by Najmi Mahammad
Free will is something it is important morally for human beings to act as though they have.
This is even more important to the direct extent that actual choice as a rule is severely constrained, even often nonexistent.
The goal of power in any case is popularly conceived as being able “to do what I want.”
Usually what I want though is the product of a group situation in which I am egged on by my buddies, and we are all led around by what we may have seen on television, heard from our rival panels of experts and so on.
In 2003 the American President, egged on by a load of global oil executives and people worried about American prestige, was persuaded to enact a theory of history and power politics that meant he “had to” order the invasion of Iraq, not least to get revenge for the preceding attack by Muslim religious fanatics on the skyscrapers in New York.
Last week, the president of the Russian Federation, egged on by a load of natural gas suppliers to Europe and people worried about Russian prestige, was persuaded to enact a theory of history and power politics that meant he “had to” order the invasion of Georgia, not least to get revenge for the preceding attack by Georgian nationalists on the Russian minority in the Georgian province of South Ossetia.
In any case, the general excitement was pawned off in the entertainment media as “protecting our national lifestyle” and “even more real than the Olympics or the World Series!”
As I write, the killing continues left and right in both Iraq and Georgia, some of the young gymnasts in Beijing are falling off of the balance beam and everyone involved is announcing that victory complete with gold medals will come shortly….
Meanwhile, the Russian and American governments are calling one another names over their respective foreign policy bungling.
All well and good…in the usual way of thinking after all the leadership of both these places is morally to blame for all the killing and mayhem they have ordered.
But given the ordinary human desires, to keep one’s job and to throw one’s weight around and get on You Tube, just how much “freedom” do you seriously think either the American or the Russian presidents actually have, for example NOT to declare wars and so on?
Remember, in both cases these unfortunates at bottom are scared out of their wits and surrounded by equally afraid opportunists, all ambitious for self-promotion and fingering weapons concealed in their clothing.
And in neither case does anyone involved in the immediate power struggle probably have any Sufi training or its equivalent.
Clearly, any inklings of moral freedom that might possibly occur to any of these wretched automatons will need to be conveyed to them “individually” and from outside of the situation.
By telepathy maybe…?
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription-rights reserved
[11 August 2008]