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Catalyzing worker co-ops & the solidarity economy

To Take or To Be Taken

April 17, 2013
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1. Sexually, a lot of the time, it seems to go this way: he takes her, or she takes her, or he takes him, or, but not so often, she takes him. Not rape; rather, playing Taker and Taken between consenting adults. And not simple, as it can get very complicated in the myriad ways taken can become taker, and so on. Think of the old adage: beware the passive vengeance of the taken. (Actually, I just made that adage up.)

2. Biologically we are fully equipped and primed for both aggression and cooperation. Both are essential. To deny one or the other is a major mistake. What we have come to call “power-over” and “power-with” are not opposites. Together they produce stable situations. If the zebra eats grass and the lions eat some of zebras, then the grass, the zebra, and the lioness are partners in a stable ecosystem—along with the thousand or so other creatures and vegetation not to mention, climate, moons, suns, etc.. This principle seems to be a law of stable ecosystems.

(Note: the grass does not eat the grass, nor the zebra other zebras, nor lions other lions. Since oppression is essentially people consuming people, biologically it is really, really weird.)

3. Yes, one might argue that animal species are essentially hierarchic, and so domination among people is natural. Yes, but no. Hierarchy among animals with limited consciousness is a means to maintain the social stability of the group. It’s a method evolution came up with eons ago. They also groom each other and hunt together and mate, etc.

Hierarchy among us is a complicated matter to say the least. All of us use it for different purposes. For example, using it in order to achieve functionality in an organization that involves more than one level of interaction and work is essential and as old as the race. This can be done democratically, or we can do it by combining functional needs with our weird desires for some kind of affirmation that we are better than others because we don’t know how to feel okay about ourselves as we are.

(This reminds me of a scene from the biofilm about Rocky Marciano, heavyweight boxing champion in the 50s. His mother is trying to persuade him to accept his social status so he can be ‘happy.’ He responds with a plea from his soul—“Ma! I want to be somebody!” I wonder if he (or she) realized that he was her what he thought of her social value.)

To continue. Using hierarchy to consume others is weird and very destructive. At least most of the time. Is seizing control of a situation to achieve what the folks involved want but are too reluctant to risk taking action to get it, an act of domination? If it is, then is it in itself destructive? Is it both constructive and destructive? positive and problematic? Is paralysis or even the habitual avoidance of risk taking destructive? Is our taker-taken sexual playing just about oppression? Or might it be a way, even a necessity of sorts, for us to let go given our terror of letting go into love and no-control.

4. How do we talk and think together coherently about love, domination, and cooperation?

5. Please re-read this post with that question in mind.

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