'Control' and 'want' in the modern ideology

'Control' and 'want' in the modern ideology


I know that 'control' is automatically pejorative in modern ideology.  It is supposed to be a bad thing for individuals to control/use/exploit other individuals, or to wish their environments to be 'under control', in which case they are a 'control freak'.  (It is, of course, though not explicitly asserted, a good thing for agents of the collective to control/use/exploit individuals in the supposed interests of the collective.)

In fact a lot of variants are possible, which I would not suppose to be automatically or entirely bad, although excessive control for its own sake, rigidly considering only certain factors (such as is usually sought by agents of the collective) would appear to be bad.  But total lack of control, sloppiness, demoralisation, etc., such as appears to be aimed at by state education and the ideology in general, would also appear to be bad, and as well as posing no threat to the control of the collective.

One of the ways in which 'controlling people' is used is to mean 'trying to influence them to act according to principles which you think would be better than their current ones'.  In this context, emphasis is placed on what they 'want', their freedom to 'choose for themselves'.  In fact, the modern ideology has no respect at all for what an individual wants, or decides for himself.  C.f. the opposition to everything I most wanted for myself, when I was prevented from taking the School Certificate exam, and at all times subsequent, whether before or after I was thrown out into the academic wilderness.  In practice, the individual has no right to want anything that he has not been told to want by society, so the insistence on his volitional freedom is applied only when he is proceeding in a direction of greater demoralisation and decentralisation.

In a recent Cagney and Lacey film, Lacey's husband Harvey is doing himself in in some way, probably with some drug.  Lacey asks him to stop because it is bad for his health and she wants him to live a long time.  He says, reactively, the sooner he dies the better and he has no wish to prolong his life.  Cagney says to Lacey, 'You can't make him stop unless he wants to himself.  You have to love him enough not to try to control him but accept him with all his defects.'  (I.e. do not try to get him to live in a more centralised way, which would make him less at the mercy of society.)

Finally, Harvey is seen going into some institution to be cured, which is certain to be a degrading and decentralising process.  So he will be treated by proper social experts and crushed still further into submission, having escaped the risk of amateur and individualistic therapy, which would have been aiming to make him feel more 'special' and autonomous than society could wish him to be.

The only other situation in which what a person 'wants' is to be respected is that in which, his attempts to make a way for himself within the structures of society having been repulsed, he is encouraged (in fact it is positively obligatory on him) to find a way of doing something he 'really wants to', and get 'fulfilment', 'satisfaction', etc. within the tiny territory that society permits him to occupy.

Hence the amazing myth that I was 'free to follow my interests', or 'had got what I wanted', when thrown out into the wilderness with, at least on social terms, no permitted way of working my way back towards re-entry into a career.  What went on at the state school and subsequently could be described as aversion therapy; if proceeding towards my academic career was made hellish enough, it could be presumed that I would give up on it and say I found something else more 'interesting'.  No doubt there was a strong probabilistic case for believing this, even if no previous victim had been quite so precocious or quite so determined.

Actually my determination and refusal to give up, however negative my circumstances were made at school and university, only increased my sufferings and seemed, at least at the time, to be making all the greater the damage being done.  I feel sure I stimulated hostility as a red rag is supposed to stimulate a bull; it was a positive challenge to all concerned to prove that even I could be made to fail and be thrown out at the end.