Today’s post comes after yesterdays freedom rally and my curiosity to truly understand power and what drives people to become tyrannical.
I woke up this morning and host a video that I’ll post here and I’ll explain it in a little more depth there.
THE SPECTRUM OF POWER
Basically we have this spectrum of power & control where on the left side there is nothingness and on the right side there is absolute power & control.
This is not just a statement about humbleness or spiritual achievement, this is literally nothing existing there, a void of power or control of any kind. Essentially this means that to achieve true nothingness one would be devoid of any self at all, invisible air.. and not even air. Which means to say, there is always a self, no matter how small, contracted, humble or silent it becomes. Meaning there is no person existing in absolute nothingness so long as the self still exists. And a body to contain it. More to the point, there is always an Ego.
If you didn’t have an Ego you wouldn’t know what mouth to feed, you wouldn’t know what hungers or thirsts to listen to. There would be no survival mechanism whatsoever. Once we establish there is some kind of self, then we look at the degree to which it controls itself and / or the environment around it. The level of this control can be described as power.
On the other side of the scale you basically have infinite control – over everything in the universe and all universes. All of it’s laws. All its matter and energy. We can call this level of control “God” or “Infinite Intelligence” etc. but it essentially means total ability to control everything.
CONTROL OF SELF
At a basic minimum the self has the ability to control itself.. breathing, heart beat, blood circulation, brain firing & wiring etc. the self has control over itself. Whether these faculties are under conscious control or automatic control, doesn’t take away form the fact that the self still has control over itself. IT (the Self) has simply chosen to put some things under automatic controls and some things are allowed to be decided upon. Automatic controls + free choice control = Total Self Control. The self has an inherent power to control itself and choose for itself.
DELEGATING THINKING & DECISION MAKING
A person always maintains the inherent power to decide. But it can appear as though they give up this power when they delegate the thinking process or decisions to another person or group and simply do as they are told.
They may do this to simplify life using shortcuts (heuristics), whereby they assume an authority knows more than they do (example a ‘scientist’) and therefore saves them the time and energy of having to learn what they know. Or they might do it out of fear, afraid of the consequences if they don’t do what they are told.
Once they make the decision to trust this authority or listen to trust their fears, they have essentially given the role of thinking and deciding over to this authority for a time. They still retain the inherent power to decide something new. They still have the power – they have just delegated thinking & deciding to someone, a system or emotion that they trust more than their own.
Conformity is what happens when a majority has delegated their ability to think or decide. Then reinforces this decision when they look around and see everyone has done the same thing. The fallacy is: “This must be the thing to do, otherwise everyone wouldn’t be doing it.” This shortcut in thinking got passed down to us over millions of years of evolution where the genes say: this must be a good survival strategy, everyone’s doing it and everyone would be dead if it wasn’t.
This may not be conscious of course, but this is essentially the delegation of thinking & decision making on mass scale.
PERSONAL POWER IS STILL WITH THE INDIVIDUAL
It’s important to re-iterate that the self always possesses the free will no matter how impotent or powerless they seem. They always have the power to decide. They always have control over the decision making no matter how many times they have simply allowed another to decide for them. They are still ALLOWING, and that’s what gives them power. They have the power to allow or not to allow. They can stop allowing at any time, and that appears as ‘taking their power back’ but they always had the power, they just made a new decision to be in control of the thinking and decision making.
Only when a person can trust X , can they take the shortcut trusting the thinking or decisions of that leadership. By trusting X, they are confident that decisions are being made for their best interest and they go along with it. This unified ‘trust’ or agreement field is what gives things power. Whether that be a specific leader everyone agrees to follow, or a specific currency everyone agrees to accept. Even if they are responding to fear with compliance, they have put their trust in their fears.
In a perfect society we can trust our leaders and money is managed responsibly. We can then relax and know that everywhere we go, the dangers have been filtered out and only the good remain.
In an imperfect society we have to maintain vigilance and give trust only where it is due. And withdraw trust when it seems that our best interests are not at heart. This might mean we have to do more thinking for ourselves and deny ourselves the luxury of shortcuts, but this extra expenditure of energy and choice can save a life and ensure that we don’t fuel an unhealthy Ego or system that is causing more harm than good.
LITTLE CHANGES, MAKES WAVES
At first it might not seem like making a new personal decision makes a big differences. But when it comes to humans you can see examples of big shifts from individuals standing up against the grain. Then others follow and the tide seems to suddenly and sometimes violently shift from one way to another.
This only proves that the concentration of power is an illusion. And that unless a person, system or thing is truly in the best interest of the majority, the power based can shift very quickly. The only way a system that is not in the best interest of the many can maintain its power is through force, fear and deception. However, the energy to maintain a large scale or long term deception in unsustainable.
Power can appear to shift very quickly. Because all it takes is a new decision. All we have to do is look back in history to see the rise and fall of empires, currencies and even species. Power is always shifting with change itself.
Truth always requires less effort or energy in the long run, which is why the truth always prevails. It is in the best interest of the many to always know the truth about reality, or as close to the most accurate version of truth as possible.
Truth is an objective reality. It simply is. It is the role of each individual to align and calibrate with what is, in relation to what is in the best interest of the all – for this is in the best interest in the individual over the long term.
WILL POWER & DISCIPLINE
Will power to make decisions and carry those decisions out. Over time this becomes discipline.
A healthy ego is one that has the discipline to do what is necessary to care for itself, without trying to take power from others. The healthiest of Egos are balanced. They do not take advantage of others even though they could. And they don’t shrink in the face of force or fear. They maintain a boundary that ensures others will maintain theirs. They help those who would give their power away to become more empowered. And they maintain a boundary from those who would otherwise take advantage.
In a perfect society power is distributed equally as this is the truest representation of individual power balanced with others. An individual or group would only be delegated the ability to think or make decisions for a larger group only so long as trust was truly warranted.
The problem of the imbalance becomes apparent when a majority give their power to an individual or group that doesn’t deserve it. Often out of fear or by force. This unfortunately, empowers the individual person or group further, strengthening their ability to exercise even more force and inflict more pain or suffering on those they rule over.
REVOLUTION WAS BUILT INTO A FREE SOCIETY
When the United States was formed for example, the founding fathers looked at other examples of governments that had failed and said we don’t ever want to do that. We don’t ever want a tyrannical government. We want something for the people, of the people and by the people. And should it get out of control, every member of society should have the right to bear arms to keep the power in check.
The creators of this nation believed that the leadership should respect the power of the majority, this would keep their position in check and make sure they never abuse their positions of trust.
Traditionally wars have been a struggle between two powers, using direct and violent force. But wars are also being fought today on other turfs. There’s a war for the mind using information and control of perception. Once we can see that a war between competing powers is always happening instead of being afraid of conflict, we can be willing to establish a boundary that feels respectful to ourselves and others. And if that boundary gets crossed, be willing to push back until that boundary is respected.
I don’t believe in preemptive wars or violence. I believe that a paradise is possible and a more perfect society inevitable. But I also recognize the struggle and sacrifice that might be required along the way as we establish our boundaries and refuse to yield to the force or fear of tyranny.
James Sunheart is a student of personal development and spiritual growth. He is passionate about optimizing people, systems and life. He’s written 7 books. Interviewed hundreds of experts. Given a TED Talk in France. Lives in Costa Rica while developing a sustainable eco-village. For opportunities email: James AT FullPotential.com