246. The Power of Negative Attraction

From a safe elec­tronic dis­tance, we watch the hor­ror movie of some coun­try dis­in­te­grat­ing, the lives of peo­ple just like us destroyed for no rea­son. Why does it hap­pen? The lat­est one is Syria: ”The Assad regime itself is not so cohe­sive,” argues Nadim She­hadi of London’s Chatham House. ”What binds them [Syria’s lead­ers] together is neg­a­tive ten­sion. They will only trust some­one because they know they have some kind of hold over them.” (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/world/assads-loyal-elite-grows-ever-smaller-20120721-22gt0.html#ixzz21IpxtkT1).  Here is a potent idea. Neg­a­tive ten­sion. We stick to the sur­face of mother earth because grav­ity holds us down. Cen­trifu­gal force wants to send us spin­ning off to visit the moon. Is it grav­ity or cen­trifu­gal force which is the neg­a­tive ten­sion here? Maybe it depends upon your point of view. Nature doesn’t have a point of view (does it?) but humans do. There seem to be end­less mar­riages that hang together by neg­a­tive ten­sion, once the first thrill of sex dies: there’s the mort­gage and the kids, in some coun­tries maybe reli­gion to bind them, and so on. Then there are all those mil­lions and mil­lions and mil­lions of peo­ple unhappy in their jobs, kept there by not know­ing how else to eat. If they win the lot­tery, will they work for love? Think next of those huge col­lec­tions of peo­ple we call nations states or coun­tries. How many of their lead­ers are lead­ers because the peo­ple love them? In some coun­tries we play a game of  illu­sions called democ­racy, pre­tend­ing to let the peo­ple choose. That’s tricky, and the truth behind it varies hugely, but there is some spark of a pos­i­tive idea in there. A lit­tle pos­i­tive hope is enough to keep the peo­ple together. In other coun­tries, so many of them, it is mostly neg­a­tive ten­sion. Power in those places comes out of the bar­rel of a gun. Between the peo­ple and the rulers there is zero trust, no mat­ter how many “patri­otic songs” they sing. When the gun is low­ered, the cen­trifu­gal force of sud­den hope blows these coun­tries apart.

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