Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wizardry Over Citizenry

This is not a good period for the idea of citizenry. The collective wisdom and will of the people who make up a country go only so far in the best of times, and in the current era they seem to count for less than usual. The 2016 U.S. presidential election may be taken as a warning sign. The citizenry spoke, and the system chose the runner-up candidate, the one who millions fewer had recommended. If the majority of people fear this system and its actions, it is for good reason. Yet this is the same system that gave us the idea of citizenry. It decides what country each of us belongs to, it chooses the leaders, and it tries to persuade us that by acting collectively we can keep our respective countries out of trouble. This whole bakery was always a front for a business much more seedy, and all the more so now. If citizenry is in a weak state right now, the immediate answer is not to throw more energy into ever more desperation collective and civic actions. Instead, this is a time for a greater emphasis on wizardry. By wizardry, I mean that we need to develop individual skills and use them for small-scale action wherever we find ourselves. The word wizardry serves at the same time as a reminder not to limit our efforts to what the system tells us is possible. The forces that block collective change cannot block individual change. The answers we need will not be televised — television, after all, is another collective medium — but the wizard lives in a larger world, larger even than the “real” world you might have seen on TV. Imagine a world large enough to hold all the answers. Then look around.