Saturday, February 21, 2009

Control

Something has been on my mind alot lately.

C-O-N-T-R-O-L.

Those seven letters in the American alphabet can wage so much hurt, damage, and pain.

Why has this been on my mind? After Valentine's Day, the news about the stimulus package, the cable news pundits, the New York Post, Bobby Jindahl, and now Alan Keyes, I thought this one word is at play.

Husbands try to control wives with money, power, or sex. Wives try to control husbands with the same things at times. Parents try to control children with time outs, grounding, or gifts. The job market or lack thereof, the falling Dow, the skyrocketing foreclosures, the bank bailouts, the corporate CEOs, all of it has elements of controlling one part of the population or another.

Control is about bending the will of one entity to the other.

The rich want to control the poor so the rich can stay richer. The media wants to control the body politic so they can remain wealthy and keepers of the airwaves. Image, status, position are all byproducts of control. Dreams are killed because redlining, redistricting, and gerrymandering determine which schools have new books and computers and which schools have low test scores. The lack of available employment has everyone on edge and under the thumb of someone - employer controls remaining employees with threat of losing a job if they don't work 50 more hours, working spouses control at-home spouse with threats of cutting off financial support if they don't put their picture up, iron their shirt, cook their dinner or some other demand to show submission.

And after it all adds up, one wonders, why the need to control someone else? Is it because they are not in control of their own issues or because they want to feel like the king of the castle, the lord of the manner, the golf-cart bragging rights?

The issue made me wonder even more when I thought about Chris Brown and Rihanna. What part is the media trying to control. Public opinion runs rampant. People have been interviewed, even my son and I, all with the underlying thought to control an outcome. Why is it that people feel they need to be in control of someone else or something else? Is that part of the human existence?

Being the educated person that I am and perhaps channeling the memory of my dad, I sought out the dictionary for a definition. Thanks to technology and webster.com, I found the following:


control
1. 1control (verb)
2. 2control (noun)


Main Entry:
1con·trol
Pronunciation:
\kən-ˈtrōl\
Function:
verb
Inflected Form(s):
con·trolled; con·trol·ling
Etymology:
Middle English countrollen, from Anglo-French contrerouler, from contreroule copy of an account, audit, from Medieval Latin contrarotulus, from Latin contra- + Medieval Latin rotulus roll — more at roll
Date:
15th century

transitive verb1 aarchaic : to check, test, or verify by evidence or experiments b: to incorporate suitable controls in 2 a: to exercise restraining or directing influence over : regulate b: to have power over :

After reading and thinking about this, it became more clear. Controlling is about having power over someone or something. It is about exerting influence for an outcome that benefits the one doing the controlling. It is now about the greater good and in the end, can be selfish.

Do I know any more than when I thought of this? Perhaps that the one being controlled is constantly pushing against the forces that would want to keep them pinned in a box. I've also learned that control is an action word, it is purposeful, directed, done with intent.

Maybe the lesson is for the controller to be less selfish, think about someone other than themselves, and allow themselves to be free so they can free others. It has to be exhausting trying to use money, power, influence, sex, food, shelter, clothing, gifts to make puppets of others.

Let go, it will be okay, the world won't crumble if you can't dictate every single moment or time will shift on you, just look around.

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