Dude Wore His Nerdiness Like a Jedi Wears His Lightsaber

I am reading "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao".  It is very good and one of the phrases at the beginning is, "No one, alas, more oppressive than the oppressed."  This phrase comes up regularly in many concepts and books, nothing new and we just accept it but how often do we think about why.  Think about the Proposition for gay rights and how it was rejected by a large portion of the oppressed in our society.  The French Revolution was started by the middle class and then spread to the lower classes.  The truly oppressed don't have the free time to think about the ideal.  It is hard to function when you are hungry or when you are trying to just wake up and survive.  Most political movements are started by the societal group that can see both sides.  They have the free time to contemplate what is best for everyone and they have enough contact with the oppressed to give a damn about what is happening.  In terms of the oppressed being the most oppressive there are a few examples that come to mind.  Mothers that oppress their daughters into being an ideal feminine object for the society at large.  They drill into their daughters the idea that to be a good woman means wanting to pop out a bunch of children,  keep a clean home, learn to cook, and don't forget to smile and look your finest.  Those that are raised in oppressive religions tend to want to oppress their children and scorn them if they aren't as devout in the dogma as themselves.  Any time you start looking at a person as part of a group that you are defining in your head rather than an individual it tends to not work out well for anyone.  I am going off track here.  So why do the oppressed become the most oppressive?  I think it has to do with needing to have a definition.  It is quite a bit of work to find who you are, what you believe, and what you want for your life.  When people have no time, no freedom, or are blocked from pursuing what they see as their purpose they need to have something to define them.  It is easiest to keep with what someone tells you that you are at least then you have a definition to work towards.  Making sure that everyone else stays within that definition is a way to keep yourself from feeling bad about it.  Misery does love company, but misery loves feeling that they are right even more.  Humans find it easy to say they are right and logical just because they have a majority.  I am breaking my own rule by assuming all of the oppressed are the most oppressive and it isn't always true.  I would approach each individual to decide, but as a group I think the phrase may be onto something here.

Krypton Krypton
31-35, F
2 Responses Feb 27, 2009

Honir - I agree that it is easier to forgive when you just see them as complex humans, the same as yourself. Does it also make it easier to live under repression knowing their rationale for it? Do people that are being repressed even have the entergy to bother considering it?<br />
DN- So is the ultimately a goal of a society simply that it lasts? I mean that as a serious question.<br />
CG- I have added it to my goodreads list now. Thanks again. I agree with the dictator comment. Humanity as a whole always seems to wind up wanting a God-Dictator to make an easy path to be delivered from sin and taken to a paradise, both of which are delusions in my mind.

I think it comes down to a basic human need to know. The obvious question on the mind of everyone who's had to face injustice is "Why?" Anger is the emotion it inspires and retaliation (reciprocation) is the form it takes, but it can all stem from wanting to know what someone gets out of an oppressive act.<br />
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In any case, it's easier to forgive someone if you realize their reasons for being an ******* could be perfectly benign.