Friday, September 10, 2010

Noblesse Oblige

Noblesse Oblige was the doctrine that the nobility owed an equal duty to their underlings as those owed to them. It was recently well portrayed in the film of Tolstoy. The theology of medieval days intrinsically interconnected leadership and followers in earth metaphors. One of the oldest of these was Sun and Moon with the eclipse representing a variety of interactions. Metaphors of family and reproduction dominated hunting gatherer societies and agricultural societies.

Today we're said to be in post modern times. The modern world was dominated by the machine with the metaphor of the 'clock' and it's various interconnected but obviously loveless parts. Today the question is what metaphor explains to us our relationship to others.

For many it would seem the entertainment industry has dominated their psyche. The idea is to be a 'star' probably because the 'worker paradise' of today has to such a large extent killed the mother. Without mothers the young seeks adulation of the stranger. Institutions dominate a child's life from 'cradle to grave'. The saddest children more often are those most deprived of family by repeated foster homes, jails and asylums. So often the constant of all children today is the television. The television dramas are superheros and villains mostly. PBS barely exists. Reality television has brought with it just a slight variation with it's orchestrated 'survival' shows based on Hollywood ideas of social organization that derive solely from the imagination of Hollywood.

There's a unreality intrinsic in this 'canned' and 'pampered' urban motif. Medicine and law provide other metaphors as does politics to some extent. Of these only medicine, to my mind, biased as it is, remains 'grounded' in nature. The rest seem to be the stuff of Berkeley whose very existence was but an idea. Philosophy and theologies abound disconnected from any inherent experience. Everything is a theory and one person says his theory is the best theory because more often than not it is merely the latest retelling of a more ancient truth lost in the layers upon layers of theory. The ideas of beaurocracies rival the fashion industry, all vying to convince the emperor or in this case, the people, that they really are 'new clothes.'

M-theory, 'model dependent theories' and pluralisms and amorality arise in the ethics free vacuums. What really is proven? Society compared to a clock was made to work as such. Winning wars of mass destructions the leadership imposed the metaphor of military on the society at large without apparently that glue of the 'noblesse oblige' of yesteryear.

Indeed, the metaphor of the individual as 'consumer' is a weak one as such and yet it's used to fuel all manner of seller dominated production of poison. Missiles, tobacco, crack and opiates all are equal to diapers, wheat, clothing and houses in the market analogy of modern valueless economics. Bean counters distinguished by their relative heartlessness are setting standards for society when their very methodologies are those of technicians not savants.

What is the relationship that governs the obligations of the rich to the poor, the powerful to the powerless. Post Christianity as some would celebrate, what is the relationship that will protect us all from the equal ideologies of big 'C' Communism under Stalin and big "F" fascism under Hitler.

The leadership are indeed more educated perhaps than ever before. They've had privilege and lives protected and indeed pampered. Seeing Prince Harry in the military like his father before him was certainly a blast from the past as far as 'noblesse oblige' was concerned. Here was the future King learning that a man must feed the men and lead the men not just send them out like one would 'mercenaries'. It hearkened to the likes of Henry Ford on the assembly line.

But what of the Rockerfellers and Roschilds. Would the 'banking' families have a concept of 'noblesse oblige' or ever actually 'mix' with the people. Would they not remain 'effete' in their protected worlds using the 'emperor's' of China 'gated community' analogies for their relationships. Is this necessarily intrinsic in the television metaphors of the Divas surrounded by sycophants and protected from their 'fans'. Princess Di was killed apparently by paparazzi.

Without 'noblesse oblige' what really protects us from another World War since we're just 'toys', perhaps in the schemes of men, women and monsters. Science would say we are interconnected but not in the way of God, not in the way of the nature of Newton. It's necessarily a frightening thought as one goes into old age and adage. To the banker, old money is just discarded. To the marketing ad man, the old images are discarded until time makes them all new again. To the Chinese Emperor or Stalin or Hitler, what were a thousand deaths compared to a million in the grand scheme of their designs for world domination.

I would rather a society see me in a way that protects me in old age and protects it's young. Television is too dominated with the healthy and the beautiful. Feeling ugly and old I trust the farmer's respect for the 'old grey mare' and the king who cared for his elders, especially those who served his father.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Randy said...

You are neither old or ugly, which is proved by your writing.

You are someone that clears the minutiae out of the way for me to see the truth.