The Pocket History of England - Introduction
The Pocket History of England - Introduction: Political Will or The Capitalisation of Knowledge
Introduction to 6 following Parts.
Political will is the determination to apply attitude through the deduction of purpose and the employment of strategy.
Flagging political will is the tendency to use family and/or domesticity as an acceptable excuse for compromising your ideals. It is also the tendency to compound that compromise by using the search for 'qualifications' as a legitimate demand on your time. Particularly when you do so in the face of the knowledge that your time is actually required elsewhere in the pursuit of your supposed ideals.
Carreerism is the middle-class privilege to indulge in processes of supposed self-betterment. It is the 'non-materialist' escape hatch for petty ideological materialists. It is the delusory ladder up which otherwise well-meaning should-know-betters are diverted by already cynicised should-know-betters who have already sold themselves to the capitalisation of human knowledge.
Human knowledge has become a commodity just like oil, coffee, and uranium. Supposed centres of knowledge have simply become stock exchanges specialising in the trading of this commodity. There are even established currencies. Certificates, degrees, fellowships, research grants are all trading units of the commodity. And all the jobbers and brokers furiously scuttling about trying to control the market have as their reward credibility and its material trappings. They get offices and telephones; secretaries and filing clerks; subsidised travel and club memberships; research assistants and sycophants; not to mention secure and adoring home lives. These are the rewards of cornering an aspect of the market.
Now you'd expect the sons and daughters of the ruling classes and the ignorant or indifferent members of the middle classes fully to endorse this racket; fully to savour its material rewards. But what of those of you who don't claim to be either of these? Those of you who are supposedly enlightened and caring seekers after knowledge for knowledge's own sake? Why are you playing this stupid game? What's your real excuse?
Yes, of course, there's the family and mortgage and mouths-to-feed angle; there's the incremental scale. And, of course, there's the 'change-from-within once the credibility is achieved' angle. But really, who are you trying to kid? That's like saying boycotting South Africa was damaging the Black community. It's an excuse.
What we have all been slow to realise is the way we have been materialising human knowledge; the way we have staked it out and tried to attribute to its sections a capital value. It is not the vast communal resource bank we pretend it is. It has just become another aspect of the wheeling and dealing for power; the male dominated preserve of extending the ego.
Some of us have become so prostituted as to sell our intellects to the pursuit of particular forms of knowledge because that's where the heavier capital can be found.
We seem to have lost sight of the fundamental fact that processes extend themselves through the processors. We play these prostitution games thinking we're in control and that our personal ideals can remain intact until such time as we've 'reached' some illusory stage in our lives when we can take our 'hard won' credibility out of the game, again act 'independently', and then, finally, begin to live up to our ideals.
But it can't be done. We're not that profound. We place ourselves in situations of prostitution - and become prostitutes.
© 2010 Deacon Martin
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