Skip to main content

The Operating System and Beloved Community

The operating system is the thing that controls. It is the hierarchy in the clouds, the invisible tribe, the pantheon of gods and goddesses. The father of humilities like “mine is not to reason why, mine is just to do or die” or blind obedience to whatever is “trending”. It has many devices at its finger tips to persuade us that events are governed by public opinion, and that we are to blame for the state of the world even if we are powerless to change it.     

Through the ages there have been recognizable power elites, such as kings, emperors and empires who came, who saw, who conquered. But they are not the operating system – merely the interests that learned how to use the system to their advantage.

The operating system is invisible, nameless and exploitative. It has no reflective capacity, no feeling or sentiment. It is not interested in culture or science, because it has no interest in life. 

The operating system is not to blame for the violence of the ages,  it simply enabled it. Humanity is not to blame for the violence either – it simply fears the system and creates devices (such as the bank, the church, the corporation) in an attempt to control it.

In the end, when all life has been devoured by the insatiable appetite of the operating system, it will die unconscious of its life and its death.  The operating system is the universal will to power, from volcanic eruptions to social revolutions. If our species continues to glorify power above life itself we shall ultimately be silenced by it.  As long as we worship tools of power such as money, weapons, and technology, we become one of the system’s devices.

But if we can collectively use our power to nurture a community that nurtures the health of life within nature we create a beloved community.

The term “Beloved Community” was one that guided Martin Luther King Jr., in the struggle for civil rights. According to Religion Online, he wrote that the purpose of the Montgomery bus boycott “is reconciliation, . . . redemption, the creation of the beloved community.” 

Beloved community to me means being conscious of and working towards the greater good of all by paying attention to the quality of our relationships. Relationship between ferry workers and passengers, teachers and students, voters and politicians, homeowners and the homeless, corporations and consumers.

Beloved community uses power to support life by welcoming a new neighbour or by heroic rescue missions when a hiker gets lost on a snowy mountain.  Beloved community is the parental care and guidance of children, care for aging parents or troubled siblings.  Many of us have experienced the give and take of beloved community and know of its power. If we want this beautiful world to survive we must do what we can to re-program the operating system to nurture a healthy planet. 

May the coming year be filled with beloved community.


Popular posts from this blog

About Humanity

"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.

As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.

How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …

Albert Camus: Our task