Sunday, November 02, 2008


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Dear Readers:

This is not an essay on philosophy or theology. The Machiavellian question "Is it better to be loved or to be feared?" does come immediately to mind and it did, in fact spawn the greater question, "Which power is greater -- the power to create or the power to destroy?"

On this limited earthly plane where empiricism and self-serving pragmatism (largely born of generations of inculcated fear and obsessive conformity) provide both meaning and metrics, the ultimate power is with the destroyer. Morality and personal values notwithstanding, the individual person or group with the ability to "pull the plug" on the creation of others is the historically proven winner.

Examples abound in every aspect of Human affairs: brutal dictatorships, assassinations, barriers of landmines, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, extortion, Greek Fire, Hiroshima... the rise of persecutors, prosecutors and all brand of inquisitors to the highest government offices... The threat of destruction is far more powerful than the promise of creation or of the ability to create.

Destroyers exploit the tightly wound spring of fearful, conforming humanity -- of the propensity to fix blame instead of problems. They intrinsically leverage the contextual phenomenon of "anonymity in a mob".
Creators are inherently nonconformists, and this frightens many a person invested in the ennui of the status quo. Creators carry the threat and spoor of introspection or revelation or discontentment with them. Creators are so often so proufoundly in love with their creations that they would suffer crucifixion rather than to recant their beliefs or see their creations leveled by a wrecking ball or a bulldozer. That is the principal weakness of a creator -- this propensity toward passionate attachment. Destroyers have the power to deprive, and have the added strength of indifference to the beauty to be destroyed, or to the pain and suffering of those who will be deprived of it.

If you were to ask for my political (not moral) advice, I would say, generally speaking: Be a creator, or at least be perceived as one - - - but always retain the ability, within ready reach, to wreak destruction if you wish your creations to survive. Going further, you must have the ability to instantly destroy not only what you have created, but the things most valuable to others, as well.

The power to destroy should be used very, very judiciously, and the threat of destruction should never be the central theme of your discussions or negotiations, lest your enemies (and some of us do have a few) become so fearful that they become sufficiently inspired to take lethal pre-emptive measures. Beware the counterthreat.

Be a creator, if you wish. But re-read this brief essay daily. Beauty sometimes requires battle, and change is invariably met with resistance.


Douglas Castle

p.s. Remember Nicola Tesla? Copernicus? Magellan? Joan of Arc?
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