, from among the available knowledge, of those which support its action and its development. Knowledge contrary to its interests is then declared forbidden, taboos. They exist even if they are no longer taught. On the other hand, a “good” lawyer must know the positive law, the solutions used by the ruling power, but also the law prohibited by this power. When a social group is in crisis, in murderous conflicts, and the positive law no longer presents solutions, the lawyer then uses the solutions used in the past by other powers, which have been successful in the past but have been discarded by the following political regimes according to other political, economic, social and cultural interests. Among this prohibited right, solutions to unblock a social group, a country, a human society are put back in place.
Hannah Arendt describes how the liberal capitalist economic power system works and its excesses through ideological dictatorships like Nazism and Fascism. It also provides the solution, the other possibility by referring to the functioning of the ancient Greek cities and thus, the Egyptian cities on the banks of the Nile. It is up to us to go further, especially towards the Greek and Egyptian “solution” of this flourishing civilization on the banks of the Nile and then the Mediterranean. This questioning, which is at the origin of the writing work of the young poet up to today, has been reinforced by the reading of Hannah Arendt and many other historians, anthropologists, other authors looking for the alternative to submission to the systems of power.
To submit to a system of power or to exercise together the power in our networks of life, this choice is about the civilization that we intend to develop following our elders and for our children.
This is the choice of civilization through the development of humanity. Raising the power of a tyrannical power within a military power system to bring together barbaric peoples and lead them to the plunder of polished peoples who have managed to organize themselves to develop an art of living in abundance and sharing spiritual and material wealth according to the precepts of their high level of education and skills? Until now, all peoples, civilizations policed and their way of life have been destroyed by barbarians! Or to develop a humanist civilization and an art of living whose architectural, artistic wonders will be passed on to future generations to show them the way to follow on our planet, whatever the passage of tyrants and their hordes of barbarians?
The historian will count the millennia through which flourishing civilizations and the few years, centuries occupied by tyrants and barbarians. And even the most erudite historian will point to the few years taken by the barbarians to adopt the ways and ways of life of the cities, of the polished countries they have just conquered. Even more accurately, the historian describes how the young barbaric leader uses the military art he learned from the policed nations to conflate his barbaric warriors with his opponents’ high military strategy. Just as the Roman Empire, a system of military power, used the barbarian warriors, from Germania or elsewhere, as auxiliaries, essentially as cavalry, to better control them by leaving them a share of the spoils.
The historian’s assessment is unequivocal: there are many more periods of flourishing civilizations than the exploitation of peoples by criminal tyrants. The end of flourishing civilizations is caused much more by natural disasters, cyclical climate changes, than by barbaric invasions.
However, in Europe, since the end of the last barbaric invasions, we are facing a new situation. From the year 500 until Friday, October 13, 1307, in France, a movement policed through the use of vestiges of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, Muslim, Celtic knowledge, developed an organization in networks of social life throughout Europe, the medieval period and the time of cathedrals. The new situation is not the arrival of new barbarians but rather the seizure of power by monarchical tyrants, by the social class of the aristocracy. Then quickly the plundering of the wealth of the medieval period allowed the development of a group of international bankers and we know the continuation of this history of this system of power which since Europe has conquered the United States and imposes itself at the world level through the capitalist economic system and the liberal, neo-liberal doctrine.
Hannah Arendt describes the horror of capitalist industrial society and the current tyranny of the Anglo-Saxon financial oligarchy.
The liberal capitalist system perpetuates the prohibition of the use of our first source of knowledge, the initiatory and spiritual source, which makes it possible to break the false dogmas and fables of the leaders of the systems of power. It prohibits common property managed by the group itself, which allows for the optimal equitable distribution of wealth produced by the work of all. It seeks to limit the collective ownership of the state as much as possible to use only private ownership, including means of production and distribution of wealth produced by the labor of all. At the level of human activity, it uses only the work indispensable to life and confiscates its wealth through private property which guarantees the maximization of the profits of its leaders. This prohibits the making of works that raise the standard of living and are passed on to future generations, as well as the political action exercised by all citizens to manage the work and the making of works.
The choice of civilization is thus clearly explained. In order to leave the systems of power, we need this forbidden right, these values and standards of living, social networks, participatory local direct democracies that are exactly the opposite of the systems of power. This is the purpose of our essay “The Networks of Life”.
We specify the fundamental elements that determine this choice between systems of power and networks of life, this choice of civilization. This contradictory and irreconcilable perception, this conflict between two cultures with conflicting interests since the dawn of mankind mainly concern the conception of the human being, the notion of quality at work and the perception of work, the organization of power and the priority given either to politics or to the economy, the priority given to the centralization of power or to its sharing. We will thus see better the great differences between systems of power and networks of social life.
From these choices among the knowledge that the leaders of the systems or those of the life networks have assumed, we will understand more easily the functioning of each of these two ways of living in society but which have diametrically opposite consequences, stakes.
The challenges of this conflict between these two conceptions of the place of the human being in political, economic, social and cultural organizations are a paradigm shift in intellectual and spiritual knowledge.
The recent contributions of anthropology, the consideration of the cultures of the first peoples and ancient civilizations, archeological discoveries as well as scientific discoveries on the life of the human body, animal, plant, mineral life, the life of our planet and universes, call into question many of the prohibitions and taboos posed by the leaders of the systems of power and especially theocracies. Yet these leaders defend their power and extend their dominance over the global economy, consumer lifestyles. The fanaticism of people subjected to religious dogmas is constantly spreading through modern means of telecommunications. Yet the threats to life on Earth, the disruption of the climate linked to industrial activities, the racist, fascist ideologies that sustain civil and military conflicts, if not the will to genocide, eugenics, have never been so numerous and visible, put forward by the leaders in power to terrorize dissidents who refuse to think and act like them.
“A student once asked anthropologist Margaret Mead what she saw as the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student was waiting for the anthropologist to talk about bait, clay bowls or sharpening stones, but no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture is proof of a person with a broken and healed femur. Mead explained that in the rest of the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You can’t run from danger, go to the river to drink water or hunt for food. You become fresh meat for predators. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal. A broken femur that healed is proof that someone took the time to stay with the one that fell, healed the wound, put the person safe and cared for until it healed. “Helping someone through the difficulty is the starting point of civilization,” Mead explained. “Civilization is community aid.”
This spiritual and intellectual approach led by the poet who speaks here responds to the poetic action that changes life, especially life in society. It also responds to this very obvious mission indicated by Paul Eluard:
“The solitude of the poets today fades away, behold they are men among men, behold they have brothers.”Paul Eluard
This choice of the poet corresponds to a sign of civilization, using our first source of initiatory and spiritual knowledge to guide our actions towards our loved ones. We will constantly come back to this in the operation of Life Networks. Without this sharing of the unspeakable life after the life of the human body, without this help of the one who has crossed the threshold of his initiation to life after human life, there can be no humanist and flourishing civilization. Thus, the initiated poet is at the beginning, in the center, at the end of civilization for which he translates the mystery of Life. As Sigmund Freud pointed out, the poet’s contribution is superior to that of the doctor and the priest because he treats souls by sharing his dialog of the soul for the soul.
Let us begin by clarifying this conflict between two cultures that place a radically different human being in the functioning of political, economic, social and cultural institutions. According to this position, he will either be subject to a minority that has usurped power to impose his system of power, or he will directly exercise his mission of authority to eliminate or minimize violence in him and around him.