What is above, below, and on either side

15:32 Jun 11, 2018
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Social Science, Sociology, Ethics, etc. / Ethics
English term or phrase: What is above, below, and on either side
It's Havel, in his famous "The Power of the Powerless". What does he mean by the part he says "legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side"? Paul Wilson translation by the way.

Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them. As the repository of something suprapersonal and objective, it enables people to deceive their conscience and conceal their true position and their inglorious modus virvendi, both from the world and from themselves. It is a very pragmatic but, at the same time, an apparently dignified way of legitimizing what is above, below, and on either side. It is directed toward people and toward God. It is a veil behind which human beings can hide their own fallen existence, their trivialization, and their adaptation to the status quo.
Ehsan Kiani
Local time: 10:06

Summary of answers provided
4what is above, below and on either side. (unchanged)
Charles van der Heiden
3the higher levels, a higher hierarchy; at a lower rank, and at the same level but on the other side



5 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
what is above, below, and on either side
the higher levels, a higher hierarchy; at a lower rank, and at the same level but on the other side

In other words, "legitimizing" the oppression from these people above, and/or justifying having people "below", and hide the people at the same level, i.e., be blind to the guys who are experiencing the same oppression you are experiencing.


I hope this helps. You can take the literal meaning and extrapolate it to political speech.

Unless there are any other word or symbol in the context that you might have a question on.

Let us know.

United States
Local time: 22:36
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
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15 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
what is above, below, and on either side
what is above, below and on either side. (unchanged)

I see that you are not asking for a translation, but for an explanation. It is about ideologies. They can be spiritual, religious, political, philosophical in nature. When spiritual or religious they span "from below to above" (from God to the devil) - the vertical plane. When political, they are "on either side" (from left to right, say from communism to fascism) - the horizontal plane. Adhering to any of them gives one the illusion of identity,of belonging. Truth does not care about ideologies: truth is simply that which is.

Note added at 22 uren (2018-06-12 13:33:45 GMT)

Hi Ehsan, the horizontal and the vertical planes are symbolized by the cross. Time is past and future (horizontal), crossed by the eternal (vertical). The ever moving "here and now" is the point of crossing. That is the esoteric meaning of the cross which belongs to various traditions I suppose. Anyway, I have come across this interpretation several times. I have searched my library and I found one instance in "The book of understanding" by Osho. ISBN 0-307-34673-0 - page 256: "Vertical and horizontal: the journey into the depths of now". Amazon is waiting for a new edition which is due in august. Maybe you can find a pdf copy somewhere on the internet? If necessary I can send you a copy of this chapter by seperate mail. Just let me know :-)

Charles van der Heiden
Local time: 07:36
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you Charles, do you have any reference for you argument? I mean the horizontal and vertical planes, which could be exactly what I'm looking for here. I'd appreciate that.

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