Sunday, December 29, 2013

Eso’s Chronicles 264 / 4
The King & I
© Eso A.B.
All comments appearing within brackets [ ] are editorial in origin. This blog begins a new series.
In blogs 262 & 263, I discussed role of the King and Parliamentary governments. It was discovered that the King was important as the “irrational moment” in the formation of a community, while Parliamentary ‘democracy’ results, for various reasons, in “bureaucratic totalitarianism”.
Perhaps ‘the King’ is on my mind, because as a child I heard a lot of fairy tales, which included stories about kings. From that time on, I have thought about governments as originating with a King. Though kings are long out of fashion, they still play a notable role in my imagination, and though governments and the media have abandoned the office as politically unviable, I suspect that he-she still resides in many imaginations and would be viable enough—it the opportunity arose.
The “irrational moment” of a King is necessary, because a community cannot form until there arises a moment of trust. Such a moment cannot arise with a Parliament, because it is, so to say, a ‘democratic’ form of government; and a democracy will not be trusted by any member of any proto-community because it is never ‘democratic’ a priori, but is such only as a result of being so declared by ‘law’, which—because of the necessity of such a declaration—is ‘democratic’ only for those who constitute the will of a ‘majority’ (whatever that may be).
The rest of the body-‘democratic’ is in opposition to the ‘democracy’, but has agreed not to contest it for the sake of avoiding bloodshed, even while it has not conceded being wrong in its views or opinions.
Examples of the ‘irrational moment’ abound in James Frazer’s famous work on myth and religion called “The Golden Bough”. While an indispensible read for any anthropologist, the work has been for various reasons pushed into the background. The most notable reason is that most all of our modern political societies associate themselves with ‘democracy’, which according to theory ought not to have ‘irrational’ or ‘charismatic’ moments.
Still, ‘irrational moments’ do occur; and when they occur, they are usually resolved through an act of violence, in which the alleged ‘majority’ (generally associated with the ‘victors’) kills the leader of the opposition and, if possible, most of his-her supporters. Most recently such killings occurred in Iraq and Libya, whose leaders were hanged and shot . Such a resolution of the irrational moment almost always favors the killer(s), but does not necessarily resolve the question whether justice is done.
The ‘irrational moment’ (falsely ‘charismatic’) in our times has more often to do with the institutionalization or demise of a community rather than its creation. One such instance occurs in Aztec mythology, when the God Nanauatzin sacrifices himself by jumping into a pit of fire and impels the Sun to rise at dawn .
In the religion and myth of the West, self-sacrifice is renamed ‘self-directed violence’, in effect allowing ONE self-sacrifice only, i.e., that of Jesus. This myth makes all governments, no matter how illegitimate, after Jesus legitimate, because any government that comes into existence thereafter as a result of a self-sacrifice may be claimed by ‘legal’ authority to have no sanction, which makes such a community illegitimate in spite of the fact that it may be of and have the trust of the people.
The adaptation of this myth as the ultimate authority of legitimacy is what has kept my loyalty for the King. As far as I am concerned, trust and not power is the most important factor in determining who rules. Though one may argue that ‘trust’ may be misdirected, the fact that it is gained as a result of someone’s self-sacrifice assures that all subsequent governments will have to legitimate themselves through self-sacrifice as well.
Because such legitimization has fallen away and has no legal recognition in our time, from the point of view of a King most modern governments have no legitimacy as ‘trust’ needs to be periodically renewed and cannot be forwarded to the future automatically as allegedly occurs through  ‘democratic’ elections today.
It must be noted that while self-sacrifice today may be interpreted as an act of violence in a strictly legalistic sense , in a psychological sense, it retains its persuasive hold on the human psyche. This writer rejects philosopher Derrida’s definition of self-sacrifice as self-directed violence , but agrees with the argument at the preceding link that self-sacrifice constitutes a not-violent act of terror by impressing on the observer the fact that death as a voluntary act is not to be slighted or abjured in favor of the law as determined by the written word, which likely transgresses against justice more often than when one puts in escrow (as an assurance) one’s life.
At the present time, however, Derrida’s interpretation of self-sacrifice has the upper hand for the simple reason that presently it is the ‘power’ of the government elite that writes ‘the law’, which, at the same time, has earned most governments the distrust of the populace at large. The distrust is because the law in economic matters is invariably written in favor of the elite. Given the enormous gaps in income levels (popularly described as1% vs 99%), it may not be long before the agreement not to test ‘democracy’ will be challenged. Incidentally, the consequences of what happens when institutionalized self-sacrifice is ignored or avoided is dealt with in my ‘rewrite’ of OedipusRex Rewritten at
For additional reflection, I recommend

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