Political Activism

Words are like wild animals.”  

Dr. C.G. Jung


While I have some mixed emotions about the “Anonymous Movement,” one of their points I agree with entirely.  That is the thought that, “You can’t kill an idea!”  Once an idea comes into the public consciousness, it stays there.  It can morph and evolve into something else, and it can take very many tangents from its original purpose, but once conscious, always conscious.  


This was a point Dr. Carl Jung made, when he was talking about bringing psychic realities into consciousness.  He observed that by the end of the 19th Century, Christianity had relegated Satan to a scary fairy tale, rather than the manifestation of Evil in the world.  But after the two world wars produced their bloody results, there could be no denying that Satan visited death and destruction upon mankind, and had very nearly won.  What would our lives be like today, if Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Imperial Japan had won World War II?


No one with half a brain would doubt today that the forces of Evil in the world can and do manipulate huge masses of men and women to commit the most violent and repulsive atrocities, including Americans. Yet if you had spoken with someone a century ago, and suggested what would happen in the 20th Century, they would have told you to see a psychiatrist.  By 1919, many were coming to see Dr. Jung, and he knew from then on that World War II was inevitable.


Still, the point is that we know quite consciously today that Evil does exist in the hearts of all men and women.   Here I am not talking about the little sins one might confess in a Catholic Church.  No, I am talking about the big industrial grade Evil that can lead to genocide.   


The problem we have in our current political debate is that the parties seem to want to argue the same tired issues year after year.  The talking heads of our cable channels have become Sumo wrestlers, who put on more and more weight to crush their opponents, while their opposition does the same.  Both try to win by their undeniable bloated power.  If you can imagine how ten 5-year-olds in the ring could influence the outcome of a Sumo match, you have some idea of what the average citizen can do.  And, the powers that be want you to have that impression.



So where is the possibility that “the little guy” can really change anything?  The answer comes by gaining popularity for a different brand of wrestling.  For the moment we’ll call it Judo.  Instead of trying to influence the Sumo match, political activists need to see themselves as black belts in Judo.  They can be quick and agile behind the scenes, and on unnoticed social networks, where sea changes can occur in the political ideas of the masses before the political powers know what’s happening.  


Just imagine what Hosni Mubarak, the dictator of Egypt, must have thought about the possibility that Facebook™ could somehow have a catalytic affect on his fate.  Many of the rest of us have been caught by surprise by the influence the Internet has had on our lives in the past three decades.  I can tell stories all evening about how it has fundamentally changed my life and my way of thinking about the world.  


In 1985 I met my wife online.  That was ten years before practically anyone even knew there would be such a thing as the World Wide Web, and Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg, the founders of Facebook™, were not yet born.  We became among the first five couples in the world to meet online and marry.  Indeed, we might be the first couple, because I’ve never heard of anyone who met online and married before us.  


So my point is that there are ways to make changes, which no one has ever imagined.  Those need to be discovered and implemented.  Forget about wasting your time watching the likes of Chris Matthews or Bill O’Reilly.  They are the Sumo wrestlers.  Leave them to your parents, who haven’t had the spark of a fresh idea since you were born.  They need the hypnotic comfort of hearing people restate positions they support night after night.


But if you are going to change the world, then change it!  Introduce a new style of wrestling like no one has ever imagined.  Don’t worry, the nice thing about the talking heads is that they will still be there pushing the same old bar of soap when you have made your plans.  At least you know where they are!  


Sumo wrestlers are surprisingly poorly adapted to deal with the ideas and changes you can introduce.  This is why so many of them were dumb founded when the Occupy Wall Street movement got going in earnest in the United States.  They didn’t even know how to think about what was happening.  


Oh yes, they pulled out the usual tear gas and dogs, and they made people shut up for a time.   But did any of the discontent go away?  Not on your life!  Those seething wounds on a myriad of topics still simmer beneath the surface of the oppressed.  If shown a way, they will rise to the occasion.  


Take “flash mobs” for an example of how ideas can be communicated.  They can be exceptionally effective, and they can make their point in 3-5 minutes.  They can be videotaped, and live forever on YouTube.  A clever and/or funny “flash mob” can go viral and pass an idea to 10 million viewers in a few days, even if it’s performed only once and then evaporates instantaneously and forever.  


The Sumo wrestlers may ignore you, but what can they do?  With their bloated size and circumscribed ring, they can do little besides keep you off of their programs.  But if you’ve spread your idea to 10 million viewers in a few days, why would you care what’s happening in the Sumo ring?  


Photo Credit: Two sumo wrestlers engaging in a fight - © Hbuchholz | Dreamstime.com


Skip Conover is an international businessman, author and artist. He is a Founder of the Archetype in Action™ Organization .  You can follow him and his work on Twitter using @skip_conover  or on Pinterest.  Skip's latest book is Political Psychology: New Ideas for Activists.  He is also the author of Tsunami of Blood.  


Jung for Laymen

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