Personal Power (how to not win)

Personal power basically is the ability to choose. The more choices we have available to us, minute by minute, the more power we have to take charge of our own lives. So the question is how to get more choices in our lives? In our culture, we more often give away our power (freedom of choice) by allowing other people to decide what we want. In our culture we all have that little gut feeling that something is wrong with us. That we want something, we don’t quite know what it is.

The television tells us every moment of the day that we will be happy when we know we are better than someone else. More beautiful, richer, a better Christian, stronger, younger, smarter, more kind and compassionate, more loving, more giving, more powerful, wiser. Pick one, we want it. Big power says: “You aren’t good enough, you aren’t good enough, you aren’t good enough.” And we believe it. Each of us believes there is something wrong with us that we must fix. And then we let big power tell us what we should want, via television, 24-7, and if we only buy this or do that we will be not only good enough but better than George. And pretty soon we also believe that everyone else is trying to be better than we are — even when they aren’t. And nobody can talk to anybody.

It’s impossible, of course. What we are trying to do. Because just after we prove that we are better than George, we will turn around and there is Frank. “Buy more, eat more, kill more, love more, care more.” Whatever we do we can not be better than everyone. And the more we try to fulfill this cultural imperative, the more strings and buttons we grow that other people can pull or push. The more time, money and energy we spend trying to be better than other people, rather than, for example, trying to be as wise or compassionate as it is possible for us to be — or just simply taking a good look at our strings and buttons and having a good laugh at our silly selves for believing the hype — the less personal power we will have available to actually become wise or compassionate or loving. Because if we can’t fill that void by wanting to be better than other people, and we obviously can not, maybe we could wash it away, along with our strings and buttons, by not wanting impossible things.

And how many scientists, I wonder, are right now trying figure out why we have so much addiction in our culture? The strongest message in our culture is that WE CAN have, do, be, anything we want. We believe it. So we keep trying. Any way we can.

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