I made a quick on-blog comment to Chris’ post but felt there was more to share. The idea of three different responses, each with their own power was something I wanted to delve a little more into.
Chris eloquently explains that The Power of No as represented by four women philosophers give us a powerful beacon to see the importance for a small number of people to raise their voices in opposition to absolutism. It is necessary for there to be principled opposition to majority because majorities are not without fault or ignorance. Human nature being as it is, is well served by a conscience and the Power of No is this practice.
Yet human nature is a multifaceted thing for the Power of ‘no’ is challenged by the power of ‘yes’ and the power of ‘maybe’.
‘Yes’ is the desire to belong to certainty in a world full of uncertainty or horror. It is a powerful magnet and it does not matter if the certainty comes from dogmatic religion, science, national-states, or whatever group you belong to.
Yes to belong in a world of uncertainty. Yes to belong to a sense of identity no matter how odious it could be to others. Fear is what drives many to seek certainty and the immoral exploit this fear with tales of scarcity or impending doom. Belonging is important, everyone wants to and needs to belong. It is the basis of good mental health but taken too far…
The other response of ‘Maybe’ is something I came across not long ago on Twitter. The Twitter thread was an elaborate explanation about the similarities of the attraction by some towards intoxicants in chemicals and in the intoxicants of the absurd and ridiculous. Be it a lottery win, an outrageous conspiracy theory, or the make-believe of play, humanity does enjoy entertaining some perplexing things that defy rational thinking.
The Science of Pleasure is a lecture listed below that explains why rational thinking is short-circuited by the anticipation of something possibly coming to fruition. It does not matter how remote the chance is, but that somebody tells you that this could occur is enough to give some the dopamine shot they are primed for. The anticipation is more pleasurable than the actual receipt of it.
The immoral also exploit this power of Maybe with outrageous claims to attract our imagination. It does not matter if it is a religious prophecy that is forever being revised or an absurd political conspiracy about the Illuminati, the power of possibility can be unshakable. I believe that everyone needs to have ‘Maybe’ in their lives through hidden fantasies but when taken too far…
Both ‘Yes’ and ‘Maybe’ provide certainty and fantasy which is necessary for humanity to function. The problem is that the immoral exploit these for their own ends. The solution is to develop an awareness and criteria to identify these exploiters and then sanction them in such a way to neutralize their poison.