Friday, December 21, 2007

Power, Authority and Submission: Our Twisted Hero

I've recently read this tiny Korean novel by Yi Munyol. On the surface, it's the story of a school bully and some sort of resistance from one of his classmates, which ends up in submission. But as I kept on reading, I realized it is a beautifully crafted allegory about power, authority and our own dealings with them.

There are many books out there dealing with power and authority, with the injustices of totalitarian power and the multiple faces of authority, materialized in people, practices and institutions. But "Our Twisted Hero" is about our everyday life dealings with power and authority from within our own selves, with our attempts to resist what we perceive as injustice, and our submissions to it, once the price to pay for being a dissident becomes too high. Submission to an established order, which brings peace for the price of obedience should not be underestimated. Inability to deal with democracy and equality is also something to be considered, but then how are we to enable citizens to deal with the democratic exercise? And who controls the guardians of freedom?

After a revolution, after rejecting an authoritarian regime, people look for another authoritarian leader. I've seen this with my own eyes and couldn't understand it, but I realized that order and most importantly the feeling of being secure, of knowing how to handle things, is greater than the desire for freedom. And that the desire for freedom under authoritarian regimes is not matched by care for freedom once those regimes are being removed, but by a frantic search for the security of the lost order...

Photo credits: Amazon.com

1 comment:

Phil BC said...

Hey there, just letting you know I've added you to my sociology blog roll. Enjoy your hols and look forward to reading more in the new year!

 
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