These little empires that crush us

Relationships between human beings have probably never been easy. In any case, they were at no time smooth and without ulterior motive, in most cases. The history of men has remembered the construction and the collapse of empires. On the other hand, she did not transcribe in her books the multitude of “empires”—as many as of human beings—erected by diverse personalities, sometimes balanced, sometimes frankly pathological. All life is punctuated by these unfortunate experiences when it crossed the path of those who wanted to exercise their empire over others.

Until recently, unfortunate confidences were expressed above all through the arts, essentially literature. There human comedy de Balzac is a rich gallery of these portraits of those who cause suffering and who suffer. Goriot stages, for example, in the shabby Vauquer pension, the criminal manipulator Vautrin, the ambitious figure of Rastignac and the hungry for affection that is this father abandoned by his too spoiled daughters. Each deploys extraordinary amounts of manipulation to attract weaker beings to itself. The common method is almost always organized confusion, a chaos of feelings that toss around minds seeking to cling to those who pose as superiors. The list would be long of these masterpieces bringing face to face the executioners and the victims, those who impose their empire and those who suffer them. let’s think about The Confusion of Feelings by Stefan Zweig, to the famous Dangerous Liaisons of Choderlos de Laclos, at the lolita from Nabokov, to Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Red hair by Jules Renard or Viper in fist by Herve Bazin. The range is wide, as if all human relationships were condemned to the influence of some over others. For the most part, a kind of fatality sets in and an enslavement is established, suffered involuntarily and then maintained voluntarily, but with a weakened will, damaged by the one who has sown confusion.

The temptation to hold sway over others is therefore not something new and original. All Sacred History tells us of such deviations and the history of the Church is not exempt, alas. However, the machine has moved up a gear, to such an extent that she is no longer in control. Philippe Muray analyzed it admirably at the end of the last century in The Empire of Good. He also calls Balzac to his side with this quote at the start of his essay:

As there has never been more positive in business, we felt the need for the ideal in feelings. So I go to the Stock Exchange and my daughter throws herself into the clouds.

Here the empire is of universal dimensions, but it is hardly different from the small empires which crush us or which we maintain each time the relation with the others deviates.

A historian of the French language like Alain Viala has studied the link between empire and control. It is more and more difficult to escape from one and the other. In our daily inner struggle, we know how difficult it is to maintain self-control and that we often give in to the disordered control of our senses and our emotions, finding ourselves at the same time under their influence, a real yoke preventing us from really being what we are. THE Richard III of Shakespeare reveals to what extent the hatred of all by this king, their manipulation by an unbridled power, drives this character to madness and despair. When one is under the influence, of a person or of something, it means that the being is under influence, under domination, that he is no longer master of his actions and his feelings.

anesthetized freedom

The empire of Good denounced by Muray is this system which introduces men to be under the influence of substances, addictions, harmful habits, the race for leisure, confinement in the virtual, etc. The consequence of the grip is the reversal of the one who is affected by it, his change of behavior, his alteration. Among the victims of this type of slavery, those who were able or knew how to wake up, all then confess how much they were no longer capable of autonomy and that they ended up needing whoever was destroying them little fire. Freedom is not totally destroyed but anesthetized and those who suffer are hypnotized, witnessing their own downfall. An additional step is taken when the grip turns into an empire because the alteration becomes alienation. Alienation occurs when the abuser convinces his victim that he is responsible for his condition. This aggressor does not necessarily use physical violence. He can content himself with psychological manipulation to exercise his empire over the prey he chooses.

Red flags

Hence, also, the vigilance to be exercised in “spiritual relationships” if a certain number of signs are so many warning signs: devoting one’s admiration to a single person, putting them on a pedestal, feeling like a fearful child in her presence, focusing on her in all circumstances and blindly obeying all her injunctions, accepting her criticisms and humiliations without flinching, gradually isolating oneself by considering that all the others are of little value, living in anguish deaf, getting confused by all the confusion emitted by this individual, constantly excusing him and blinding himself to his limits and faults…

Being officially vested with authority within the Church facilitates the rise to power of those who, out of control, wish to hunt down and enslave.

The person who exercises his empire and his hold engulfs the other in such a way that she gradually injects him with everything that he is, everything that he wants, while depriving his victim of his true personality. Such an “emperor” produces clones since the only being that interests him is himself. All the others are only useful objects for a time, then thrown away, replaced regularly by fresher victims. The one (man or woman) who practices the grip begins by confusing the selected game in order to then be able to take it under his wing and make him believe that he is the saviour, the guide. No wonder so many of these perverts are going political or spiritual. The totalitarian does not only exist in the social realm but can also thrive in the religious sphere.

Being officially vested with authority within the Church facilitates the rise to power of those who, out of control, wish to hunt down and enslave. If authority is transformed into the exercise of a deaf, implacable, underhanded power, the damage will not simply be collateral but will shake the whole edifice and undermine the members’ confidence in the pastors. If authority engenders only fear, it will end in furious madness, itself under the sway of its wildest passions. It is therefore necessary to be always attentive, if we trust in the hands of a “guide”, to the effects on the development of our psychological and interior life. Everything that grows comes from God. Everything that sclerizes, stunts, shrivels up comes from the Adversary.


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