what if there were no sanction?

I’ve been thinking about ‘sanctions’ for quite some time.

It is a term I originally encountered when, in the early eighties, I became aware of ‘sanctions’ against South Africa, to put pressure on the then Apartheid-government to give up its discriminatory political policy and embrace ‘democracy’.

Later, while studying Sociology, at the NMMU, under the care of Prof Bezuidenhout, doing a course in group dynamics, I discovered that ‘sanctions’ could be positive or negative. That parents often ‘sanction’ their children’s behaviour by ‘rewarding’ them with sweets or gifts or love. That most often they apply ‘negative sanctions’ through punishment, which is sometimes physical, but sometimes also emotional, with the absence of ‘love’ when behaviour does not correspond to their values or expectations.

The ‘sanctions’ I’ve been thinking about are of the positive kind.

Or apparently positive kind.

With government or Church or parents, ‘sanctioning’ decisions or relationships or lifestyles.

I’m wondering if we have come to maturity if we need the ‘sanction’ of government or Church or God or parents?

This weekend I attended two weddings.

I saw two couples make vows, as I once did, alongside Zuko.

I saw the Church sanction these vows or ‘resulting relationships’.

And government, since documentation were completed & certificates issued and ‘legal-marraiges’ acknowledged.

I wonder if God ‘sanctioned’ these relationships?

I wonder, if government & the Church did not sanction these relationships – if anything would be different?

Would these couples stand a better chance at ‘relational success’?

Would they stand a better chance of being happy?

Of remaining faithful & in love until they’re both old?

I wonder if the ‘sanction’ of government & the Church makes any difference?

I suppose the sanction goes further than government or the Church.

I suppose when we marry, we do so with the ‘sanction’ of our parents.

Maybe, if we’re a bit older, we do so with the ‘sanction’ of our friends?

Looking for approval.



What if there were no sanction?

If it all came down on ‘my’ shoulders?

My decision, freely made?

With regards to whom I’ll commit too?

And how?

With regards to what I’ll spend my life on?

And how?

For how long?

In what way?

With how much sacrifice?

It would be great to get to seventy-five and be able to say it was government or God or Church or my parents or my friends or peers who ‘sanctioned’ me into choosing my partner or getting married or pursuing a certain career.

My friend The Faithful Skeptic suggests that ‘God was caught with his hand putting far too many cookies in the cookie jar‘.

I don’t know?

I don’t know what would be different if there were no sanction?

Perhaps the only thing which would be any different, would be our opportunity to manipulate people into agreeing with what we value or the opportunity for blaming people for manipulating us into choosing what they value?

Perhaps we need to grow up?

Choose boldly.

From the freedom we believe we received.


And bravely enjoy the consequence thereof.

Perhaps that is just not possible?


One thought on “what if there were no sanction?

  1. This really made me think about sanctions and our own freedom, As a matter of interest the following question comes to mind, are we really free, free to choose,to be to become and truly LIVE in every sense of the word. I think we have become so caught up in life and it’s systems that we totally forget how to live and dream and be free.
    so let’s start once again to live dream and be free. Let’s once again in our lives start to live and embrace with the innocence of a child. Otherwise what’s the point of my life.

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