There is much talk today about power — political, economic, military — not to mention the waning pop-psychological notion of ‘personal’ power that had infused much of the West’s preoccupation since the ‘80’s through the present day. We see this perverse concept now as a defining characteristic of global affairs. We find ourselves either controlled by these diverse ‘objectifications’ of power, or fighting against them, as “the Other.”
This is the legacy of our world, of our civilization, at least as far back as 6,000 years ago. Certainly as far back as Yahweh of the Old Testament, this concept of power, as an objective controlling force, sits like an albatross around our necks, determining the fate of nations, peoples, and nature itself (a.k.a. ‘global resources’ – you see the objectification!!)
However, there is a genuine sense in which primitive, pre-civilized, myth describes a world as felt, as experienced, before it is objectified as “Other.” It expresses a sense of ‘power’ that infuses all lived-experience. Not a power that ‘I own’ or that ‘confronts me’; but rather, as a power (pouvoir: capacity or ability) that surrounds and engulfs me. This is the reality to which primitive myth seeks to give voice, and in which each individual participates just by being-there. But, as soon as the spoken word of myth becomes written; in other words, as soon as we reach the world of literacy and objectification, that sense of power (in which I naturally participate) as well becomes objectified in the written word. And so, the literate world ‘peoples’ nature with numerous powerful objects — gods and goddesses — ultimately, with supra-personal ‘objects’ of power. And these are the powers that now confront us and take control of us: the power of the State, of the Military, of the Corporation. These are the objective concretizations of power as “Other”. These become our gods. These are the sources of our sense of meaning, of our frustrations, our fears, our hopes, and our apparent destiny.
Now, while this need not have occurred, it did. And, sadly, there really is no way to dismantle the structures anymore. I’m afraid that the die has been cast; these modern power myths, including the myth of ‘American Exceptionalism’, run too deep in the false consciousness of a now powerless and ignorant people controlled by fairytales and government propaganda. It is now the ‘Press’ that gives us our sense of power or the illusion of power, while concurrently controlling every detail of our lives, in thought and action. And our government is the embodiment of that false consciousness, and it will always be, in consort with the new supra-personal gods of Big Business, the Press, and their power-brokers… the Lobbyists. And here are just some of the messengers of those gods in the USA: Barack Obama, John Kerry, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, Jeb Bush, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, etc. Beware your right to vote: it is just another part of modern ‘myth’, the fairytale — simply another false objectification of power.