Principalities & Powers: In Thrall to the Dragon (3/4)

Notes from Walter Wink’s award winning 1993 book ‘Engaging the Powers – Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination‘.

(Pg. 96-98). Liberation from the Delusional System

The perception that the delusuional system runs deeper than propaganda leads to a further important insight: those who are victims of the delusional system are nevertheless responsible for how they have been shaped (emphasis mine). And if they are responsible, then they can choose to be liberated from it.

People are socialized into their roles by means of the delusional assumptions from the earliest age – and this includes oppressors as well as the oppressed. They will further have learned to deny to themselves and others the fact that this misinformation causes them pain. We can hold out hope for the transformation of oppressors because to some degree they too are victims of the system and at some level have felt conflicted, as in the case of white boys in South Africa when they discover that they must kill the love they had for the black maids who cared for them since birth. (Some of those who have refused conscription have actually given this as a reason: they could not go into black townships and shoot at those who had nursed them.)

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Principalities and Powers: The Dragon’s Game (2/4)

Notes from Walter Wink’s award winning 1993 book ‘Engaging the Powers – Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination‘.

(P.95-96) “Propaganda (“is not merely deception . . . it is the manufacture of idolatry” see pg. 94) is only the tip of the delusional iceberg, however. Other nations or disaffected internal critics can easily spot and expose it. Propaganda is ad hoc; it responds to short-term needs; it changes to fit every situation. But the basic delusional system has altered little since the ascendancy of the Domination System some five thousand years ago. It has successfully held the vast majority of humanity in thrall by means of a series of largely unexamined assumptions that go far deeper than propaganda.

These delusional assumptions are what Colossians 2:8, 20 call the stoicheia tou kosmou: the fundamental assumptions of the Domination System. Not all of these hold true for all countries in all times, and some would be held by only a minority of people in a given country. But over the five millenia that the delusional game has been playing, these assumptions have continually reasserted themselves. Here are some of them:

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Principalities & Powers: The Dragon in Sheep’s Clothing (1/4)

Notes from Walter Wink’s award winning 1993 book ‘Engaging the Powers – Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination‘.

The Dragon in Sheep’s Clothing

“People would not be so acquiescent to their own oppression unless they were caught in a powerful delusion. “Delude” is from the Latin deludre, “to play,” specifically, “to play with anyone to his injury or frustration, to mock, to defraud; to befool the mind or judgment so as to cause what is false to be accepted as true” (pg. 88).

Thus….

(Pg. 93-95), “In order to delude humanity, to achieve a maximum level of stupefaction, the Dragon creates “another Beast that arose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like the Dragon (Revelation 13:11). This is not a natural, earthly, chthonic creature. It is not a deep archetype bursting from the unconscious. It is a wholly artificial creation. It will later be identified as the “false prophet” (16:13; 19:20; 20:10), whose task is to persuade people that their salvation lies in the political order. It works great miracles . . . and by these miracles . . . it deceives the inhabitants of the earth (13:13-14).

In appearance this Second Beast is as meek as a lamb – imitating the Lamb who is to rule the nations – but it speaks with the Dragon’s voice. It is a Dragon in sheep’s clothing. The Second Beast is the priestly propaganda machine of the empire. It exercises all the authority of the First Beast on its behalf, and compels the earth and its inhabitants to worship the First Beast (13:12). This goes beyond the realm of religious preference and into the domain of religio-political terrorism.

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