WHO HAS POWER OVER YOU?
WHO HAS POWER OVER YOU?
You don't have to be watching HBO on Sundays to understand that our world struggles with POWER needs. It isn't just John Snow, Khalissi and the Lannisters that lives revolve around power. I understand that is fiction, but from the beginning of time, people have been obsessed with and oppressed by power. Ancient Rome, The crusades, Religious and ethnic genocides ...history is littered with injustice in the name of POWER. Whether it is our political system, our economic hierarchy, our gender roles, racial stereotypes, legal system ... there are a lot of ways that our spirit can be held down by people and institutions that are outside of our influence and control.
In Dr. Lipman-Blumen's (Ph.D from Harvard, post doctorate at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford) "Gender Roles and Power", she gives many reasons why people rule others and why others allow themselves to be ruled. She states "without the ruled, there can be no ruler. And the ruled must ... be willing to be ruled". Now I am sure you are reading that and saying..."I don't want to be ruled. I'm not allowing someone to have power over me. PHILLIP...this is your dumbest post yet." Haha... now that you got that off your chest, we will continue.
In the book, one factor for this subconscious acceptance of oppression is stated, "the uncertainty of life is the basis of the human need for power and control. Because the future is unforseeable, we experience a sense of existential helplessness and anxiety...we respond by seeking ways to relieve this sense of helplessness and anxiety." It is this that leads others to try to obtain power and others for allowing it. Now I cannot provide an answer for how we stop institutionalized racism and classism and sexism ... but I think it is important for us to take a second, and look at our own lives individually and see, where are we "seeking ways to relieve this sense of helplessness and anxiety?" It is obvious that we need changes in society as a whole for us to get closer to achieving true Equality as a Macro-idea, but sometimes it is important for us to see what are we individually doing that is giving power to other people or things.
One way to do this: Look at the things you BLAME. When we blame things, we give it power. We give away a piece of our own responsibility to the thing we are BLAMING. What are you blaming for the way you feel about yourself? I am not saying that racism or oppression or disadvantage in our society will magically disappear by taking responsibility for the things you are blaming, but we can diminish some of the power in our own mind for ourselves. For example, look at a man like Ghandi...he was imprisoned, He was oppressed, he was disrespected, he faced great injustice...but he stayed free in his mind. He didn't ignore what was happening, but he found a way to focus on the things that he could control. He couldn't magically make the prison bars that held him disappear, but he could achieve inner peace. He was able to achieve inner happiness and it allowed him to persevere and remain hopeful for a better future. Only after he mastered himself and his own situation inside of himself, was he able to work towards larger societal goal and needs.
Yes, there are forces in this world that at bigger than us, and we cannot make them disappear for everyone in an instant, but what we can do, is identify "what am I giving my power to:"
- Is it a bad relationship?
- Is it a hurt from the past?
- Is it a feeling of being a victim?
- Is it the drugs we numb ourselves with?
- Is it the food we eat to remove our anxiety?
- Is it our need for validation through sex?"
What has power over you???
I'm not claiming to have the answers for the world; I wish I did. I know I cannot cure the world in a FB post, lol... but what I can do is internally look at myself, and identify the people and things in my world I am letting rule me. "A ruler needs the ruled" I know there are things outside of my control, but for the things I can do something about, I am going to do something about it. I hope we all find the courage to not be victims, to take responsibility for the things we can, to be the change. At the end of the day, Ghandi said it much better and simpler than I could: "Be the chance you want to see in the world" (Phillip Andrew - 9.3.17)
also... HAPPY BIRTHDAY Dylan Onder