When a bird is alive, it eats ants. When the bird is dead, the ants eat it.
It only takes one tree to make a million matches, and only one match to burn a million trees.
You can be powerful today, but remember that time is more powerful than you.
Jean Mc Abby Bruny
Magnanimous when flattered, perverse and cruel when challenged, power is a dangerous animal. Lurking in the shadows, it spies on any movement concerning its field of intervention, its territory. It watches, inquires, collects information; analyzing, scrutinizing the clues, judging, it retaliates immediately, by all the means at its disposal, to restore its order and maintain itself in place at all costs. Implacable, unjust if necessary, because its survival is at stake.
Whether a form of power concerns a nation, a company, an association, a couple; whether it is state, religious or occult; the mechanisms are the same. These constraining mechanisms lock a group of adults into a “parent-child” relationship, toxic, alienating and degrading for both parties. Nothing authentic can emerge; behaviors are tense, rigid, conventional, devoid of humor and creativity, repetitive.
Information is power. The proverb says: “An informed man is worth two”. When information is disseminated, freely distributed, power is shared; it is diluted and the harmful tension is eased; relationships become healthy, fluid, simple, constructive; opposites recognize themselves as complementary: they find their nobility. When, on the other hand, information is withheld, kept secret, power is concentrated, which is its natural tendency; its poison only becomes more effective. An unhealthy division is then consciously maintained between “those who know” and “those who know less”, to the detriment of all; two unequal “camps” are arbitrarily formed in the infected group, preventing the free flow of both human and spiritual energies. And “those who know” know it well; they accumulate advantage upon advantage, favor upon favor, at the expense of the common good, which is also theirs… The venom of power paralyzes; it deforms and imprisons bodies as well as consciences.
Power comes from fear, power distills fear, power is fear; fear of suffering it or fear of losing it.
Those who are subjected to one or the other form of power, obviously wish to free themselves from it, to take their life in hand, to decide their destiny, to be free to think, to speak and to act as they want to. When they think about it together, they quickly come to the conclusion that the only way to reach this emancipatory objective, to realize this desire, is to access power themselves in order to be able to govern collective life, to put their own stamp on it, and to organize it according to their criteria, values and interests. In so-called democratic countries, they seek to be elected to the highest public office; in totalitarian countries, they foment insurrections and revolutions in order to overthrow the dictatorial power in place and take control of the institutions. In doing so, they forget that this is exactly how their predecessors – those they want to replace – operated. If they succeed, power changes hands but remains intact, unchanged in its divisive structures. Discontent and oppression change sides, until the next election, until the next revolution.
Sometimes a democratic regime turns into a dictatorship, and vice versa. But the wheel of power keeps on turning, crushing in its path political ideals, revolutionary impulses, hopes for a brighter tomorrow; and also revealing unacknowledged interests and motives. Inexorably, the future is disillusioned by the experience of tensions, contradictions, divisions and unsolvable conflicts generated by the conquest of power, and the individual opinions and aspirations that are so different, so divergent. The exercise of power inevitably produces an inextricable tangle of lies, dissimulations, compromises, tricks and tactics, manipulations, distortions and contortions that wear down and destroy the soul.
There is no end to this merry-go-round; it has existed since the dawn of time and will continue until their extinction. The wheel of power turns, throwing the oppressed of yesterday to its top, sending the crowned heads back to the earth from which they came. This is the function of the wheel: to create experience. The experience of opposites generates suffering; suffering provokes reflection; reflection produces consciousness; consciousness becomes stronger and deeper: thus it gradually frees itself from form, from phenomena, and rises above them.
Power enslaves those who long for it and exercise it as much as those who suffer from it. Power over others never makes one free; it binds one to others. The circular race for power generates electromagnetic energy, like an electromagnet. All those who gravitate to this sphere are literally glued to it, just as a person who has inadvertently grasped a live electric cable cannot detach themselves from it: they are one with the current that now runs through their body. The sceptre of power – that addictive rattle – holds firmly the hands of those who grasp it firmly. Freedom is about letting go of the sceptre with all its benefits, prestige and memories. Then the imprisoning energy it contains and transmits also let us go.
There is no hope in the pursuit of power; only idealism and greed still unconscious. Every form of organized power contains from the moment of its appearance the germ of its downfall, of its destruction. This is not due to special circumstances: having made a mistake in strategy, arriving at the wrong time, facing more powerful adversaries… The mistake is structural: it consists in vigorously grasping, with the whole of our being at stake, the wheel that will lift us to its summit, no matter how and with what intention. And it does indeed lift us, sooner or later, if we hold on to it with perseverance.
But it does not stop there, when victory is noisily celebrated, when the opponent is defeated. It continues to turn afterwards, thanks to all the energy and momentum we have given it so that it can lift us to its summit. For others are waiting and striving, impatiently, to experience the powerful, intoxicating drug of victory, of success, of elevation above others, of absolute decision-making power over the community, of freedom from coercion and oppression, from the obligation to obey orders, to obey a law that they themselves have not enacted. They are also waiting, without knowing it yet, just like their predecessors before them, to experience the fall, the reversal, the inexorable descent and the breaking of the coveted exaltation.
As it continues to turn, the wheel of power ruthlessly precipitates those who have clung to it from the summit reached through repeated and arduous efforts to the downfall and the return to square one. The fall breaks and hurts; it also reveals and teaches. It is a harsh experience, but it is also an initiating one! The powerlessness inherent to the human condition (some dust thrown in spite of itself into interstellar space), misunderstood, unassumed, unaccepted, leads to the search for power. Power, in all its forms, leads to an awareness of its vanity and impotence. A vicious circle that calls for a conscious break, a categorical withdrawal.
The only liberating power is that of letting go, of making silence within oneself, of calming the tensions and demands of the ego in the serene recognition of their vanity, of their harmfulness; of consciously ceasing the morbid, destructive and useless game that consists of believing and hoping that we will change anything by reproducing the mistake of our predecessors: taking power from them as they took it from others before them, by cunning, opportunism or force. By lucidly forfeiting, we thus withdraw our energy from the fatal wheel that was “pumping” it; thus weakening in the magnetism of this wheel, its power of attraction. In return, we release this reappropriated energy to move consciously towards the unchanging centre, the motionless hub where everything is peaceful, serene, where everything becomes possible again: the immobile heart from which every harmonious movement flourishes.
We will all die one day, empty-handed; this is the final, total, definitive dispossession. What will we have built by then? Castles of cards to be protected and consolidated anxiously day after day, which we will inevitably abandon to the winds, to our successors or to our adversaries at the moment of our last breath? Or is it a consciousness firmly anchored in the present, having found and cleared in its own innermost being the source of all balance and happiness, insensitive to the shimmering images of pseudo-successes swirling endlessly in the narrow kaleidoscope of personal ambition?
The matured conscience observes the wheel of power as a visitor contemplates the gigantic lighted wheel of an amusement park. It knows how you get on (first you have to ‘pay your ticket’), how you rise up, dominating everything and everyone, and how you come down to the starting point. Consciousness, matured by the experience of the disappointing and exhausting wheel of power, no longer pays for its ticket; it no longer allows itself to be dragged along; she saves her gold for another journey, a journey to the interior, a journey with no course, no route, nor move.