Taking Back The Power

By Prof. Deon Pretorius – A Maven

The problem that we are facing is that despite the sophistication of our world, ordinary people are being dumbed-down and being told what they should think and believe and what beliefs are right or wrong. People and institutions have appointed themselves as custodians of the truth and they run regimes of what they believe and propagate to be the truth.

Ordinary people have been deprived of their room and ability to give meaning to their own lives. Power-players have convinced people to give up their own power. Ordinary people are being fooled every day into giving up their sovereignty. The institutions of politics, religion, journalism, science, and art are all responsible.

Not everyone associated with those institutions is complicit but there are many power-players who occupy positions of power for its own sake. Sadly, the world is full of politicians, civil servants, journalists, religious leaders, scientists, artists, Hollywood actors and stories, business people, marketing spin doctors, agents of popular culture who have taken it on themselves to think for ordinary people instead of enabling people to think for themselves. Powerless people are being kept powerless. Education systems are useless for the ordinary person and the public media cannot be trusted to speak the truth.

The danger is that power has been deposited into those who pretend to be in control, but they are not; they lack the means to appropriately impact on the lives of ordinary people. The powerful only appear to be powerful or are only powerful in a negative way. They consistently appear to lack the desire, means and capacity to make the lives of ordinary people better. This means that both the ordinary person and the power-monger lack power and are out of control. This is what is happening in a country like South Africa: the loyal voting citizen has given up personal power and voted for the politician and the Party on the assumption that the politician will use the state to the benefit of those who voted for them.

But this is not happening. The politicians are using the state for their own purposes. Do we need any further evidence of this? The evidence is all around us and we hear and see more and more everyday of how ordinary people are being ripped off while a small number of people live protected lives of affluence and wealth. How do you regain that power? Start with the individual, relationship, partnerships, streets, neighbourhoods. The micro places of human existence and society must be reclaimed. The contest where real people are trying to make sense and make ends meet. One of the most important moves that need to be made is to push politics and the state back to where it belongs and that is in the background.

Ordinary people must be emancipated from the control of self-appointed power-mongers. The biggest threat to our quality of life is power-hungry self-centered, ego-driven people that seek to control the lives of ordinary people. There is a need for more self-governance. The state should return the resources to the people. Then we have to reclaim de-personalised institutions like the education system, health system and the economy… The banking system. And it is not going to happen by taking to the streets to break down the economy and loot the shops, by students breaking down universities. No one gains from this destructive behaviour. Change will only happen by way of people acknowledging one another as human beings starting to work together from the ‘The ground up’. There is no need for violent confrontation and conflict; calm confident informed assertive actions can do it. Just start doing it. Don’t ask for help from government! Do it yourself in joining hands with others. Create local forums, structures, committees that exclude politicians and civil servants but don’t pick a fight with them. Just do your own thing as citizens. Form networks. Talk to one another. Support one another. Rediscover your individual and common humanness. It is your planet, your life and not the property of any politician or any of the other power-hungry smart arses.

Prof. Deon Pretorius majored in sociology and psychology. A socio-economic development multi-disciplinarian who taught sociology for many years but always found ways of taking theory to practice. Having become more of a project manager and socio-economic development analyst and researcher, he has acquired a growing interest in development planning, sociology of demographics, and measurement of development by way of indicators.

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