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Government Gazette

Man's history - a lust for power, control and domination

Humans have a remarkable penchant to control, overpower and dominate fellow humans. Institutional domination be it familial, communal or group spills over to class, country and state domination where power is used to control the weaker segment. Dissent then is anathema to those that relish hegemonic control.

Within familial setting some children are labelled black sheep arising out of what is called 'being stubborn' and at national level when a community does not conform to majority will it is referred to as 'terrorists' or insurgents depending on ethnic affinity. For instance, the JVP during their 'infamous' uprising were called 'insurgents' by their communal kindred while the Tamils are recipient to labelling hard blow - 'terrorists'. However, celebrities in minority groups are warmly accommodated for their rather submissive and very yielding demeanour.

Socialization and acceptance of authority

The institutions of family, school and worship place followed by workplace are primary and secondary territories of socialisation where one learns authority acceptance - the very places that breed differentiation yet are socially licensed as a 'God given' natural system. Beyond such power enclaves are the international forces that unite against morality and justice to efface non-conformists as was evident in Saddam Hussein's existentialism. Masked as paragons of virtue and Gods of righteousness the hegemonic collectivity sees non-conformists as 'bad people' akin to families that see some children as 'naughty' and the 'not listening type' with its parallel in school of 'bad children' and a mosque assembly labelling non-conformists as 'kafir' and not of the flock.

Mediocre expressions such as "Oh! he is a good man. He goes to mosque everyday."

Oh! he is very obedient - a quiet nice, unassuming guy."

These societal expressions message the great distaste towards dissent, opposition and non-conformity.

At home the parents wield authority, while at school the teacher takes charge and flock control comes off the church, mosque or temple priest and in office the boss insists on subordination. In all these environs the tendency into gender, favouritism, and ideological brain wash is widespread.

Objective of conformity

The insistence on conformity messages significantly the need to maintain the system's operational smooth flow whatever be the 'success' in implementation for which the state repressive forces are alerted. Class stratification is springboard to crime.

Yet the robber is jailed and the crime breeding system allowed to continue.

A country's attempts into control of minorities and in international politics powerful states assembly for world control initiates uncontrollable terror. Social stratification of class differentiation and the line of command are noteworthy 'territories' where domination and human indignity rates high.

As systems developed man's battle for power increasingly progressed and held sway in all his activities. Civilizational growth became more the story of scientific discoveries and industrial advance at the cost of mind enhancement. It even reminded this writer of a recent radio broadcast where an enlightened teacher - certainly a rarity today, noted the futility of skills development arising off a spiritually untrained mind. No wonder then today the loss of accountability, morality and disregard for others. Skills development - a relative exercise displays only product out put with the usage of hands and feet. But then what of a well nourished mind?.

Thus much attempt into merely operationalising the system has been today's achievement relegating the mind into an almost value free non-existent state.

Lust for power

Be it that infamous gold rush where the Americas as it was labelled then was stormed by outsiders or the new inventions and discoveries following 1453 after the fall of constantinople moving out from the so called dark ages into a era of knowledge and scientific reasoning or the setting up of the nation state, man's embittered story has been the lust for power.

This then is not to disown power. Yet, when mismanaged and not engineered towards equity, the recognition of human dignity and dispensation of justice the results as we observe in contemporary setting is sordid.

Exemplary characters in power

Significantly in local setting the late DVJP leader Nihal Perera's exemplary character into equity dispensation and recognition of human dignity is worth recalling.

He was Head of State Graphite Corporation when the miners went on strike. Nihal Perera much to everyone's dismay joined the strikers in winning their demands. Asked why he did so for it was considered 'beneath an executive's dignity' to join a workers' strike he said, "Of what use is my post if I continue to watch them suffer?"

Even as Head of BOC he never ever waited for the peon to open the car's door on his arrival in office.

Nobel Peace Prize Laurette Muhammed Yunus in his innovative pro-poor banking concept deviated from the conventional form of funds disbursement only for the rich and strove towards social equity, social justice and the worth of human dignity. Reportedly his prize winning finances will also be directed towards uplifting the poor.

Power then is certainly not a bad idea when well directed. The role that the rich countries could play in social levelling and development goes without saying.

The informal trading practices that push the third world into greater penury, this part of the world itself being dumping ground of first world substandard goods, the large scale manufacturing of arms, a heavily gendered social layout, patriarchal leanings, social stratification and divides - all uphold the current unjust political economic layout.

A reaching out to good sense on the part of powers that be would certainly move the present chaotic world order into a more positive platform.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Kapruka -
Sri Lanka

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