On the Perception of Power — and why it matters

Life-long activist Bill Chisholm in Idaho has just sent me this quote, from Fred Burks of wanttoknow.info. Bingo.

Quote of the week: “In looking at the hierarchical power structures of the world we live in, it all boils down to our perception of who we believe is really in power. To the extent we believe that the president or the world’s leaders are in power (or the people secretly controlling them), then we are largely at their mercy. If, however, we know that the real power lies deep within each one of us, then we become powerful co-creators of the world in which we live.”

~ Fred Burks

 This quote reminded me of Starhawk, her distinction between “power over” and “power from within.” At least, this is how I remember first learning these phrases, from Starhawk. So I googled it. And came upon her 1988 book, Truth or Dare, Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery, wherein she also specifies a third kind of power, that of social cohesion among equals.

 truthordareLet’s go for that kind of power, shall we? And it order to do so, we must each of us “be in our power,” as co-creator beings. The upswelling of powerful energies during and since the U.S. election indicates that this power from within is there; it has been hiding inside us and we are just beginning to unroll it. Unless we are very very conscious of how our emotional bodies work, the old painful feelings that surge through get immediately cathected into the mind as ideas, divisive opinions fueled by fear and/or hatred, and attempts to either shrink from or take “power over” another. Each time we do this, we are both trying not to feel our own pain and attempting to feel superior to others in some way.  In so doing, we mirror our “oppressors,” those we think have power over us.

Which again, goes to show that what’s important is our perception of who really has the power.

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