It cannot be of any surprise that our politicians speak and behave in the oafish manner in which Mr. Joyce’s conducted himself today, commenting on the bush fires and their most regrettable outcomes. He, like his peers, is a product of the absurdist politics that we helped to create and, therefore, have subjected ourselves to. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact we are not surprised, and this should be the catalyst of thought and reflection. It was for me today.
We can begin to understand why our politicians engage in such behaviour; after all, it does grab our attention. Never before have there been so many devices and actors competing for our attention. Never before have the means been so powerful, leveraging psychology and neurology to elicit exact responses. This means that for politicians to gain and hold our attention long enough to convince us to vote for them, they must behave literally like clowns or accept large sums of money from companies that expect favourable concessions to pay for these advertising methods. That is the game.
We can also understand why these same politicians are increasingly engaging in self-serving behaviour at best, at worst morally and criminally corrupt conduct because, again, after all, our society places no higher virtue above the accumulation of wealth and power. Just look at the way the tech-billionaires are revered, and how easily justice is overcome by the similarly wealthy and powerful. Therefore, is it perhaps unfair to expect that our politicians avoid these acquisitive tactics since they are subject to the same shaping of ideals as we and those whom we place at the pinnacle?
Besides the intention, we must also consider the environment. Our political landscape can only be described as hyper because there are so many different and incompatible sets of views and ‘morals’ being thrust together that the only certainty is more confusion and division. All this playing out to a ready 24hrs a day, global audience who have an insatiable appetite to criticise. Anyone participating in the world of hyper-politics must dedicate every ounce of their effort and focus on playing this game. Such dedication of faculty is required that engaging in politics precludes one from gathering the breadth and variation of experience that leads to knowledge. One cannot participate in the considered contemplation and self-reflection that leads to wisdom or live for a substantial time with an open heart that leads to love and the recognition of infinite interconnectedness. Devoid of these elements, the leader will always fail for the vision they set remains centered on themselves.
To engage in politics is an innate quality of being human. It is representative of a cultivated and healthy mind, one who cares about the community and society they are integrally placed. These people understand their influence in deciding which demands will be placed on those around them and stand ready to share any burden. Instead, we see the symptoms of a decaying civilization, either people apathetic for those same decisions, or those mindlessly shouting the latest headlines, whose cries for attention are mistaken for real concern for society. So, where are those as mentioned earlier? The answer is potentially all around us. In other words, they could be you and me; however, our environment in which our political system exists can not foster this potential in us because its values reflect our own, and they preclude it.
The ambivalence we feel towards our politicians and the political system is caused by expecting to find in the same person or set of people, the developed qualities of a sound politician, a leader, and someone that can set a vision that brings people, communities, societies, and civilisations together. Mr. Joyce’s comments provide more evidence that this is an impossible notion, that it is beyond the capacity of mortal humans. To expect a coopting of opposite and incompatible notions is absolute nonsense. Politicians engage in politics and should be judged on that; they do not lead because they can not lead, set a vision or create ideals that can guide society towards excellence, nor should they ever be required to.
Therefore, we have a dilemma where our society has a political system without higher aims to guide it. Is it any wonder we go around in circles? It seems we have a reverse political order where the people are asking how can they help our divided politicians become effective instead of the governing body asking the people how can it help, support, and bring them together. Now we have a system whereby the most disruptive, unproductive, unhelpful, and polarising people are entrusted with governing and ruling. That should never be the case. The question then is, that without a goal, without an excellent ideal to be guided by, what can the politicians possibly be doing to help improve this nation. The simple answer is they can’t because that they serve only to fight for our attention, the philosophical one is, why did we ever come to think otherwise, and why are we waiting for someone or something to bestow guiding principles inside of which meaningful politics can take place.
Under such a system, poverty and homeless are extinct, the best medical practice is universal, education is championed. Nations have banks, banks do not have nations. Jails and wars exist only in museums as a relic of a primitive past. Culture is celebrated, our structures are monuments to human potential and nature’s beauty. Where the politicians, being reflective of the society they represent, are people you can respect and be proud of. Where humans live to leave their children and grandchildren a world and all of its inhabitants in much better condition when they found it.
The headless chicken is taking its final steps…