[Greggs] The Love Of Power

I've been reading the "The 48 Laws of Power" recently. I won't take credit for buying it, as it was a gift from a friend. A gift, that once I figured out what the book was about, immediately made him suspect in my eyes. I wanted to question him extensively about Law Number 21 ("Play a sucker to catch a sucker"). Today, as with most days, I feel like a sucker.

This book includes the laws of attaining power and certain historical situations that illuminate how the laws of power have been manipulated by certain people in power over the centuries. Overall, it is insightful and entertaining. Now, I'm not used to writing book reviews, and I wasn't planning on it. This book was interesting to me simply for the conclusions it draws about how power is accumulated and protected in human relationships.

We all love power. Don't be afraid to admit it. I've seen the way people salivate over Brooks Brother's suits and red ties. It just isn't kosher. The rest of us patiently wait for the day when we can tell someone they "can't" do something. Thankfully, for most of us, this is only our offspring and not some poor fool who's trying to make it just like the rest of us.

The remainder of the laws really made me understand my lack of power. As per Law Number 30 ("Make All Your Accomplishments Seem Effortless"), all I can say is, um, no. My hair really did take that long, and I'm going to talk about it. Most of my friends can attest I'm not great at Law Number 29 ("Plan Until The End"), either. I ordinarily only plan until the jump. Even after landing I never really seem to look around and get my bearings. I just soldier through. Besides, if I stopped to look for landmarks, I might miss some excitement. A friend once told me her therapist said she had spent most of her life "walking around just bumping into logs." I feel this statement pretty much explains my "plan." But, it is awfully fun to be a log in my world.

Besides recognizing the traits of power with which I am not endowed, this book really started me thinking. Maybe the true essence of power is not being able to manipulate the things in your environment, but understanding them well enough to simply ask them for what is needed.

Isn't it inherently more powerful to understand someone and attempt to use this understanding to mutually fulfill both persons' needs? I'll explain this by saying that I even ask my DVD player to work when its on the fritz. Amazingly, it seems to respond. (This is probably something else I should discuss with my therapist. I mean, something my friend needs to discuss with her therapist).

More than anything, I think I've figured out I just don't have it in me to be a "powerful" person if that involves manipulation and dishonesty. Unless it is being manipulative or dishonest with myself, because that seems to come pretty easy to me. Unfortunately I think this may mean I'm not a very "powerful" person.

To me "power" holds a different meaning. It is being able to tell people to go away and then just living my own life. To me, power is understanding that some days I'm going to have a bad day and forgiving myself for it. To me, power means understanding that every day I'm going to have to work at this "human" thing. And the most power I can ever give someone else is to allow them be human as well.

Maybe I'll just have to find a different way than these easily explained, simple laws. I'd rather my smile be powerful than believed that if I divide, I conquer. To me, real power comes from unification, not divisive actions.

Currently, power in this nation is a matter of those who have it keeping it from everyone else. Division does nothing for us as people. Divisive actions make us smaller, less resilient and ultimately put fear of being the one "left behind" into us as we realize that our economic status is not as secure as we have been led to believe.

I may not technically be "in power" right now. I may be part of the minority. And I may be happily ensconced in a world of make-believe, constantly confident my best shot is actually loving someone instead of simply beating someone. But despite reading an entire book on how this is counterintuitive to me ruling the world, I really don't believe this makes me powerless. It simply forces me to be more creative. It forces me to actually contemplate my choices, whatever those choices may be. Am I going to choose to bulldoze someone else for my own gain? Or am I going to choose to put my hand out and pull someone else up with me while climbing this giant beanstalk?

Forcing people to think creatively is never a bad thing. Who wants to admit that the laws of their life were written in a book a thousand years ago and they have never once attempted to think in a better, different way? I know I don't.

The eminent Dr. Seuss once said, "Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

As far as I can tell, he included thinking "left" and thinking "right" in his books.

Now, that's real power.

Previous Comments


Or the power to withstand ridicule that follows when you are creatively weird - like going to the mall parking lot at 2pm on Saturday afternoon, waiting for a big crowd to come, and jumping on the hood on your care to prove (nay, advertize to the world) that you have the guts to go against the crowd (of course, there's the issue of a $2,000 or so bill for repairing the hood of that car. BUT...if you think it's actually worth $2,000, who are we to argue?). Honestly, I have NOT done that or anything remotely like that, especially since I myself don't quite have enough courage to withstand THAT much ridicule -- yet anyway ;-). BUT...maybe it's sufficient to publically make a fool of yourself while wearing a T-Shirt saying "FIGHT THE TYRANNY of Normality! Assert Your Right to Be Bizarre!!". And that's my crazy thought for the day



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