(tendency to) use and abuse

OdysseusSirensas a 3rd grader reading some Iliad i’ll admit i never recognized Odysseus for his brilliance in battling the Sirens, brilliance that boils down to a lack of hubris. Odysseus was well aware of his human frailty and the likelihood that upon hearing the Sirens’ seductive song he would succumb, just like those who came before him. after toying with the idea (proposed by his Shoulder Devil) that he was less susceptible than his predecessors (the audacity of such hope!) he wisely decided to protect against his natural man-liness, setting up a system to check himself. he had his crew stuff their ears with wax so as to give no heed to his biddings-gone-bad. Odysseus knew that certain situations can do funny things to a man’s sense and sensibility.

the otherwise awful 2008 film Wanted, starring 68-too-many f bombs, nicely portrays the not-so-trivial tendency to wisely use, then soon abuse, power. and once such reason has fled, nary will a man deny himself and cede that power. consider this plot: a fraternity of assassins obeys the bidding of one certain Loom of Fate, which weaves codes in binary specifying who in the world needs to be assassinated. imagine such a responsibility of power: the greenlight to take another’s life. good thing this responsibility rests in the hands of steadfast stewards, always living by the letter of this law. now this frat house recruits a new member, a unique talent named Wesley, and assigns him to certain assassinations. well Wesley finds out from his assassined-to-be that the keeper of the loom, Sloan, was dubbed for death long ago by his fearful master, Fate. the following is the dialogue as Wesley confronts Sloan and his fraternal lackeys:

Wesley – My father wasn’t a traitor! This [cloth] is a kill order, and it’s got Sloans’ name on it. You might say to me “it’s just a name, a target.” I don’t want this person dead, fate does. Fate wanted you dead! And you couldn’t take it, so you started manufacturing his own targets, for your own gains, and that’s when my dad found out and decided to stand against you. And that’s when you sent a man’s son to kill his father. You’ve not been an assassin of fate this long, you’re just a thug that can bend bullets.

Jolie (frat memberette) – Is that true?

Sloan – Here is what the truth is. (showing the list to others) Your name came up… Your name came up… Your name came up… Your name. Your name. Yours. Everyone’s in this room. If i had not done what I did, you would all be dead. I SAVED YOUR LIVES!! Now look where we are. We are stronger than ever, changing the course of history as WE see it. Choosing the targets WE select. We can redistribrute power where WE see fit. The wolves rule. Not the sheep. Now if any of you feel the need to follow the code of the fraternity to the letter, I invite you to take your gun, put it in your mouth, and pull the trigger. That is what Wesley demands. Otherwise, shoot this [dumb bum] and let us take our fraternity of assassins to heights reserved only for the gods of men. You choose… (walks out)

every four years we decide, in (alleged) democratic fashion, to whom we surrender the monopoly of legal force. we then get to witness how the new Steward handles the hotseat. long ago checks were set up. the efficacy of the checks is a matter of opinion.

sometimes the Steward is tempted to sell what we surrendered. he offers a chance for others to experience the use of legal force:

Steward – I hold in my hand something none of you have, and I’m going to dangle it, just like this, before you. Whoever gets it first, well, feel free to apply liberally. Today somebody is going to have their rights legally violated. Who will it be? Ready… Set… LOBBY!

recently the gov dangled some rights and a war broke out. were they fighting cuz they were eager to violate others? or were they desperate to secure their own rights…? which was the reason behind the Church’s participation?


~ by mormonbastiard on June 27, 2009.

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