Inquiry: Estrangement XIII – Privilege

Strassbourg, France. A Cellist. Jeana Bala @superfrenchlover on Unsplash

by LJ Frank

This series seeks to understand some of the differing faces of estrangement and the crossroads it approaches for good or ill.

Dating back to the 14th century the word privilege was rooted in part as a right or immunity granted as a special favor by the state and also, influenced in part by ecclesiastical bodies, the wealthy and ruling classes. Wealth and perceived position were key ingredients in discerning if not separating people from each other.

Privilege may arrive on one’s doorstep in a singular or blend of guises – through birth, wealth, tribe, clan, family, race, gender, religion, culture, education, physical ability, perceived beauty, intellect, fraternity, sorority, type of work one does and so forth. The list is lengthy and varied if not a complex arrangement one has with one’s perceived self and the society in which one lives and is especially discernible to the non-privileged or those that pay so those that have can enjoy their self-proclaimed privilege that ultimately is an illusion – for privilege works best when others buy into it.

Social media is affected by the marketing of and gaining access to the illusive quality of – privilege.

Power has its velvet chord [privileged] rewards to channel people’s behavior – from the most credible doctors and lawyers, to private jets, yachts, resorts ad infinitum, while the majority of humans on the planet are enslaved by their impoverishment – physical and emotional.

Ethical disparity ~ The ethics of privilege varies with the ethics of those existing outside of that privilege. 

Privilege can be but not necessarily have the invisible inked clause of self-entitlement above those not privileged in their own eyes, and that is a sense of being part of something special or separate from the “others” who may or may not be redeemable, but certainly controllable, and yet even the privileged in my treks around the globe observe the need for redemption in the most subtle of meanderings as there are never enough physical possessions, that in any number of instances include the distilling and filtering of dogma – emotional and spiritual allegiances.

The closer to death the dying person might find that the author of Ecclesiastes was truthful and that all is indeed vanity even when surrounded by countless possessions and people to do one’s bidding – the cost of wealth is to inspire those without privilege in tactics and methods to be like me though you never can, that in turn enhances mastery over those who never will enter within the circle of privilege.

The illusions of privilege are manufactured by those wanting and needing to maintain their manipulation over the very people they seek to persuade of privilege’s inherent authority including over those less fortunate and in the process an estrangement to one’s own humanity occurs.

The strands of attributes deemed as privileged can become woven into the fabric of our now estranged conscience and the human soul is exchanged for an illusion in a Faustian bargain.

Towards the end of his life Thomas Aquinas was observed by those close to him to become increasingly silent. And in the margins of a manuscript copy next to his Summa Theologica are the attributed words ~ We think we know but have yet to discover.