Hidden Transcripts and the Arts of Resistance

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Hidden Transcripts and the Arts of Resistance edited by Richard A Horsley made me reflect more deeply on the process of coming to consciousness of human awareness and its inter-relatedness in a new and deeper way. The more conscious a living being becomes the more impervious it is to being dominated. Historically, this has taken the form of ‘hidden resistance’ in order to survive and pass life on to the next generation. Paradoxically, just being alive becomes the vector through which the next generation has the chance to resist domination on to its heirs. The process of become fully conscious is fraught with many trials and errors as all evolution necessarily does. But in order for consciousness to continue to grow aware of its unique self, the more insistent the need to reject domination becomes. I see glimmers of light every now and then, that the domination model is outliving its usefulness. Slowly the dominant are realizing the inherent value of life, in all its forms, and acknowledging its interdependence on everything created and coming into being. This calls the question of the value of the current system. Does having control, ultimately delude us into thinking we are in control, only to crash on the rocks of a serious illness or implosion of the environment? We are beginning to question our assumptions. Unfortunately, we only do that in time of needing that environment or help to recover from that illness. Those who know they are not in control, which included all of us at birth, are then free to notice what all religions in their healthiest expressions have been trying to teach us. That all who exist do so at the behest of a reality that chose to create them, and that reality seems to care about this creation. When we come to the consciousness of this process, we will have become fully who we are created to be.

Domination and the Arts of Resistance

Domination and the Arts of Resistance

James C Scott in his penetrating examination of domination and it historic precedents in Domination and the Arts of Resistance published in 1990 has captured my attention for these past days. He carefully examines the ways that the abuse of power has been more or less successfully dealt with down through the ages. Even though his work seems to reflect a past era, it appears to me timeless. It also highlights how the overthrow of oppression often ushers in the new oppressor, who under the guise of liberator captures the good will of the newly freed only to erect the new form of oppression. It reminds me of a well-meaning friend who heroically attempts to solve a friend’s problem, only to discover that solving the problem was not really the issue. Staying the center of attention was really the issue of the “friend”. While diligently applying talent, time and treasure to solve the current problem, the person needing the attention was just as diligently creating new problems to be solved, sometime even at the expense of pain for themselves, because the real issue was their need for attention at any cost. Once that was seen, the well-meaning person/citizen withdraws from the futile attempts thereby freeing energy and resources to develop real problem solving responses. I feel that a close reading of this book might be a liberating experience today. In these times of cell phones, internet, texting and who knows what else will be available in the future, we, once freed from our illusions of domination might actually meet the real needs of our time. “Mother nature” will have the ultimate say. “She” isn’t influenced by the old “they who have the gold make the rules’ standard. No amount of gold will provide the necessary conditions for my great grandchildren to live humane lives if clean air and water are unavailable. So I now wear diaper pins to remind myself that every choice I make they will have to live (or not be able to live) with. I plan to have extras in my pocket to give to those who ask why the pin. At 82, it is my form of resistance so aptly outlined in this penetrating work of James C. Scott. Get your library to find it for you. It might provoke a lot of interesting reflections for you too.

Engaging the Powers

 Walter Wink is one of my favorite authors and his Engaging the Powers ranks as one of his best in my view. This award winning work is one I go back to often as I prepare my study guides. The index of gospel passages in the back of the book helps to go directly to the passage you are studying or meditating on at the moment. The subtitle; Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination, gives you insight into this thought provoking book. Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN published this book in 1992.