By Andreas C Chrysafis
October, 2014 (No61) ©
It all starts with one idea – the power of the mind! An idea actually never dies but blossoms into a powerful force that can make radical changes or it can equally grow into a powerful bad idea to be used for evil purposes. The world has seen both and yet it’s not much wiser today than yesterday. Atrocities continue indiscriminately and the gap in social inequality is getting wider by the day. In a world full of excess, opulence, knowledge and intelligence one experiences famine, poverty and barbarities committed by devious and corrupt minds.
Powerful nations often resort to extreme methods and trigger regime changes that pose an obstacle to their own economic or political interests. In fact those pseudo-policies have shown they are no more than a pretext allegedly to “democratize” nations. In all cases they have produced the opposite results. One has seen meddling for regime change in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Libya and many other countries; all victims of clandestine interference by outsiders! Conflict, economic turmoil and nation-disintegration often follow after such meddling!
Today, war by deception has become the ultimate form of violence and making wars is certainly a profitable enterprise for both bankers and industry alike but most importantly, it diverts public attention from troublesome domestic issues. Blaming others for one’s own mistakes has been refined into an art of grand deception.
Hitler quickly recognized how effective “diversion of responsibility by deception” was and used it indiscriminately. In order to control the minds of the masses, he blamed the Jews and other ethnic minorities for Germany’s domestic, social and economic woes. The “rabble” swallowed those lies like manna from heaven and did not object to his evil plans – the rest is history!
Spinning the truth without a doubt has been a very effective tool for manipulation. To maintain supremacy the political elite and its associated media-mongrels refined the “fallacy of democracy” in such a convincing way that citizens actually believe that by voting they have a say in government. Unfortunately, the fable of “people power” is simply a fable and that myth is as true today as it has ever been. As it always has been, a privileged minority class has controlled the majority and will continue doing so in a similar way as the Athenian democracy did to the Hellenes. It will take a social miracle and a Glorious Revolution of the Mind to change the status quo.
As things stand, the presence of democracy does not always guarantee that citizens’ wishes will be equally represented. That has never been the case. Throughout all democratic nations immigrants and ethnic minorities hardly receive the same rights as the majority of citizens. This disparity is found right across all countries with little –if any – chance of eradicating this inequality.
The cherished idea of Direct Democracy as envisioned by the Athenians, where every citizen has an equal say in the workings of government and which allows each individual to participate in a rule “by the people for the people” never really existed. Political autocrats and a select sector in society have done away with that principle and replaced it with Politicocracy (Kommatokratia) where Political Parties are now the country’s new masters.
This new political arrangement grew strong by splitting social order on the basis of ideology and thus setting one group against another. The Cold War between East and West – communism versus capitalism – is a classic example of how powerful nations influenced the masses by using indoctrination to gain power over the minds of the people; control the mind and one controls the nation!
Inevitably, people were grouped into separate social pens and branded with political party dogmas; some advocating liberalism, conservatism, capitalism, socialism, communism and more “isms”. Yet in principle, political parties are not much different from one another for they all aim to gain power and to govern the nation as they see fit and primarily to serve their own support base.
Political parties in fact, are relatively new and came into existence in the last couple of hundred years. It all began after the bloodless Revolution (1688-89) to overthrow King James II of England and the accession of his daughter Mary II and her husband William III of Orange.
John Locke (1632-1704) one of the most influential English philosophers along with other prominent thinkers advocated classical liberalism, a philosophy in which primary emphasis was vested in securing the freedom of the individual by limiting the power of the government – at least that was the essence of the theory! Robert Peel, another prominent aristocrat, set about assembling a coalition of forces and issued the Tamworth Manifesto (1834), which set the basic principle of Conservatism. The Whigs along with “free trade” and “radicals” under Lord Palmerston, also an aristocrat, in 1859 formed the Liberal Party. Founded in 1900, the Labour Party a centre left political party grew out of the trade union movement and socialist political parties of the nineteenth century.
Party survival was paramount and in order to avoid fragmentation it had to be controlled and bring rebellious thinking into fold. William Ewart Gladstone came up with an idea and created new selection procedures of party candidates. In 1884 he imposed a firm “party pledge of obedience”, which obliged MPs to vote as a bloc in parliament on all occasions. The freedom of the mind had been culled and MPs had no other alternative but to follow the party line or they were ousted. It was a powerful political blackmailing tactic that worked wonderfully; no MPs were prepared to destroy their political careers.
British colonialism had become the springboard for the Political Party concept that soon spread across the colonies and beyond.
Cyprus was not excluded from such influence but with a vast difference. Where western citizens used common sense to elect the best man or the best party policies presented on political platforms, in Cyprus such thinking never flourished. As a small rural and a poor island it became an easy target for dogma domination between capitalism and communism. The church of Cyprus also had an influence over the minds of the people and since communism advocated atheism, the Communist Party on the island was doomed to fail for disregarding the spiritual needs of people.
At the height of the Cold War, the island was split politically to the point that political parties began treating the opposition as enemies. That’s how primitive thinking had become due to overbearing bad politics. This frictional principle had spread right across society. Entire families did not vote for the best policies but for “The Party” and that soon became a way of life and passed on to future generations. Freedom of the mind had stagnated with a new player on the scene: Politicocracy (Kommatokratia).
One is wiser than others by being aware of his/her own ignorance but not in this case. Cypriots were trapped in a system that did not allow them freedom of expression or of the mind. Bombarded by political dogmatic influences citizens failed to rise above the threshold of subservience and xenomania.
The cure for ignorance can only be knowledge but such knowledge was never provided by a proper education system to produce free-minded citizens to aim for excellence based on merit. One of education’s primary missions is to produce good citizens empowered with a free spirit and with the ability to judge and decide what’s best for them, their community and the country. Unfortunately, staunch political dogmatism prevented such radical thinking because it relied on obedience in order to survive as an entity.
In fact, politicians ignore one of the most fundamental principles in society – the recognition that the fate of a nation depends entirely on the education of its youth. Instead, political parties endeavour to condition the minds of its youth by establishing youth movements aligned with the “mother-party”. This is one way to ensure continued political party membership growth and gain influence over the minds of the young to win elections.
Established on the “fallacy of democracy” political parties soon played a major role in dividing the people into three socio-economic classes: the dominating class, the elites and the masses. Tension between the dominating class and the elites causes the masses to seek out protection of their democratic rights. In so doing, they invest all their power and hopes in a political party demagogue, who, in turn becomes corrupted by power and ultimately becomes a despot under the principle of a democratically-elected government, which then governs under an elected dictatorship.
In fact, political parties have managed to acquire a privileged status that applies to no other. They are except: from taxation, profit disclosure and property portfolio; they are not obliged to be accountable or transparent and nor are they obliged to disclose their financial support base. In a fair-minded society that cannot be right but it is a great feat of connivances.
For the small island of Cyprus this has become even more apparent due to its turmoil past and present for that matter. A radical thinking is required to trigger major changes that will then develop a nation based on equality and flourish under the Rule of Law; a society that will grasp the idea – long missing – that nobody is above the law of the land and that nobody is beneath the law. Only then will a fair society spring into existence to make people feel secure.
Ultimately, a Glorious Revolution of the Mind will bring about those wonderful changes.
But what is it? It is that precise precious moment when citizens decide to speak out with a free mind against injustice, corruption and nepotism; it is that one special day when they recognize that Politicocracy (Kommatokratia) is simply another form of control of the masses and once liberated, they will then vote for a democratic party and a leadership of their own free choice and not succumb to pressure by the political-party hierarchy; it is that glorious instant when decent citizens recognize they can make good things happen; it is that moment when their voice of reason starts to influence the media and those in power; it is that moment when they acknowledge, that, as citizens of the state, they have the power to demand the Right to Know; and it is that moment when they acknowledge that they have a crucial role to play in the affairs of their local community; and it also is that moment when citizens take active steps to stop destroying the environment and preserve nature’s gift to mankind; it is that moment when citizens start to demand accountability and transparency from their peers; and it is even that wonderful moment to demand that justice not only is to be done but must be seen to be done; and it is that magnificent moment when they call for the respect of Rule of Law right across the land; it is also that moment when people accept that as individuals have a positive role to play in society; and it is that great moment when people finally weed out from their perfumed garden those pests and parasites for one last time before they bring the house down. That is the start of a Glorious Revolution of the Mind…
Andreas C Chrysafis
Author – Writer – Artist