I have been pondering about creating a podcast on power, the personal power one has at one’s command to maneuver in life. Many years ago I watched a program on television, 60 Minutes, in which one of its crew of crusty middle age guys, it might have been Wallace, interviewed a pool shark, someone who travelled from one venue, one pool hall to another milking the provincials, or the big stake players of their money.
The man was a character and Wallace wanted to look as cool and with-it as his ever sophisticated interviewee. They talked about money and roots. The guy, wearing jeans, boots, a Stetson hat and a seriously gorgeous babe at his side allowed money was not something he worried about. He saw the money makers as weak, fearful individuals. Money was always at hand when he wanted or needed it, focusing one’s life on it was a character flaw. His roots were the road he travelled.
I was a naïve girl back then, nevertheless what he said stayed with me. I could see that the people one was trained to admire were not so admirable after all. The pool shark was motivated by something other than the prevailing way of being in our society. The guy was betting on himself 100%. How could one be a pool shark otherwise? One needs to be stable, focused and directed to win. Remember the college test in which you walked into class, took your seat and pulled out your pen ready for action? You knew your stuff because you cared about it, found it challenging, something you could sink your teeth into. The thing about personal power is that it’s personal. Any power one attains through institutions, individuals, organizations can be easily taken back. The assigned power is temporary and limited by the agency providing it.
To the extent one is ruled by money and/or security one’s personal power diminishes. Let’s take a look at the current “scandal” namely Jeff Epstein, the Lolita Express, Pedo Island and his penchant for underage girls. The figures on Epstein’s worth range from $500 million to a billion, and there’s that other form of power, power-over, which Mr. Epstein spent many years accumulating in the form of collecting incriminating evidence on people who could at some time or other be of service to him. Government operates at the level of power-over as it rules over its citizens. The system is permeated by that philosophy, such that individuals in Congress, the Senate, the state department, the presidency, the FBI, the CIA, et al, keep dossiers of whatever information they are able to gather on their colleagues -- a vicious cutthroat world.
Jeff’s blackmail banking system seems to have failed him. We will never know what’s happening behind the scene that brought us the scandalous revelation; chips were cashed and people are being seriously damaged. Some have speculated that it was brought to light by Trump as payback to the Clintons for having saddled him with Russiagate. It could be from another entity entirely, and necessarily outside of Epstein’s circle. The girls ultimately had power over Epstein. Their task was to wait, their entire life if need be, but they had a story to tell and an opportunity would present itself. Power-over is a two-way street. While you are collecting your evidence, so are they. Citizens in the US are also gathering evidence on their corrupt government.
One of the functions of personal power is ethics. If one has only oneself and one’s path to rely on, lying to, cheating on, stealing from oneself places one at the mercy of others as a number of people in the Epstein milieu are now being exposed to. This is not Christianity, in truth one’s ethics can and do clash with laws, belief systems, morality.
Personal power assumes that one is prepared to pay the cost of one’s actions. One is prepared to accept what Spirit deigns to deliver, and it is not always pleasant as Mr. Assange will tell you. Like the informed college student sitting at her desk facing the test, one accepts that professor might not agree with one’s responses. One could even fail the course, a wrong turn in the road. One needs to get back on course. There is no defeating such a deliberate person. One’s life is purposeful. There are no accidents, no failures, no bad luck; there is just the path, or as the pool shark put it, the road.
The favorite essay this month has been, True Hallucinations.