Legal Fetishism, it’s not what you think
In the flow of daily ‘sh*t’ Tim and I banter about, Tim discovered the most marvellous two words I have recently heard strung together … ‘legal fetishism’. As my mind went racing off on a quest to construct a sentence into which they would neatly and humorously fit, he quickly assured me that they were not all that exotic. Or were they?
Fetishism seems to embody a broad and historical definition. In modern terms, the Collins dictionary describes Fetishism as involving a “person having a strong liking or need for a particular object or activity which gives them sexual pleasure and excitement”. When adding that definition the word ‘legal’, for me, didn’t make sense, nor was it ‘sens’-ual or reminded me of any other ‘tantra’-lising connotation.
Further exploration revealed, via the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a more fitting definition as being “extravagant irrational devotion”. From this, my very extensive research could only deduce that if you have a fetish for something it has a type of power over you.
Exploring a more meaningful explanation that these two words could offer as team players, I came across this marvellous excerpt claiming to be from a paper written by Isaac Balbus on Commodity Fetishism And Legal Fetishism (1977):
The fetishism of the Law of which I am speaking appears in many guises. /…/ The most frequent /…/ is the common refrain:
“If we didn’t have the Law everyone would kill each other.” [emphasis added]
All these instances, and many others, are simply variations on the common theme of legal fetishism, in which individuals affirm that they owe their existence to the Law, rather than the reverse, inverting the real causal relationship between themselves and their product. /…/
Balbus’s view supports a popular position I’ve heard said very recently amid COVID-19 hysteria, that that if we didn’t have laws [read: the Rule of Law], there would be anarchy and it would then follow that the law of the jungle would prevail. Of course, I have an opinion about those type of remarks:
1. Anarchy would be awesome if it didn’t have that awful undertone and/or association with violence – in this regard I draw your attention to my article: “Rules are for idiots!”; and
2. More importantly, I think that we are already surreptitiously possessed of the law of the jungle, which despite all predictions, did not automatically arise from a state of anarchy.
We live within hierarchical systems where those that are in power are the ones effectively calling the shots. ‘They’ will eat you alive if you find yourself cutting off their power supply; the power that keeps the masses reliant upon them ... and in a state of fear. The power that looks like love. They will keep you safe, they say. Just watch the news, it will keep you informed, they say. Us mere mortals really have no idea what’s going on and are drip fed self-serving information. Moreover, we have become ravenous consumers of media that thrives on our fears.
Our fear has equally created a legal system to keep us safe. It ‘assists’ us by mimicking personal rules and laws we have created internally. This system gives us a fictional, yet in our minds, legitimate power to blame others for our own decisions. This blaming of others gives us relief in the form of the external validation we believe we need in order to feel better.
We have created a system that is supporting our internal environment. We look to it for the power of validation and freedom it offers, yet paradoxically it keeps us imprisoned within our own rules. The familiar past remains with us as the tribe, ‘they’, continue to offer us conditional love.
The system we have created has power over us.
This Legal Fetishism, the power our laws have over us, has effectively removed our own free will. A bit silly of us don’t you think? If we have been seduced to hand over our power, how do we get it back?
I believe that the laws which govern us are a reflection of our internal world. We have been giving our power to others since we were small children, and the evidence appears to show us that we live in some unconscious belief that this should continue.
We have unwittingly handed our power of choice over to others to keep us safe as we moved into adulthood, not appreciating that we can indeed fully trust in ourselves and our own choices. In taking back that power we will find peace as we rely on ourselves for our self-validation and love. We do this by dropping the laws we make for ourselves as children. The laws which said, ‘you’re a loser’, ‘you can’t do that’, ‘be good’, when you really felt otherwise.
You created these laws unconsciously and by revisiting the moment of their creation, you can validate your responses and understand that your intuition is and always was your best guide. Your intuition is centred in your emotional feeling body and has no rules. It has no sense of time and cannot construct stories of ‘if this happens, then that will happen’ base in past experiences, as it operates only in the wisdom within each present moment. It is your best guide. It operates from a place of love and knows how to behave for the highest good of all.
If there were no laws, could everyone love each other?
Of course, this is a fantasy of mine. This, to me, is seductive and could only occur if we discarded our own internal legal system first. Dismantling our personal legal fetishes is a prerequisite to returning to and reconnecting with the truest love within ourselves. The love we had prior to our own rule creation. When we revel in our own self-worth, we have no need or want to be dominant or submissive in the power plays we now have with others. You already possess the greatest power that exists. Love. It wants for nothing.
Fetishism, bondage and seduction are just a few of the fun words I could use that surround the laws we’ve created which have f***ed us over and imprisoned our free will. They have had their usefulness, but now they’re using us. If we make the shift to make decisions for ourselves from a place of pure, un‘adult’erated love, everyone will be free. Legal fetishism, it’s not what you think; it’s the way you think. Who’s got your power?