Beware of politics
IT IS important to be aware and conscious of our inner movements amidst the increasing political temperature brought about by the election fever.
Politics is divisive and we should have the ability to manage it before it would control us.
Political scientists have been telling (or better say convincing) us that, “everything is political.” This assertion came from the Greek philosopher Aristotle who contends that “man by nature is a political animal” and unless one is a beast or a god, there is no other option except to live in the “polis” (city-state) where one finds fullness in humanization. In the face of all the mess that is due to politics, we cannot but ask whether there’s still sense or truth in the said assertion.
True, politics is in all practical aspects necessary and unavoidable, however, we must not believe without qualification that everything is political. The word “political” is important but also dangerous. It is a word, which if attached to a certain region of human existence, may either make one’s life better or bitter.
Part of the problem, I believe, is the overemphasis of politics as a “practice” or “technique” rather than a means to a good life. We need to retrieve a lost aspect of politics and that is the conception of good life not merely in terms of structural or social arrangements. A good life is inseparable from good will, i.e. in the end the ability to deal and relate with people in and with greater freedom.
If understood in the light of the foregoing, politics is an important aspect of living. Unfortunately, such is not the case with politics today. Reduced to a mere mechanism of power, it has more to do with social control rather than “good life.” We need not wonder why even ordinary people in the streets are as divided as their politicians. More unfortunate is the reality that religions have to be turned into ideologies in order to advance political convictions.
“Politicians do not know us personally.” Except for a few of their supporters who are their relatives and close friends, these politicians really do not care about our daily transactions. They do not know our children and their needs, and neither do they care about our origins and all. Basically, they want our votes and that’s it.
It is important to keep these hard facts in mind otherwise we shall be moving back and forth into the same dark cave full of frustrations which we call politics. The bitter pill that we should swallow is the truth that politics is not, cannot, and will not save us from all our problems. The problem begins when we create grand narratives about politics that make us delusional.
There is danger when people would start turning towards political idols in the belief that their personal problems would be solved directly by fighting for an “all out partisan solution.” While grand scale analyses may give an explanation as to why we live the way we do, it also shuts our senses and disables us from seeing that as human persons we simply have the capacity to rise over and above a politicized life. Life may be lived within the context of a political locus but this does not mean that all of our being should be crippled or paralyzed because of our anger, hatred, and frustrations that are all due to politics.
We may be bound, to some extent, to participate politically but we also have the choice not to be swallowed up by politicizations. Office work, for example, need not be hampered by political alliances, and friendships need not be broken just because of differences or divergences in partisan alignments.