Throughout his and herstory,in disparate ways we have witnessed through others and our own souls the abuse of power, a cycle perpetrated by those who govern, and sometimes simply by those who hold something over someone else - physical prowess, economic force, anger, innocence lost. That simple act of sadism (of which each of us is capable even as tears fall and there is recognition of the act exercised) in which one human being makes the decision, however conscious or unconscious, that it is appropriate to hurt someone else by misappropriating or injuring their wealth/property, their livelihood, their body, their emotions/heart or their mind requires in the perpetrator and victim, a multitude of formative actions and reactions. In cases of abuse of power by factions of a community against another, or even by entire communities against other communities, the multiplicity of such formation, requiring the sadistic leadership to prime and handle the conformist ripple to affect a community of aggression as we have seen in numerous genocides, slaughters, wars and conquests of varying types, is staggering.
All the more when these formative actions and reactions cause systemic ripples within our everyday institutions, sometimes institutions in which we seek most to place our trust, like police forces turned corrupt, or regulatory watchdogs like the SEC watching porn instead of acting in accordance with their mandate, or the media/press publicizing only opinions they support instead of required news unbiased and non-political. But where does all this start? How do we become part of some large conformist wave of abuse? What of our own agency in this? How many of us look around and really see what is going on and if it has gone awry? How many of us think before we act when we know we are acting not out of love, or business, or occupational mandates, but out of anger,or out of a sense of leverage over others out of some economic, occupational, regulatory, or other advantage.
The expressions of such abuse of power- the jailing of innocents/innocence, the ignorance of evil, the lack of accountability of governing institutions to their charges, corporate expansion that engenders illegal conduct victimizing the public at large including the government(s) chosen to represent it - speak volumes to the resonance of micro action at macro levels. There are examples at different locations on this spectrum between micro and macro...Only today I heard from a 70 year old taken for a good portion of her life savings by a financial advisor, who not only swindled her, but made her out to be the perpetrator so that she is in a battle with a large financial institution he told her he represented, and that institution has now bankrupted her... despite the knowledge the illegality was committed by the intermediary while the legal system inured to such tragedy processes what appears to be criminal behaviour. Another person related to me that a fund he knows is providing evidence in the investigation of yet another financial institution, and yet the media leak of this evidentiary cooperation has led it to lose customers who are confused about their lawful participation in catching culprits. We have all watched Madoff, Stanford and others commit their unfathomable frauds on the public. We have watched banks on which we relied shrivel up and die only to be picked up by others for nothing while the public continues to be serviced in the style to which it has become accustomed...and tidal waves of debt wash out the financial underpinnings of entire nations on the other side of the pond.
We also have been shaken not so long ago under the attack from above on the World Trade Center, running in the streets toward Times Square on that fateful day, not so unlike the uproar raised by another war in 1965...retreating into the bunker in the backyard...the bunkers transformed into ominously targeted skyscrapers in Times Square. The primitive anger, strategic economic upheaval, communal uprising, border crossings, human traffic/king, migrations, both organic and designed...the aesthetics of control, neat and efficient. Lest I forget corporate, personal, and national transgressions upon the only home we have, this earth. Where does it all take us? To a sadistic impulse driven by all that is taken from us; or towards the expansive impulse to reform, process, reflect, integrate, and move toward compassion not out of a political or punitive command, but from some place of foresight and reckoning? Do we seek instead to take care of ourselves, and others, perhaps? We judge ourselves after all when we judge another. What do we learn? What is the best law of compassion, perhaps compassionate accountability we can put in place to govern ourselves and our children?