Random: On Illusions II (Control)

I did cover control quite a fair bit in the previous two ‘random’ posts. Not very random now that I think about it. But nonetheless interesting to have around my blog apart from all my usual impromptu poems. Not that they aren’t cool :p

But I must say that while in the freedom-control pair control belongs mainly to an entity, a body, or peoples of much greater power or authority (e.g. government, law enforcement, deity), I was also interested in the human desire to possess, to own and be in charge. That man seeks both freedom and control is quite the paradoxical thing, since knowing that the extent of the oppression of control is enough to make him seek freedom, he still goes out to do the same. But on a second glance maybe not. The control common Man seeks is more often than not a concept, idea, or inanimate or intangible thing. I will use the definition of our seeking control to this extent. In fact it is the only main extent we use ‘control’.

Now, I understand control is closely related to power, but in some very abstract yet specific sense. Power, as I gleaned from my classroom lessons on governance and government, is this measure of the ability of one to influence the decisions and actions of others (whether forced or not). So I see that this can explain control: whether it is the drive to control agents of a contained system, or contain agents in a controlled system, is all maintenance and push for power. Scale is not so important, at this point. I wish to use this rather broad definition for control, then.

Control really is broad. It could be the mother announcing the teenager to be ‘completely out of control’. It could be the good old family feud for control of the late patriarch’s company. It could be control over our lives. It could be control over the decisions, actions and emotions of others. It could be control over an entire societal system, or some say the world.

Control of the future. Of relationships. Of authority. Of life and its dazzling, puzzling glories and richly colored facets. I’m not saying they are all bad or good. I won’t even certainly judge what is strictly black or strictly white. We have the age-old problems of government overthrow to establish a better system. I wouldn’t point fingers at the exact evildoers. Our hearts are all darkened and inclined to use good for evil, that’s what I think.

But the core ‘tenet’ of my argument of when control is an illusion is this: can we ever have complete control? It’s again this rather fragile, inseparable, dynamic universal relationship that binds control and freedom together. Polar opposites so like each other. I say here, that we cannot have complete control over anything, at least by ourselves.

I thought of it in several ways. Most are somewhat diagrammatic. You can see control-freedom as a pairing, at a most basic level. Perhaps an arrow like A–>B to demonstrate A’s control over B (therefore restriction of B’s freedom by A). Here then is my view: you can’t have only two players on stage. It is an intricate net, a shattering web of entanglement that ends up looking like A–>B–>(C<–D)<–E. You can get my point. Hierachy is never simple. But this gives the connotation of an apex agent in control. One in complete control. Yes. That is what I believe must be the case, because realising the incompleteness of everything has made me search for the completeness outside of this, and I found my answer. I don’t know about you. Don’t we sometimes wish we had (a righteous kind of) control? Control over the fate of sinister evildoers who committed genocide to the extreme of extremes, then escapes human justice and punishment by easy, quick suicide (perhaps). Control over the resources of the world, so we can channel it away from the gluttonous greed-vacuums of the apathetic ‘developed’ world, into the brutal land masses of starving, sick, dying and suffering people. These are great, noble ambitions I think reflect a critical examination into the state of our powerlessness as humans. We can’t have enough control ever, until we have an infinite amount of it, meaning it just goes on, and on and on. It’s never ever sufficient. That’s because this world is also a field of heavily overlapping ‘spheres of infleunce’, as I learned from History – like the Dutch or the British rushing for control over trade and economy in new territory. Absolution is still missing until maybe one day the world has only you. No competition ever. But still then I wonder if we would yearn for the control over death – the quest for immortality.

It never ends, and never will end, because it is never so simple. 4 agents will try to control one agent; agents will be in charge of agents who are [in charge of… [… […]]]. Another idea I postulate is that when there is an agent superior in the power/control hierachy to you, that agent is the one truly in control of all under your charge, not you. Sometimes superiority isn’t even needed. Agents of equal rank have different portions of the pie – all are contending for control (over one or a few inferiorities, so therefore are not all equal.

It’s complicated, it’s complicated, it’s really really messed up. As far as I see, which isn’t much. I know, trust me, the philosophers who explore all into power and control and the like. Really deep and critical, unlike me. I just scratch the surface of control. But in the end what I do say is this: our lives are consumed by multiple quests of control, whether simultaneously or at different seasons. I say they are futile, because satisfaction with any result of the quest is difficult to come by, even if one’s ideal degree of control is met. Unquenchable, and not necessarily something malevolent, to have that desire. But futile, nonetheless, to keep on going, when we can say that it doesn’t give us the absolute control we eventually seek.

Now to actually find time to think about my (final) illusions post, on social graces.



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