Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Stateside with Rosalea: To Whom It Does Concern

Hypnotism is a funny thing. I remember as a child seeing a local cow-cocky - shy as a kitten usually - belting out a song in a glorious tenor voice in front of a packed town hall. Secret talent. Secret wish. The hypnotist cannot make the subject do anything the subject doesn't want to do. That's why rapists who use hypnotic drugs are rarely reported - because, unless rendered unconscious, the victim was a willing participant in their own violation.

Society at large has a very difficult time understanding the concept of "agency" as it applies to the individual. To render a person unable to make decisions he or she would normally make is as much a usurping of their personal agency as is rendering that person unable to make the movements they would normally make, by tying them up or holding a knife to their throat.

And there are many ways of hypnotising people besides dangling a jade scorpion in front of their eyes. Power is a powerful hypnotic. To be around people who, in their decision-making, affect the course of history is to lay yourself open to becoming hypnotised into doing things - or not doing things - that in the quieter moments of reflection, when you are your own agent, you regret. And if those things have a consequence so awful it is almost beyond your comprehension, then of course it seems safest to go on letting your individual agency be exercised by the person exercising that attractive power over you.

The most moving thing I've seen on television this past week was last night when the local ABC channel showed photos of the people from the Bay Area who were on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. To see those faces - smiling, hopeful, ordinary - was to understand the equally strong power of the individual. Those people lived their lives. Their lives were snatched away. Each and every one of those individual lives was valuable.

To turn an intrinsic value that we take for granted every day into the excuse to devalue some other individual life is to participate in giving up your agency as an individual.

Two towers went down in New York. One woman still stands. She holds in her hand not a gun or a holy book or a missile. She holds a light. Only light can dispel darkness. Only light. Not more concealment. If you have a light to shine on this darkness - no matter what it might reveal - then you should exercise your agency as an individual to shine it.

Lea Barker
Berkeley, California
Tuesday, 18 September 2001

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Julien Troussier: Loving Trump

It’s 3am. Cannot sleep. Restless. Slide to unlock. Open the New York Times App. Look for the latest incident. He did it again. He lashed out. Fear. Anger. Outrage. I needed to see this. I needed to check that the madness was still there. More>>


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Live Blog: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>


Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news