Monday, May 16, 2011

Power--a possible series

I teach a series of texts that make up a unit called Power. The main texts are The Iliad and the Declaration of Independence; the alternate reading is Letter From Birmingham Jail. I stopped using The Art of War because I grew tired of thinking of power in terms of military might.

I've been seeing some ridiculous power struggles. People who lack any sense of personal power often inflict others with unreasonable behavior. What is the lure of power for human beings? What big thrill comes from bossing another person around? Why is it necessary to be in control of every damn thing?

Now the end of the world is coming. What a power trip. That silly Bible has been the source of misery for too long. Some over the top fanatics want to rub our noses in our seemingly inferiority by letting us know that we are doomed. God's power does not lie in his ability to wipe us out. Authentic power can only come from patience, love and mercy. It takes a really powerful being to put up with human infallibility and still see some good in such flawed creatures. I would like to think God is like that. I would like to think I can be like that one day. I wish more people would reassess their relationship to power.


  1. The whole world seems to be designed in a way to function like that.We are taught that it is our goal to win the rat race.We can't change the race, can't change the system that designs it.We can only change ourselves by not being a rat.

    Saddest part of this culture is that the power struggles between loved ones in a relationship.


  2. I would like to think God is like that too. I just can't.

  3. interesting. i didnt know the world was ending, if I had I wouldnt have spent almost 3 hours in my field yesterday digging up weeds. Maybe today i will gorge on chocolate cake with whipped cream as my thighs will never pay the price.

    Power trippers are to blame for the sad state of affairs the world finds itself century after century. looks like we havent evolved much. Im with desperado_ i dropped out of the rat race and never looked back - and it really kicked in (as you know) after the phoney TARP theft. Ill never be the same person -my illusions shattered once and for all.

    Hi SJ!

  4. We are all rats whether in the race or not. You are either among the teeming throngs rushing madly towards who knows what, or you are scurrying madly about trying to avoid being crushed by an iron boot. It is possible however, to hole up out of notice for a while and watch the race go by. Like minnows in an eddy. But sooner or later, you are found out and on the run again.

  5. The power of co-incidence, incidence, and bad planning may wipe us out.

  6. @goatman: Add Murphy's law to that.

  7. Goatman: You need to copyright that statement, so that the rest of us can put it on our cars as a bumpersticker. That is just so true.

    Mr. C: I do believe that. Sometimes we don't get the emotional satisfaction of watching the "finding out".

    Desp: Power is a problem for those who have no sense of their own. It just sucks.

    Chickory: Did you read about the federal program that authorized "loans" to the wives of those Goldman-Sachs douchebags? The system is rigged; the power is institutionally in place, and it makes me understand why some people want the world to end.

  8. Fascinating--that your department would focus that much on martial power to the exclusion of other forms (economic, interpersonal, physical, industrial, strategic, moral, cultural, and so on).

    I've been away from cyberspace for awhile. But I'll be back on the air anon.


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