Power… an addictive drug. It is something that drives humanity to survive, concur and evolve. Just like so many of the things that in our past gave us an evolutionary advantage, power has some undesirable carry over effects.
The definition of power is (in the context to which I am referring to) the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy. Power is one of the defining characteristics that enabled Homo sapiens to conquer the land building towns and cities. However, now we strive to have power over other things… our family members, work colleges, pets, the weak and infirmed.
Power is often seen as taking power from someone and using it to dominate them… this seems to be the base understanding of what power is. Here are just a few recent examples of how the desire for power over others has been represented in our news headlines…
- Children being horribly abused while in juvenile detention – is this not a horrible display of men wanting to feel powerful at the expense of the children involved?
- An elderly man choked, restrained, hit and force fed by a ‘care’ worker in a nursing home – the ‘care’ worker in question no doubt felt powerful by abusing and intimating his victim.
- The horrendous amount of family violence cases, far too many of them resulting in the death of women in Australia (and beyond) – these men feel powerful by verbally, emotionally and physically abusing their partners.
- Police officers abusing their power by bullying, harassing or shooting unarmed citizens – men with guns feeling powerful by taking power away from others.
- Trump… what can I say – he seems to me to be drunk on power and will do and say just about anything to keep it.
Power over other people and things is not true power. I read Gary Zukav’s The Seat of the Soul a few years ago (because Oprah told me to). I hate self-help books but this one was particularly eye opening. He explained that having power over other people was a cheep and easy power that did not last and was not good for your own soul.
However, learning to have power over yourself and realising that every negative emotion is fear was tremendously liberating… at least it was for me. If you are truly powerful you look after yourself and those around you (strangers, friends, family, animals and the planet). If you are truly powerful you will not take power away from other people… you will find it in yourself.
It’s like eating junk food for a quick fix (cheep power) and eating healthy food that nourishes your soul and everyone around you (authentic power).
That’s about as hippy as I get. Think about it.