Representing is more than reproducing
Politician and voters, delegates and constituents, representation is often treated as a mirror image. The scene would “only represent” what is already in the room. It is to insult the fertility hidden in the representation. Far from a simple reproduction, it is an act of separation, between the components and the whole. A third-party observer confuses the two. It is not included in this relationship and does not experience the resulting changes. The changes are also incomprehensible to him if he equates the representative with the represented.
This is the reproach to be made to Hobbes, quoted by Denis Maillard as the first philosopher who showed the sovereign as playing a play… of which the people are the real actor. Wouldn’t the crowned puppets have left a deep mark on history? Obviously, there are two independent actors, represented and represented, united by an intimate and complex relationship. Each of the senses of the relationship, in isolation, is a dictatorship: that of the sovereign over the people, and vice versa. Conflictual in essence, what do they form together?
A mirror is not passive
The image in the mirror is not, already, a reproduction. Not if it is the observer who looks at himself. The mirror does not think, it is a fact. But it is one representation among others in the reality of the observer. Included in the tumultuous thought process. Far from being passive. This guy, in the mirror, is me. What is he doing there, outside of me? If he’s out, it’s another. A dialogue begins. A third is created: what arises from the relationship between the two self(s).
The mirror does not think but I think in its place, and it has no other place in my reality. He is a good actor in my mental scene.
The third appears due to the existence of a more general context to the relationship between the two selves(s). It is itself part of a new relationship, with similar elements, in this context. The level of reality is different from the previous one. These levels are entangled but their logic is independent.
The voters, the politician, and the third
Now we can understand what happens in politics, why representing and represented are two different actors, and why they create a third.
At first glance the effectiveness of the politician is his ability to embody the desires of his voters and project them into the future. This is what Denis Maillard emphasizes, with his triptych vision-incarnation-narration. But something is missing. With this approach alone, a candidate would have to make the same score in each round of an election. That is not the case. He recruits from voters he does not embody as well, if at all. How does he do it? How, at the same time, not to deviate too much from its initial position? This subtle game is not contained in the representative-represented exchange. It is clearly located on another floor, that of the third mentioned just now. In the context of several competing politicians, it is not enough to embody a desire. Above all, do not embody a fear. Do not displease, as much as please.
In the final phase of an election it is the undecided and the moderates who make the difference. They do not have a dedicated representative. Most candidates are too brutal in their desire to please. They are becoming worrisome. The radical rarely stays in power. Whoever softens his borders wins. Bearer of a blinding ideal he distributes filter glasses to each spectator.
The need for centralization
Centralized media (major TV channels, major newspapers) hurt radicals. Impossible to announce everything and its opposite. While social networks allow it easily. You can deposit in each a speech in local colors. It doesn’t matter if they are contradictory. Internet users are increasingly leaving their networks. I come to say that telecracy, ironically, is perhaps the safeguard of democracy after being accused of demolishing it. We can suspect the networks, in parallel, to be at the origin of the multiplication of radical candidates, nationalists in particular, while humanity has never been so well.
We are a long way from Hobbes and his simplifying ‘Leviathan’. The sovereign does not play on stage the play of which the people would be the real actor. He himself is an author, because he belongs to a world of sovereigns. Compromises cause him to send truncated messages to the people. ‘Lies’, for the people; ‘adapted reality’, for the sovereign. Worlds are different, each has its own logic. The people’s world has become terribly more chaotic, with any hierarchy of truth fading away, giving free rein to their own.
True participatory democracy
The elected representative is indeed the psychoanalytic file of the voters. Useful to outside observers. But so can the voters: they can consult it. Start this examination in the mirror which is a dialogue. Rise to the next level of reality.
Participatory democracy is this: to escape from the pure constitutive level of desire, to add to it the representative level. Become your own representative. This is not to proclaim the same requirement with a reinforced pretension. It is to integrate compromise into one’s requirement, to carry out the work of organization with other demands, to see oneself in the collective and to become a competing representative, rich in its new solutions and not only its claims, its claims.
If you have not managed to become a candidate in the presidential election, perhaps this is what will guide your choice. Who, among the proposed names, is able to rise above his claims, examine his own solutions, recognize his mistakes (not those you see, those he sees) and correct the course?
None of them really fit, reinforcing the idea that politics is a dirty business. The next criterion is: the one from whose mouth I have heard the least lies. That’s easy. So many of them multiply them to please us…