Just recently while scrolling down my Facebook news feed I came upon a post which got me thinking. It was a livebuzz article about a Brazilian graphic designer and her illustrations concerning women empowerment. Surely, the world is hardly short of feminists these days. I hesitate to claim that it is a fad (wasn’t it a 60s-70s thing?), but it does carry a buzz when a female acquaintance declares, “Yes I’m all for feminism” and then starts giving you a lecture about the equal protection clause and the machinations of The Man. Whether or not the “I’m a feminist” card is a fad or not, its claims have managed to find their way into Facebook, or my feed rather. There are claims more radical that what their authors probably have thought and their rather ubiquitous character only adds to my interest. Here is one illustration:
“You are the only authority of your body and your identity!” The first obstacle is probably the fact that it sounds more like the ravings of a spoiled toddler who refuses to share the toys at the playpen: “MY TOY! MINE! MY RULES!” Children say these things all the time and adults scold them. But what of adults? Well, all we can do is pray and hope that they are open to reason. The illustration was right to highlight four words: YOU, AUTHORITY, BODY, and IDENTITY. All of which are problematic and yet they are all in one sentence, giving us a philosophical quadruple whammy. Well, the first question that stands out is by what authority can you claim that you are the authority of your body and identity? Authority is delegated – a fact that law students are well aware of. Authority is drawn ultimately from the volunté general, God, a supreme being, the Constitution, aliens, wikipedia, or whatever. Law student or not, the fact remains that a taxi driver cannot call on the armed forces of the Philippines to suppress rebellions or whatnot simply because he grants himself the authority to do so. It is only the President since that is provided in the Constitution (but not for traffic), and the Constitution itself draws from the sovereign will of The People, whoever they are. Even in the first level of questions, we get this kind of problem. It’s just like in childhood when all questions starting with “why” end up with the answer of “because I said so!”. Just think of the problems from “You” or “Identity” even “Body”. *shudder*
On another note, it really strikes me as strange to go on and make the same claim as the illustration above. Strange because, like all good efforts at deception, there is a truth in it. Good lies break the truth, great lies bend it. There is a truth, albeit half-baked or deformed, but authentic truth in it nonetheless which renders it so believable. But the focus of this entry is merely the deception – the idea that we can be self-granting authorities. The claim gets thrown around in advertisements, movies, radio, nearly everywhere and we hardly bat an eyelash. A closer look though would give a clue. Nearly all the apps are centered around us – slowly we are writing out own autobiographies and working full time for that matter. The apps are turning us into professional documentary filmmakers of our own lives and by the time we are done, we realize that we hardly had enough time even to view the films of others. “What’s on your mind?” “Compose new tweet.” IG it. A liked your post. B checked in at Z. Maybe in a way the social network was a pandora’s box. A tool of virtually limitless opportunities for connectivity while simultaneously carrying the temptation to center our world on ourselves. Ever see that family across the table in some fancy restaurant all flicking their smartphones? Something like that. Lots of material has already been going around at the (anti)social network but nothing drives home the point like a quiet table over good food.
So how much are we willing to pay for free WiFi? Our social lives? Some already have paid that price. Weird, but that’s the way the world goes these days. Maybe this all adds up to how some people can declare themselves as their own authorities and go doing whatever they want. It is a symptom of vanity and of a creature who was molded in the image and likeness of God. Strange now that I think about it. Wasn’t that the story in Eden?
We are all our parents’ children after all.