Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Power Play

The most common way that people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.
- Alice Walker

POWER - as both concept and lived reality - has a prominent place in my consciousness these days.

It's entangled with social dynamics - power over vs. power with, power of the people, and fighting the powers that be. It's entangled with self-actualization, as with the process of [re]claiming & cultivating personal power. It's entangled with money - "Money is power," which leads to buying power and earning power (though let's not forget the latest buzzword & golden goal of "financial freedom"). It's entangled with morality - "Power corrupts" and so beware of "too much power in the wrong hands." It's entangled with our ever increasing reliance on technology and subsequent sense of debilitation when it suddenly becomes inaccessible, as during a power outage. It's entangled with cars and the allure of the fast lane - horsepower, driving power, power steering, Power Wheels.

Power is something to be had, held, possessed, owned; something to be gained or lost or claimed or remembered; something to embrace or reject; something to exercise freely or use with caution; something that can make or break you, fulfill your human potential or dehumanize you; something to give or seized or shared or sold.

In science, power is defined as the amount of work done in a unit of time (i.e., a measure of how quickly work can be done); work is the application of force over a distance or, more simply, a transfer of energy from one object to another; and energy is generally divided into two types, kinetic (in motion, outwardly expressed) and potential (stored, beneath the surface).

Then I think about the invisibility or neglected/denied value of "women's work" throughout history, and about the unpaid or underpaid work of today's "interns," and about common conceptions of productivity, and about action and pro-activeness and choice and creation/creativity, and about voice and self-expression, and about how we "show up in the world" and "what we're up to."

And usually I have some cherry-on-top conclusion for these contemplative forays, but not today. Just gonna let this one simmer.. for now.

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