Liberation of the People: The Pathology of Power, by Norberto R. Keppe
I would like to speak especially to the young people, to the students and workers, who carry within them the richest ideals, and who believe that they can do much to help mankind. I want to tell them that in the past the adults of today were exactly like them, but that little by little they were repressed by something they did not understand very clearly. Now, today, we are finally able to see what that was: socio-economic power, which keeps us from developing, and which distorts and destroys the existence of the human being.
To the students and workers of all nations, I would like to say that the ideal society you envision is within sight. It will be formed very, very soon; for we have at last found all of the means to achieve it. You who study in schools and you who work for companies organized by the socio-economically powerful in order to serve them, should not despair, for not only can we rapidly transform these so that they serve our best interests, but we can develop true science and art as well. The effort of those thousands of human beings who sacrificed their lives so that we might have a better existence will not have been in vain. We have arrived at the moment of bringing to fulfillment, of putting into action, all of our incredible dreams, those dreams which have dwelt in the minds of the just of this world.
The young people, students or workers, are the living flame of all of the most precious ideals of humankind. They are the hope of every nation; they are joy, and life, and living affection. And yet the young are not able to sustain their joy, sustain this idealism, because the “ideals” that they encounter in society are very different from those they carry in their hearts. Little by little they come into brutal conflict with the ambition and greed, the intrigue and envy, of those who wield socio-economic power, and are forced to relinquish their precious dreams. Many of them allow themselves to be corrupted; others withdraw from the ordinary social environment. Still, there are some who courageously fight to change the situation; and it was mainly for these that Analytical Trilogy was created.
It seems to me that there is a general consensus concerning the erroneous orientation of the social systems. First of all, since the 60’s the young people have rebelled, being of the opinion that people over 30 cannot be trusted — which is true, of course, for that is generally the age at which professional corruption begins. Secondly, the fatal mistake that the young people made was to have entered the world of drugs, setting themselves apart from life in society. It goes without saying that drugs were welcomed by the powerful, who accepted them for two reasons: first, because drugs eliminated the danger of their being removed from power; and second, because drugs provided them an almost unequaled source of profit. The corruption of youth is furthered by many of the Latin American governments who permit marijuana, cocaine and LSD to be produced in their countries, in collusion with the powers-that-be in the countries that import these drugs (the United States and European nations).
There is, so to speak, a network of drug trafficking commanded by individuals posted in positions of “trust” in the governments. Some of the powerful entities that alienate the people are encouraged, such as the leaders of the churches, who protest most loudly about questions associated with sex (abortion, contraception), thereby allowing socio-economic corruption free rein. Even psychoanalysis and psychology receive full endorsement of the powerful because their emphasis is on sexual questions, the same as the religious institutions. I am not the first to speak of this matter, but I would dearly like to be the last, so that such agony will not continue indefinitely and we can finally live the life that God gave us. We want to be free, as we were created to be, and as the Creator himself is. If we do not succeed, what is the use of living?
A recent Newsweek cover story, “Showing the Flag: Rocky, Rambo and the Return of the American Hero,” represents an attempt to awaken the patriotism of the American people through film fantasy. In this same issue of the magazine we find a report entitled, “A Christimas Tragedy,” telling of the death of 256 soldiers in a plane crash. 2 Perhaps it is not necessary for me to point out to you that thousands of Americans in the armed forces risk their lives daily in order to protect, not the United States (which would indeed be a very beautiful act), but the socio-economic power of those who, in fact, exploit the people. Further along in the magazine, there is an article on the “Revolt of the Robots: Why House Republicans Jilted Reagan.” 3 Those who are knowledgeable on the political scene know that this is a question of pressure being exerted by the economic powers-that-be on the political powers-that-be.
All human beings are created with the same level of intelligence, yet some demonstrate greater intellectual capacity than others because they are less envious. The question of understanding is directly related to feelings: only those who have a great deal of affection are able to accomplish anything in the realm of under-standing, yet it is precisely the most envious who have taken over the reins of society so as to enslave the people and impede their development. Indeed, all of this enormous human store of talent and genius is rendered useless. The young person is all but prevented from using his talents, because professional life is keyed solely to the hidden interests of those who have socio-economic power, in such a way that he has no choice but to accept the corruption or do practically nothing at all. We must put a stop to this abnormal situation so that we may live with dignity.
Little by little we are going to have to admit that the human being is not free to dedicate himself to work for the purpose of making others rich. We are going to see that activity such as this is immoral. Either we work for the common good, in the sense of helping mankind, or all of our efforts will be unethical. Perhaps I do not need to add that it is not ethical to act only in terms of accumulating wealth, either for others or for oneself — although it may be necessary to earn a fairly good salary in order to lead a decent existence.
It is extremely important for everyone to recognize that the present socio-economic system benefits no one at all: for the wage-earner, it means poverty; for the rich, it prompts painful feelings of guilt; and for society as a whole, it prevents it from developing, thereby causing harm to us all. The young people must take great care in relation to the groups that have power. Inexperienced in life and obliged to submit to this immoral situation, the young people find themselves forced to forsake their ideals and their goodness.
In 1985, when I published the book The Decay of the American People (and of the United States), in it I forecast a vertiginous downfall of the American economy, its science, art, education, sports, industry and agriculture. 4 Never had a book of mine been so rejected as that one. The majority of the people saw it as simply an attack on the country — not as a warning meant to avert the fall of that nation. On the other hand, at that time I did not yet have a clear understanding of the cause of the problems of the United States, nor of the incredible suffering of the people in the face of the socio-economic powers-that-be which crush them.
Now I see that Americans are being stripped of all the means to study and develop themselves, because the wealth is becoming more and more concentrated in the hands of a few families who impede any sort of progress. Result: the space shuttle explodes at Cape Canaveral, the dollar falls day by day, the farmers are being robbed of their lands, the workers are prevented from working because the economic policy does not favor industry, the scientists have fewer and fewer resources to do their research, the youth have fewer and fewer means to study. In contrast, the stockpile of arms grows from day to day, and more and more of the nation falls into the hands of the bankers and the speculators.
The worst individuals use every possible means to find an activity that will enable them to attack others. This applies not only to the hangman, to the professional executioner, but to the foreman, the merchant, the banker, the money-lender and those who follow a military career as well, for they choose such professions with intent to mistreat the human being. The type of activity itself immediately tells us whether it will have to be reformulated or even eventually eliminated. I don’t think it is necessary to say that it is this large contingent of “sick” people that keeps the people from being happy. It is not necessary for every human being to be a psychiatrist or a psychoanalyst, but it is urgent that each citizen recognize what type of person it generally is that dominates him.
On Friday, February 14, 1986, The New York Times ran the following headlines on its front page:
- NASA Photos Hint Trouble Started Right at Liftoff — Dark Smoke at Ignition
- 20 Tainted Bottles of Tylenol Found by Investigators
- Iacocca and Secretary of Interior Clash Over Statue Panel Guster
- C. I. A. Accused of Tolerating Killings in Honduras
As we can see, all of these news items are about the damage that socio-economic power wreaks upon the nation, not respecting the lives of the astronauts, putting poison into medicines, fighting for power, and collaborating in the slaughter of people in Central America. The people’s lives are like toys in the hands of the powerful.
I have practiced clinical psychotherapy since 1956, and during these 30 years I have noted that as my patients improved, they began to enter into conflict with the society in which they lived. The majority were discredited by their own families, some to the point of feeling extremely out of place. It had come to my attention in a general way that the social environment was somehow noxious to those who were more balanced, and finally I made this discovery regarding the pathological aspect of socioeconomic life.
I would like to ask the following questions: Do you want to live without illness, at least without the more serious ones? Do you want to be less anguished, more relaxed? All of this is possible if the socio-economic system is modified, if it is controlled and placed on the same level as the other powers — and mainly if it is used for the good of society.
Ernest W. Lefever, in an article entitled “Morality Versus Moralism in Foreign Policy,” says that “the natural goodness of man could be translated into the structures of politics,” (5) and also that “power is immoral.” 6 Lefever shows with great clarity how human beings are being kept from being good as a result of the type of society in which they live.
I cannot believe that the greatest dream of humanity has ended. What all human beings have wished to achieve that is most beautiful, true and generous, Americans began to do in their country — which became the universal ideal for the entire human species. I am talking now of the possibility of realizing this universal aspiration, once the people who prevent it are checked.
- “Showing the Flag: Rocky, Rambo and the Return of the American Hero,” Newsweek, December 23, 1985.
- “A Christmas Tragedy,” Newsweek, December 23, 1985, p.20.
- “Revolt of the ‘Robots’: Why House Republicans Jilted Reagan,” Newsweek, December 23, 1985, p.26.
- Norberto R. Keppe, The Decay of the American People (and of the United States) (Sao Paulo: Proton Editora Ltda.. 1985).
- Ernest Lefever, Morality and Foreign Policy: A Symposium on President Carter’s Stance (Washington, D.C.: Ethics & Public Policy Center, Inc., 1977) p.2.
- Lefever, p.9.