Adolf Hitler - Thomas Paine - Euripides, George Orwell - Sigmund Freud - Noam Chomsky - Robert Heimlein - Paulo Freire, Mahatma Gandhi - Charles de Gaulle - J K Rowling, Mr Im, Phaedrus - Abraham Lincoln - Friedrich Nietzsche, Power and fear, sadly unaware, Sam's third visit, the exercise of power, Thomas Hobbes
Part 15 – Sam visits Mr. Im again: Will they click?
Sam’s reaction to “Being Unaware of the Exercise of Power’ (element 7 in Part 14 of this series) caught him completely by surprise. When reading Mr. Im’s previous materials Sam had not thought of its application to other people’s lives. He had been focused on his own growing awareness of the elements of power, and how it tied into the existence of fear – his fears.
But, with the last material from Mr. Im, Sam’s eyes were opened to other people, and their fears. “Part 14 – Sadly Unaware” concluded with Neil Diamond’s song, Win the World, which hauntingly described a wife trying to gain her husband’s attention by wearing a eye-catching red dress. Although a beautiful song, it left Sam dejected, and to some degree even lonesome, wondering if Sherry ever had any of the sorrowful frustrations expressed in the lyrics. The song had taken the theme of power into intimate personal relationships. It made sense to Sam, but it was also very painful. Did Sherry have fears she never talked about? Sam’s mental eyes were opening; it shook him.
During the weeks that Sam had been receiving Mr. Im’s materials, he was not only changing, but was also aware of it. True, although still very conscious of the fear factor, Sam was also becoming more aware of his part in his fears. He was increasingly recognizing his natural tendency to blame other people for his fear. To take responsibility, any responsibility, for his fears had been counter-intuitive. After all, it was others who were the “power brokers”, who were threatening, who controlled items that Sam wanted, etc. Now, however, Sam was realizing that his wants, his desires, his values (and he had plenty of all of those), were setting him up for fear. Others might have the items, but Sam had the needs. And, the needs were, as Sam was coming to understand, more critical than the items that Sam wanted.
He concluded that it was time to personally contact Mr. Im. On one hand, he wanted to personally thank Mr. Im. Furthermore, he also had some questions, questions that were not on his mind when he had his earlier visits with Mr. Im. So, Sam called, and got through immediately. Mr. Im’s cheerful voice greeted Sam, and they made arrangements to meet the following Monday. That would give Sam time to read the materials again, as well as to sketch out some of his questions.
During Sam’s drive to Mr. Im’s home on Monday, his nervousness increased. It surprised him. He didn’t remember when was the last time he had become nervous about meeting up with someone. Sam normally envisioned himself as a “take charge” fellow. He knew what to do in new situations. He didn’t get nervous. No one knowing Sam would refer to him as being easily flustered. He knew what to say. He knew how to answer. He knew how to give orders. But, when with Mr. Im, for some reason Sam’s self confidence was slipping through the sieve. In his heart, he knew that he was the novice. Mr. Im, however, was the real deal, a man who had no need for pretentiousness.
As he got out of his car, and approached the small porch, the front door opened, and Mr. Im had a warm smile that made Sam feel immediately comfortable deep inside. Sam wondered if Mr Im might have some of that delicious apple pie with ice cream, or some of those rich dark chocolate chip cookies with cold milk, or something else. The fragrance as Sam entered the house gave away the answer: It was the pie and the ice cream!
After small talk, which Mr. Im was able to do with graciousness and genuine interest, the conversation turned, easily, to Sam’s initiative of wanting to pay a visit to Mr. Im. Sam hardly realized that suddenly he was freely expressing his inner self to this gentleman with whom he had talked only two other times. Mr. Im simply had the knack of making Sam comfortable. He asked questions that probed Sam’s mind, emotions, appreciations, and fears. Yes, and Sam’s fears. It happened so easily that Sam hardly was conscious of the freedom of their conversation.
After a while of free flowing conversation about the topics covered in the seven elements embedded in the exercise of power, Mr. Im started moving the topic beyond what had been covered in the installments he had mailed Sam over the past weeks.
“Sam, what I have explained in the installments you have received is not my invention, although I do take responsibility for how they have been presented. You can find the thoughts in a variety of sources. For example, here are several pages that I have entitled simply Some quotes about Power. They quotes are quite varied, as are also the authors. Feel free to take some minutes to glance through the pages; I will get some more pie and ice cream, ok?”
The material (Some quotes about Power) quickly pointed to some of the scope on the topic. This is what Sam was holding in his hand and reviewing. As he began to look it over, he quickly concluded that the scope was very broad. He also saw some familiar names, but many were unknown to Sam.
Some Quotes about Power
- Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. (Abraham Lincoln)
- All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. (Friedrich Nietzsche)
- Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases. (John Adams)
- Knowledge is power. (Francis Bacon)
- Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. (Lord Acton)
- Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best. (Edward Abbey)
- The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future. (Eric Hoffer)
- Not necessity, not desire – no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment – they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied. (Friedrich Nietzsche)
- Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. (Frederick Douglass)
- Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. (George Washington)
- You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again. (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)
- The attempt to combine wisdom and power has only rarely been successful and then only for a short while. (Albert Einstein)
- Power is the great aphrodisiac. (Henry A. Kissinger)
- Never forget that the most powerful force on earth is love. (Nelson Rockefeller)
- An alliance with a powerful person is never safe. (Phaedrus)
- Sooner or later, man has always had to decide whether he worships his own power or the power of God. (Arnold J. Toynbee)
- Force always attracts men of low morality. (Albert Einstein)
- What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do. (Aristotle)
- Silence is the ultimate weapon of power. (Charles de Gaulle)
- Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey. (Denis Diderot)
- “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” (Oscar Wild)
- “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” (Roseane Barr)
- The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
- “I met an old lady once, almost a hundred years old, and she told me, ‘There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who’s in charge?” (Elizabeth Gilbert) in Eat, Pray, Love)
- “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” (Margaret Thatcher)
- “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” (Plato)
- “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” (John Steinbeck)
- “Power changes everything till it is difficult to say who are the heroes and who the villains.” (Libby Bray)
- “It is not truth that matters, but victory.” (Adolf Hitler)
- “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” (Paulo Freire)
- “You should never ask anyone for anything. Never- and especially from those who are more powerful than yourself.” (Mikhail Bulgakov)
- “For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” (Noam Chomsky)
- “When it comes to controlling human beings there is no better instrument than lies. Because, you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.” (Michael Ende)
- “Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” (Robert A. Heinlein)
- “It is impossible to escape the impression that people commonly use false standards of measurement — that they seek power, success and wealth for themselves and admire them in others, and that they underestimate what is of true value in life.” (Sigmund Freud)
- “The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?” (George Orwell)
- “Power was my weakness and my temptation.” (J K Rowling)
- “Silence is the ultimate weapon of power.” (Charles de Gaulle)
- “Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
- “When one with honeyed words but evil mind Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” (Euripides)
- “That’s what we all want, isn’t it? Power without price.” (Kelley Armstrong)
- All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” (Thomas Paine)
- “Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.” (Elle Wiesel)
- “The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.” (Adolf Hitler)
- Knowledge is power.” (Thomas Hobbes)
Mr. Im gave Sam as much time as he wanted to look over the pages of quotes about power. When he was beginning to feel overwhelmed by the material, he looked up to Mr. Im with a “Wow. This is not what I was expecting to get this afternoon. And, I am going to need some time to re-read this and do a lot of reflecting.”
“I understand, Sam. I have been working on this topic for a number of years. I agree that it is definitely a “Wow” issue. But, it is also super important, both on a personal level, as you have already realized, and also on a social and cultural level.
“The many people who have taught about power, and have written about it, point to how nuanced the topic can become. Interestingly, the ideological and philosophical backgrounds of the authors of these quotations also point to the topic not being esoteric. Nor is the topic a secret knowledge that only those who have been initiated into some secret sect or organization can obtain. In my case, I value the insights regardless of the source.
“I also want to mention, and do so with no hesitancy, that I also am a Christian. My ultimate allegiance belongs to Jesus, and I turn to the stories of His life as well as to his teaching material. I want to be as sure as I can be to understand his teaching and his behavior. I want to see how he handled various scenarios. In doing that, I see that the exercise of power and the experience of fear are common topics. Jesus teaches about them. Jesus lives through situations that are commonly associated with power and fear.”
“I hope all this has not put you ill at ease, Sam.”
“Not at all, Mr. Im. But, I do admit that the visit has caught me by surprise. I think I still have much to learn and to absorb. Will you be able to help me understand even further these issues of fear and power?
“If I can be of help, Sam, I will do what I can.”
C O M M E N T S W E L C O M E