Politics. Many hate it, but very few people remember what it means - very few who aren't Greek, at least.
The word politics derives from politikos - meaning “of, for, or relating to citizens”. Aristotle discusses politika - a related form of politikos - which would have most literally meant, “that which is of the citizens”. In modern times, this concept has been reduced to a narrower meaning - “affairs of the state”.
So, are we citizens? - or are we a state? Is the distinction important?
Should the discussion of national affairs concern states, as entities? - or should they concern the people who live within them? Should we be concerned about preserving existing states, as entities? - or should we be concerned about the people who live within them?
These questions baffle many people. At first glance, someone might be inclined to blame political science. After all, political scientists are generally responsible for promoting state-based economic reasoning. But, upon closer inspection, we need to see that the problem is with the practice, not the premise.
As a tool, political science can guide us to make better decisions about how or whether to enforce policy in any given context of social interaction. However, a single proven utility of a tool does not also prove that every practical implementation of that tool will be problem-free. And the biggest problem with the practice of political science is this: too many people forget that political science is a subset of political truth.
Scientists can easily-and-correctly tell you that economic recessions are a cyclical and inevitable consequence of all fiat-money capitalism - but if you don't care, then what does all that science even mean? They can tell you that you'll be happier with less crap - but if you don't care, it means nothing.
Science has no way to make direct comments about what you should do, because it cannot comment on what matters to you. This has historically been discussed as the “is-ought” problem - facts do not inherently suggest any specific course of action. E.g., one person may find the mass torture and slaughter of slaves in the meat industry to be unacceptable - and another person may just shove another burger down their throat.
The problem is that no one can persuade another person to act on any given piece of information without being illogical (and thus unscientific) along the way. After all, you can ask, “Why?” forever, and no one will ever be able to give you a logical answer to every question. Some kids are taught to forget this. Don't fall for the propaganda. Remember the truth.
In this way, we must act on the basis of an innate, instinctual, reflexive urge to behave in some specific way in any given situation.
Instinct always guides even the most rational human - it's inescapable.
Though political science can be extremely helpful in figuring out how to get where we want to go, it can't tell us a single certain fact about where we want to go or why we should be trying to get there.
Philosophy, however, demands that we go beyond the simply-helpful in order to respect the true nature of knowing.
What does that have to do with politics?
If someone tells you that politics doesn't matter to you, ask yourself this: “Do I care about anything?” - because if you care about anything, then you have a natural, instinctive interest in preserving the goodness of that thing. You might not have much appreciation for your arms today, but if you lost them to an accident of inattention, you would immediately realize the error of your ways.
The world is a competitive place. Forces of desire are constantly battling one another for the ability to be realized. And as more takers take, there is less energy to go around - and that means less energy available for preserving the good aspects of our lives. If you and people-like-you fail to seriously consider the threats facing your sources of happiness, you can be almost sure that those sources of happiness will be privatized by someone else. The real world is more complicated than a playground.
Therefore, when someone tells you that politics is irrelevant to you, remember that politics is the set of things that concerns you as a human being living in society - in this sense, it is truly impossible for a human life to have no material interest in politics - even in those cases where a special combination of privilege and ignorance leads a mind to believe that politics has no importance. Anyone who thinks otherwise is very confused. The world can be divided into people who realize that political conflict affects them, and people who don't. All people fall into one of these two categories.
In light of this, I hope you will more-seriously consider discussions of the political state of the world when they occur in your general vicinity. Despite the profiteering of comedians, politics is not a very funny joke. Conscious beings are suffering unnecessarily violent destruction right now over political affairs. The happiness - and the lifeblood - of every living thing on Earth depends on the interactive political progress of every rational being in every society, everywhere.
And remember: you do have power, no matter what you have been told in the past.
Your money - or the money that other people are spending in your name - is power. It's all the political power of the world. It tells food where to go and it tells children where to sleep. When we spend money, we ask for something to continue existing. When we stop spending our money on something, it stops existing.
Your speech is power. And our voices are the key to guiding us toward a reasonable management of our money. Your voice is the key to teaching yourself and other people, “You don't need to buy this anymore!” - and it thus determines the nature of everything that exists in the economy.
Your behavior is power. It is the power to set whatever example you choose to set, even if no one else is willing to do it first.
Finally, your love is power. If you have love for the world, it's easier to help the world. That's why so many political movements are engineered to turn peasant against peasant - after all, a divided proletariat is much less likely to revolt successfully. So be sure keep your own love alive while you try to inspire love in other people.
The age of nations will inevitably fade into the past - soon we will arrive in the age of Earthlings.
The only question is, “How will we get there, and what will it look like when we arrive?”
The choice is ours.
Aiso Ippudu Milele
28 March 2017