Shedding light on the distance between power and truths

Note: the content below is all in first draft format. It will change considerably during the time it takes for the study to be completed. I post now ‘for interest’s sake’.

As seen in, Badiou (2009:8) states that between “power and truths there is a distance… Philosophy’s mission here is to shed light on this distance”. In the specific example Badiou was exploring, ‘power’ was symbolised by General Marcellus – power in this sense denotes the standard definition: “the ability or right to control people or things”; “political control of a country or area”; “a person or organization that has a lot of control and influence over other people or organizations” . ‘Truths’ in the context of Badiou’s example were symbolised by Archimedes’ interest in an objective process unimpeded by power; in Archimides’ case, a mathematical calculation, but ‘truths’ need not be confined to the realm of mathematics. The same ingredients are applicable to aspects of this study: on the one hand, the Promethean attitude/ideology/paradigm/model/ etc. has been shown to have manifested itself as the dominant world power for many centuries, culminating in advanced competitive consumer Capitalist industrial democratic dominion (ACID); on the other hand, demonstrable facts (i.e. ‘truths’) about what constitutes the ecological crisis exist, and more importantly for the focus of this sub-section, facts about what causes the ecological crisis also exist. There is a massive distance between the power of the Promethean (which is to say the power of ACID) and the truths of the ecological impact of this power. This can be seen in a brief revisit of the example explored in 2.1.2 of sustainability – there it was seen that an awareness of the need for sustainability is often incorporated into Promethean endeavours, but always in a manner whereby the systemic cogs of the Promethean edifice must keep turning as a priority. The edifice is the Promethean power-structure of ACID. The extent of the demonstrable need for radical change in order to achieve real sustainable human practices is an example of a faint glimmer of truth; but this ember of truth is extinguished by incorporating an unrecognisable fragment of it into the ‘growth engine’ of ACID, because as already discussed extensively, ACID (as the contemporary manifestation and culmination of the Promethean) is inherently unsustainable. In other words, power is perpetuated when an inherently unsustainable structure incorporates ‘the sustainability mandate’ into its remit, and any sight of ‘the truth’ (in this case, the real need for sustainable endeavours, or the causes of problems surrounding sustainability) is obscured or lost. Part of the role of philosophy is, as discussed in 2.1.2, to draw explicit attention to this kind of problem, but now in light of what has been explored in this sub-section, part of the role of philosophy is also to shed light on the distance between power and truths, which I have worked towards doing at various stages in preceding parts of this study. The Zeitgeist Movement, the Occupy Movement, Sacred Economics, and Blessed Unrest, via their analyses of ACID’s systems, all reveal the distance between power and truths.