‘Awareness is the beginning of all resistance’

November 13, 2007 at 4:15 pm 2 comments

Continuing with Starhawk’s views of our war-based society as discussed in her book Truth or Dare, today I bring you excerpts on compliance and resistance of power-over. If you missed yesterday’s post, I suggest taking a look to catch yourself up.

“Authority relieves us us of the responsibility of independent action. Instead, we react in set and patterned ways. Systems of punishment generate four basic responses. We can comply, rebel, withdraw, or manipulate. All confirm the power of the system because they respond rather than challenge the reality the system has created.
“Another sort of response is possible. I call it resistance, or empowered action — action that does not accept the terms of the system, action that creates a new reality.” (pg. 75)

“Awareness is the beginning of all resistance. We can only resist domination by becoming and remaining conscious: conscious of the self, conscious of the way reality is constructed around us, conscious of each seemingly insignificant choice we make, conscious that we are, in fact, making choices. Resistance becomes a discipline of awareness, akin to any spiritual discipline that demands we remain present to our experience. When we resist domination, we must practice magic — the art of changing consciousness at will.” (pg. 79)

“Compliance destroys the unity of resistance. When we accept the authority’s reality, when we blame the rule-breakers, blame the victims, we cannot see our own victimization or act against it. Resistance demands clarity. We cannot mistake the rule for the reality; we must continuously search behind the rules for the assumptions they represent and the power relations they enforce.” (pg. 80)

“A life of compliance is a life of denial. We deny the body. We feel sick – yet we go to work. We feel hungry – yet we don’t eat. We deny feelings – for the jail requires that we suppress our emotions, especially our anger and our rage that might lead to rebellion.
“Obedience has its cost: the destruction of the self. To be good is to be a slave, unfree. When we comply, when we aid the system in its ultimate disregard and destruction of us, we hate ourselves. We know that we have been stupid, blind, weak. And so we cannot comply all of the time and live. At times, we must rebel.” (pg. 80)

“Rebellion is the desperate assertion of our value in the face of all that attacks it, the cry of refusal in the face of control.” (pg. 82)

“Rebellion is our very life asserting itself, willing to settle for nothing less than freedom. But if our rebellion is to have any hope of achieving that freedom, it must transform itself into resistance. … To resist domination, we must act in ways that affirm value – even in our opponents.
“We can begin by valuing ourselves, refusing to administer our own oppression, refusing to poison ourselves or numb the pain with substances that soothe but incapacitate, preventing us from making any serious trouble for the system.
“We can also refuse isolation. To connect, to build bonds of caring and community, to create structures of support that can nurture us and renew our strength, are powerful acts of resistance.” (pg. 84)


Entry filed under: punishment, reality, society, spiritual, Uncategorized, vision. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Punishment and Value in our War-based Society ‘I can use my Ability to Manipulate the System’

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Matthew Spears  |  November 19, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Resistance still gives power to someone else. Gandhi never resisted, so much as allowed his full being forward. He was more oriented towards Love – of self, of community, of others, in all his actions. And look what that turned out.

    Loving Awareness

  • 2. mayinthesouth  |  November 19, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    See, I would say that Ghandi’s refusal to focus on anything but love WAS his resistance. There’s a reason why even he called what he did “passive resistance.” Any act that operates outside of the System’s prison we’ve built in our heads is an act of resistance, even if that act is nothing more amazing than cooking dinner for someone. That’s what I think…


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