The Greatest Task: Power

February 13, 2008

Power is often thought of as an object to be obtained and held.  Some people hold power and others are powerless within their situations.  We for instance are perceived as powerless at the hands of the media.  They report based on their research and we accept.  In the teacher-student relationship, the student is powerless to the teacher who controls his grade.  These are the common ideas of power.  I believe them to be wrong.

Every individual has an equal amount of power, so long as he at one time existed.  But it is up to the individual to give power any kinetic strength.  Every person whether conscious or unconscious of his power, is exerting it at this moment, but conscious exertion produces more self interested results. 

Power is not an object to be passed or to be held by only one or a few ideologies or people.  Power is present in everything that exists and it exists only because it is a part of human consciousness.  Power is only as real and tangible as love and hate, as it cannot be labeled by the senses, but that its presence is felt enough to be given a name.  It is in nature, in animals and in human beings.  And through these vehicles is able to be used.  Without a vehicle for expression, power is useless or nonexistent.  In human relationships, those who are “in charge” appear to have more power than the subordinate people, but this is not the case.  Both or all of the people in this relationship have equal amounts of power, but the higher authority has either developed hers through education and experience or shares the popular ideology of the employers who give her the position to exercise her power. 

Even in this case, it may still seem that the subordinate person in the relationship is powerless.  He will have to obey his boss or suffer consequences.  The problem with this statement is that he does not have to do anything.  Just as a trained animal can at any moment chose to bite its owner, the subordinate person can choose to exercise his power and protest.  However, certain ideologies that he adheres to which he may have obtained in education, family, social pressures or the ideology of his own self-interest, may prevent him from protesting.  He may be disciplined, fired, treated poorly or suffer other consequences that he does not wish to face.  This means that he still has the power to act, but that power from other people or groups of people in the form of ideologies influences his choice.   By ideologies, I mean any reality of a human being or what we hold to be true.  There are political ideologies, personal and family ideologies and any process of thinking about the world is an ideology.

It is the same for me in class.  Though I have always wanted to shake things up by saying something crazy and running out of the room or by speaking in a ridiculous accent in class, I will probably never do either, despite the fact that the rigidness of the classroom makes me squirm.  The ideologies of reputation, grades, family and personal responsibility stop me from acting.  But at any time I can choose to ignore all of that and go for it.  That is when I become the most free and when I use my power to the best of my ability. 

Our presidents, our corporate leaders and all other authority figures are not completely free and have no absolute power.  They are tied to ideologies and in addition, at any given moment, any person who passes within their sphere of influence is exerting power over them.  A worker in a factory exerts power over his boss so long as he was ever associated with the company.  When he works, he is making products.  When he takes off or quits, he causes his boss to have to find a replacement.  At every moment, we are the worker to some person, group, institution or ideology.  The only task that we have is developing that power and using it.  But the trick is to gain knowledge from many ideologies regardless of their importance to use, because the education system, our social relationships and the other normalizing aspects of our lives are not enough to know everything about our power.

So power is not an object possessed by a lucky few, nor is it something to be passed around.  It does not operate alone; it is a tool of operation.  It is a tool that we all possess so long as we exist, and we must be conscious of its presence within our own bodies.  We are not ever powerless, and despite the great devices of power exercised against us in certain instances, we are irresponsible to think ourselves victims, though those illegitimate and exploitative ideologies often seen in poor neighborhoods and the workplace are morally reprehensible, to say the least.  Nevertheless, we must take our internal tool of power and build it with knowledge and confidence and in some cases other people.  This is the great task of the human being: to recognize and mold his power.


The Last Step

February 11, 2008

It occurred to me today that life is too personal. 
In order to really get into a deep relationship with anyone (except in the case of really exceptional people), you have to be eternally patient.  It takes most people a long time to get personal.  After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the three (or four) steps I usually see in most of my relationships.
    1. The feeling out phase when people just meet and listen to each other without voicing to much opinion.
    2. The opinion phase is the time for sharing opinions on not too sensitive topics.  Humour usually comes out in this phase.
    3. The obnoxious phase where one or both people in the relationship loses inhibition and shows their true colors.  This
         phase is often marked by embarrassment in public, random singing, fights and various other loud activities.
    4. This optional phase is marked by the sharing of deeply personal thoughts or experiences.  It develops with trust and
         the realization that your friend will love regardless of anything you did in step 3.

Of course, friendships don’t really follow a definite pattern.  People are too complicated to be textbook, but when you’re in a relationship you can usually tell where the relationship is and is headed.  You can tell where “the line” is, how much physical contact is okay and how much you are willing to tell, but in the case for “willing to tell,” it often depends on the confidence of the person in his or her identity and past.  It shouldn’t have to though.  I think maybe the reason people have to wait so long to get personal is because human beings tend to be insensitive.  We treasure the deepest friendships we have because we have finally found people who are willing to listen and act with what we tell them in our best interest.  Most of us are raised to not trust anybody because apparently a lot of people out there will hurt us or only find utility in us.  But even those people, may them most of all, need someone to reach step 4 with. 

That should probably be the task of human beings.  That should be our measurement of progress.  How many of us are willing to bear ourselves all the way to the last step?   School shootings, murders, theft and suicide are very dependent on the fact that people who committed these crimes against others and themselves were at the last step all by themselves.  How many of the people in our lives, regardless of what they appear to be on the surface, would like someone to take the time to reach underneath and pay all attention to the man behind the mask.

Life is too personal.  We make it that way.   I make it that way.  It takes throwing away pride and becoming comfortable with my reality to make it more available to other people.  To let other people know the complete truth and to let them share their own life with mine.  That’s a very tough conclusion to come to.

Self-Love: The Necessity of Friendship

February 9, 2008

What is the best type of friend?  The better question: what makes a good friend?  The generic answer usually involves traits that affect the other member of the relationship.  Friends are often measured against values of trust, kindness, honesty and communication.   But these qualities are not enough to create and maintain the deepest of friendships.  Of course, these traits are very important in all relationships, but there are not enough to be the best friend a person can be; there is something missing.  The quality most consistently left out is self love.  Without it, our best relationships never realize their full potential.  They are left to function on the surface of human action as opposed to the more personal meaning behind action.   Although many of our deepest friendships are earned by the previously mentioned traits and almost always provide a place for very personal thoughts and feeling to be expressed without judgment, our friendships have still not reached their greatest potential. 

Within the friendship, a friend is someone who acts and thinks in what he believes to be our best interest, who we are able to have conversations with, who shares our sadness and happiness, who enjoys spending time in our company and who recognizes our strengths and weaknesses without exploited either.  The best friend, in addition, feels all of these things for herself.  She wishes the best for herself and her life, she enjoys and respects her thoughts, she feels comfortable with her emotions, she finds great pleasure in her own company and she handles her strengths and weaknesses so they may be kept in the balance in accordance with the decisions to better her life.  In a sense, she has a friendship with her “self” and her friend is just another “self.”

If our friend loves himself so deeply and completely and we live with the same self love, then our friendship is able to turn all of its potential into reality and thrive through the infinite love that remains its base.   Friendships no longer become a place to find a person who fills missing pieces of our self-esteem with compliments and who we can hurt with words of misdirected insecurity.  The friend a part of a friendship based in self love does not ask of his friend because he has the confidence to will and attain the need or want he has, though his friend out of her own self love may unprompted help him achieve his goal.  And when she loses her temper in a moment of weakness, she will recognize this as a moment of weakness and seek to remedy the situation and her feelings. But because she is in this friendship, her will recognize her desire to modify this aspect of her emotion and he will aide (for her best interest) in the goal she seeks to complete.

Therefore, it is not trust or kindness or honesty that are the foundation of a good friendship, it is self love.  Self-love minimizes the need of insecure human beings to belittle their neighbors, it causes individuals to desire a remedy of ignorance of culture, it makes possible to recognize the best pieces of the human being, it allows to experience life as freely as possible through our own self confidence and it provides the foundation for the most valuable friendships in our lifetime.

Love yourself.  Every part.  You’re worth it.

For All of You

December 23, 2007

This isn’t my video, but I don’t think he would mind.  Happy Holidays.

There is no truth, no fact either

December 19, 2007

None whatsoever.  There is no absolute truth. There is no fact.  Fact is “the quality of being actual : actuality <a question of fact hinges on evidence>.”   Show me evidence that may not be disproved sometime in the future.  Even science could be completely wrong.  Truth is an illusion that we keep in order to make ourselves feel safe in certain things.  But here’s my question, why can’t we feel safe without having fact?  Why do we need affirmation of our existence and of our beliefs with “fact”?

Last quarter, I took an Organic Chemistry class complete with lab.  As I carried out various experiments, I always knew what the expected result would be based on lecture notes, common sense and lab preparation.  But as I went to lab week after week and as I listened to my Professor explain the workings of the world around us through reactions and mechanisms, I couldn’t help wondering if it was all coincidence.  And I’m sure that if I ask any chemist in the world, they couldn’t disprove that theory. 

We know nothing.  Not even what we see.  The labels that we have given everything that we can experience through our five discovered senses is only labeled within our own perception.  Everything is based on faith.  Faith that science isn’t just an astounding combination of coincidences as random and rare as planet Earth is in the universe. 

 So how can people claim to know the truth.  How can any of us claim Jesus saves, God is not here, we are made of molecules and he is bad man when we know nothing as fact?  We don’t need it to live, we don’t need it to survive.  We get so caught up in trying to prove and trying to find the facts that we miss the life.  We miss the experience.  We lose trust in ourselves and look for the “truth” in “fact” that doesn’t exist. 

Everything that we call fact or truth is based on imperfect human perception.  How do we know the red isn’t actually blue, or that pants aren’t actually shirts or that ugly is not actually beautiful?  It sounds abstract, ridiculous even, but ask yourself these questions.  Who says these things are fact.  Who says that I have written and not said?  The creator of the word “red” could have easily said blue instead.  It isn’t fact, it is perception and we have faith that that perception is right.  What do you know for sure that may not be disproven in death?  What Christian has died and knows that he will go somewhere else and not just dead?  What atheist knows that she will not die and see God? 

What does it matter if our perception is right?  It only matters that at the end of our lives we have experienced.  It only matters that we have fought the great fights.  Coming out of it with defeat of victory is trivial, as long as we have lived, what does it matter (absent of our reputation, of other people, of our families and our perception) what is fact and truth? Why do we concern ourselves with what we cannot know?  Of course we want to find out what is real and what is not, but why not create ourselves so that we do not need it?  Why not form ourselves so that we do not desire “fact” to affirm our existence and our faith? 

Think about a life that is absent of the desire for truth and fact.  A carefree existence with the complete ability to live without distraction.  To experience, love and connect only as experience.  Imagine life just as life.  Imagine loving your friends and family without wondering about anything else.  To take life as it is and respect as it is.  Yes, the fun of philosophizing and theorizing would be absent, but only at those moments, without the human need to question, would we know truth.  When we wouldn’t care.  When truth wouldn’t matter.  When we are satisfied with our destination.  We when realize that certain things have no answers, that life is out of our control, the we are in control of only ourselves and that we will die inevitably, but not in vain.  That’s when we know truth.  When living is only about living and we accept what others say at face value.  When we can look each other in the eye and say “This is you.  This is me.  This is us at face value.”    This is when fact/truth is obtained.  When we know truth is nothing.

One True Religion

December 15, 2007

Is one of these religions right?  Is God really on a side?  Is there a God?  Is there anything?  Have we just missed the point all together?

Human beings have been fighting over religion since our ancestors decided to have relgion.  There are billions of people who have very different beliefs and most of them are sure that they are right.  And at least one of them says that he is infallible.  Now I don’t know about that, but in this world, someone has to be wrong.  There either is a God or there isn’t.  There is salvation or there isn’t.  Right? 

Here’s where I am now:  If there is one true religion, then it isn’t here yet.  None of the religions on this planet are “true” in every sense of the word.  Religion brings people together (at least the people in it anyway).  If there is no religion on the Earth that brings everyone together, then there is no one true religion.  Going on, all of the religions on this earth will contribute to the one true religion (if there is one) because in every religion that I have educated myself on, there are extremely valid points about life and perspective.  Even more, most of them have the same themes, they just express them differently.  So they all have a little piece of the puzzle, we just haven’t gotten all the way yet.  Or maybe there isn’t a way to get to.

So here’s the question.  Tell me what you think.  Is there one true religion? 

The Pursuit of Peace

December 14, 2007

Peace.  It is calm.  I think of it as my end.  My life is the means to peace.  Do the means justify the ends?  If the means make me question my end, then I haven’t reached my end.  So yes, the means justify the ends because peace needs a clear conscience without rationalization. 

I have achieved so much personally, but I cannot find peace.  I cannot find calm.  I know too much to be calm.  I am too afraid to find peace.  I cannot write the passionate music and be fueled by fire in my soul to effect to world if I am peace.  “The greatest weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.”  A weapon against the flaws in my character.  My soul on fire is the only way to redeem myself against my past.  It is the way to pull myself up the gradient.  Everything in life is a means.  It’s a shame that we cannot know if there truly is an end we will get.

Peace is calm in the midst of work, argument, noise and painful silence.  Peace is the ability to remain together in the most broken moments.  Empathy needs the absence of peace.  I need empathy to live on the way to my end.

I am not ready for peace.  It is my end.  When I have reached it, I am confident that the God I know will tell me its time to go.  He knows that I can’t go until I reach peace.  If I have reached my end, then I haven’t done what I need to do.

I know a lot of people struggle with the idea that there is an end that we are working towards.  I think my end is peace, but that could change tomorrow.  What is your the end?  Is there an end?  Tell me the truth.  If there is an end, can we get it?  Or are humans jsut too flawed?  Are you capable?