Resistance, real Life, freedom or 'happiness'

Gaither Stewart - Pravda

Resistance begins in doubt. Then it grows into the adolescence of skepticism and matures into defiance, confrontation and struggle. Resistance is above all the determination to say, no. No! to euphemism and deceit. No! to falsehood and lie. No! to promises of comfort and ease and assurances that ours is the right way of life.

Resistance is real life as opposed to virtual life. Resistance is the precise opposite of acceptance of what society offers and the resulting retreat into comfort and ease, into the assurances that your lifestyle is the right one, that your way of life is the right way of life. Resistance is the rejection of Power’s version of life. It is rejection of wide-eyed acquiescence to Power’s lure.

Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor points out that man usually chooses submission. Dostoevsky believes that man prefers comfort, or even death, to the freedom of choice. Man only wants to be happy. He wants earthly bread. And that, his Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov tells Christ-God returned to earth, is the Church’s job, that is, Power’s job: man’s happiness on earth.

The Church, that is, Power, the Grand Inquisitor claims, loves man more than does the creator who placed on man’s shoulders a burden too heavy for him to bear. Christ-God overestimated the strength of his creation when he gave him the freedom of choice: ‘You acted without pity for him, you demanded too much from him.’ Religion (or Power), the old Inquisitor claims, must be on the side of the masses. It must comfort all, the ignorant and the weak and the mean and the sick. It must be vulgar. Instead of the uncertainty and spiritual suffering of the freedom of choice, Power offers happiness. Since the weak and hungry and mean masses are not interested in heavenly bread, Power promises earthly bread.

The Grand Inquisitor and his Church opt for man. The earth is thus the reign of mediocre happiness. None of your great spiritual aspirations! Oh yes, men will have to work, he says, as modern Power continues to say, but for men’s leisure time Power will organize their lives like a game, with childish songs and dancing, Suvs and TV and Sunday football. Power even lets them sin a bit.

Dostoevsky thus describes the tragedies of the human condition. In his revolutionary attack, he attacks the Grand Inquisitors (that is, Power) in every church, in every state, in every time. He dealt with the universal truth that most people do not want freedom. Most are afraid of freedom. The limit of freedom is the drive “to be happy.” In American society, it is “the American way of life” that is to guarantee the mysterious object that is happiness. But since happiness is forever ambivalent, elusive, vague and subjective, the result is fear of not achieving it, which means failure.

Fear is thus a symptom of our times. Fear of non-achievement. And today, it refers also to artificial fears such as the fear of terrorism, ironically, of terrorist acts executed by ourselves against ourselves. Does one not talk openly today about the next institutionally organized terrorist act permitting the arrival of martial law in the land? All talk of the threat to the “future of our children” terrorizes American nights.
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