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Claire De Brabander

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The text that follows is directly inspired by the book (in French):
"De notre servitude involontaire"
written by Alain Accardo Editions Agone.
However, it's important to note
it reflects only part of its contents
(the more ideological or psychological part
and not the political-activist one)
and that the author does not agree completely
with my interpretation of his writing.

Globalization, led by liberal ideology, which we know today, has the effect of enriching few people, impoverishing the majority, while undermining life on the planet, materially as well as spiritually. Only profit is taken into account, and anyone who would dare to stand out of this motto would be most often disapproved.

Marketing at all costs, borne on a global level, has come to rub off on all our behaviours and this at all levels of society. It's even so well assimilated that social work, political commitment, education, culture, for instance, all end up appealing to marketing techniques in their working methods, and everyone seems to think this is "normal" or at least acceptable. The current crisis is not throwing any real disorder in such reasoning, even if we can perceive the first weaknesses, forcing mentalities to evolve. Political will for change is still confined to reform means to make run the system, it does not change the system itself, being too much influenced by the logic of it.

Whatever political leaders, they all have almost exactly the same objective: make run the machine pursuing the same logic, however largely inadequate. And democratic functioning appears mostly like a masquerade, avoiding to reveal the inadequate foundations on which the capitalist system is based.

Most representatives of the intellectual or ruling elite of the society (exceptions apart): executives, professionals, politicians, artists, or even sometimes some teachers, are convinced of the validity and accuracy of integrating commercial principles and values to their work, and getting involved then professionally to go further in that direction. They interpret any abuse of the system as accidents or exceptions.

And this effect is even more perverse because this alienation is often accompanied by a critical mind that refers to a pseudo-objectivity on reality perception. This state of mind helps to actively participate in the system while believing they are fighting or escaping it.

At the opposition side, the criticism against politics, both from the right or the left (left-wing politicians pursuing a policy of moderate slightly right) shows the disability from those who express it, to see inside themselves what they castigate in the representatives, or conversely to see the resemblance between the representatives and themselves. For, without having abandoned themselves their modes of operation that they condemn, their actions only serve to allow the system to adapt to a internal opposition to it, without actually conducting a substantial change.

In fact, feeding on anger and opposing the system aren't probably part of the solution. And as such, some or even many alterglobalist struggles, as we know them, are not necessarily always in adequacy to the problem. There are lot of time and energy involved to ultimately bring few results.

The population as a whole, is conditioned to obey unconsciously to the system rules, and to participate at it in perpetuating its construction, still more forward, to even more growth, more profits, while accepting in return to enjoy some benefits of these profits, and ignoring voluntarily or not, the "collateral damages" that this engenders, namely: injustice, poverty, environmental destruction, and all that, at a globally level.

We all obey, individually, to non-explicit requirements. If they are indeed actually promoted, it takes place tacitly. And we assimilate them through education, media and the political system. It is virtually impossible to escape that.

So on the one hand, criticism of the system is able to develop and consolidate it, without really questioning it. And on the other, each member of society is adopting a consenting attitude provided that they receive sufficient compensation in terms of recognition, material security, or access to certain conveniences. And these compensations will have as effect to anaesthetize every rebellious feeling. This adherence concerns mainly the middle classes that make up the population majority in western countries. It is more implicit than voluntary, permitted by the unspoken, conditioning, automatism, habit. And everyone participates then, without intend, by blind obedience, to a functioning of which he only perceives the positive part.

And since we are not all equal in front of education, it can be observed that those who spend most time in schools and universities, will be the less able to challenge these conditionings, to the point that many of them consider themselves above those who were less marked, under a form that Alain Accardo calls : "racism of intelligence '.

And when we come to praise the failings of liberalism: we are neither totally liars nor totally victims of indoctrination. Let's say all that suits us well. It is a form of 'complacency' towards the system, which consists in obeying him objectively, giving ourselves subjective socially honourable reasons to do so, or not noticing it, without that it can be talked about hypocrisy, since we are the first to want to believe the reasons we have given ourselves.

It is because everyone, practically, assimilates the system without really being conscious of it, that the system can remain so strong and durable. It is not really voluntary, but there is no real resistance, however. To question the system it is necessary to go beyond an external criticism (at a political and economic level). By limiting ourselves to an external criticism we take more the risk to support what we want in fact to see disappear.

It is rather inside ourselves that we should seek. Because the system keeps the human in adolescent behaviours, where "having" prevailed over "being" and "doing", and where power relationship and competition are the main functioning models.

If richness is so much coveted, it is not so much by greed as by seeking status, recognition, power or even security. And the search for profit which is not an explicit value in our educational system, remains, however, the main force in the race for success, and remains one of the foundations of Western society.

It appears to be impossible to find valid solutions if the problem is not correctly defined. We can’t operate effective changes in society, as long as we go on taking as objective reference the subjective view that we have on it and on ourselves. As we go on failing in being really conscious, we persist to change the appearances while persevering to support what's going wrong at a deeper level.

To define correctly the problem and find real solutions, we must develop our capacity to free us from the glasses that blind us in front of reality.

And the difficulty of freeing us from that is coming from the fact that we have internalized, integrated, assimilated the logic of the system, so that it is part of ourselves. Our individual functioning model, our way of thinking, are in total adequacy with this logic, which makes us invisible the substance of the problem. And even when we denounce our model of society and its rules at a global level, we continue, at an individual level, to keep them as references. Our psychic structure is built from these standards. It is therefore impossible to change the standards outside of us, while they remain integrated within us. For it is this integration which allows to be agreeing (unconsciously) with the system, through behavioural automatisms, spontaneous inclinations, learned personal values. This way, we always justify this logic with well supported arguments provided themselves from identification with our dominant mode of thought.

As long as we cannot discern this complacency that we demonstrate, as long as we do not discover the concessions we made to our own integrity to keep the satisfaction offered to us by system, we can’t give us the means to return to the values linked with consciousness, heart and rationality, replacing the pseudo-values based on the pleasure principle.

It is necessary to revive the human in us. For, hiding under the freedom to "do what we like”, leads us to an imprisonment of thought, conscience, and all our moral values: what makes our obedience to the system almost infallible.

Changes in society can’t happen without changes in mores. At first these changes can only happen at an individual level and can not be forced from outside. These changes are outside the scope of asceticism, they require to put an end to our complacency in the system.

If we want to change the system, to change the World, we can not be dispensed to change ourselves.

If we understand that the system manipulates us, and therefore the success of its action on us is related to its sneaky functioning (which we are not aware of), it appears that to break free of it, we will have to highlight each of its effects on ourselves. For a manipulation made visible doesn't work anymore. That can not happen without effort, but the game is worth the effort. This is a daily and voluntary work, without which any political struggle, any seeking for change at a global level, can not succeed.

Version from 05/04/2009 – translated December 2011


This text has been written originally in French and has been translated by the author (who is French speaking). The translation quality is therefore not guaranteed : see more details here. Your help could be appreciated.

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