Thursday, August 11, 2011

Power

Power is a funny thing.

It’s not something we would all automatically put at the top of our wish-lists(unless we were megalomaniacs) – I’m sure freedom, good health and more money would all be first choices for most of us and we’d fling those down without too much thought.

But don’t they all in a way represent power?

Power to do what we want, when we want and with whom we want?

Maybe power is the wrong word? Maybe what I am really talking about here is self-determination? The power to choose every aspect of our lives for ourselves. To not compromise. To not negotiate. To not have to settle for that which we know, for us, is less than perfect.

I’ve been thinking about self determination a lot over the last few days and have decided I want it at the top of my wish-list. Or at least in close second place - maybe keep good health in pole position because it seems damn silly not to but, yeah, self determination... it’s up there with the big boys.

More money would certainly be nice. More money would be great. To not have to work for the man (or the woman) ever again would be fantastic. Freedom too is a fantasy ideal of utopia. To do whatever I like without recourse to anybody else. I’m going to do A, B, and C with no questions asked.

But let’s face it; more money and true freedom don’t really exist. No-one is truly absolutely free. And loads of money just creates as much of a prison as no money at all.

No, self determination is the key. And for that you don’t need money or the shackles of society being cast off.

You just need the right mind-set and the will to take it for yourself.

You need to know what you want and what you don’t want. And I have been thinking about that a lot over the last few days recently too. There are certain environments, certain people and behaviours that I just cannot make peace with anymore.

I know what I don’t want. I know what I can no longer stomach. I know what makes my soul sick.

Now it’s time to discover what I do want. It’s time to acquire good health for my soul.

And self-determination seems a bloody good place to start.



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40 comments:

Heather said...

A healthy soul is always a good thing to aim for :)

Steve said...

Heather: it depends what kind of weapon you are throwing...

;-)

Marginalia said...

Steve, you cynic.

Self determination, but not in a Bosnian Serb sort of way I hope.

Rol said...

Wow. I don't come here for deep philosophical insight, I come here for top telly totty and grumblings about stuff you're not allowed to grumble about.

But seriously: good for you.

I think.

Steve said...

Marginalia: no. More in a Dalai Lama sort of way. But with a bit of martial arts thrown in for the bad guys.

Steve said...

Rol: occasionally I like to think outside of my own box. For the stuff you usually come here to seek - please see my previous posts.

Nota Bene said...

Good thought for the day/week/month/year/life. I tried it and broke free of one thing only to be trapped by another :-(

Steve said...

Nota Bene: bugger. Warning duly noted.

RB said...

You seem to be reaching the same spot I reached at about the same age. I jacked in my job and started to do largely what I wanted to do but most importantly to be exactly who I wanted to be. I don't determine everything that I do - I have children to consider, and I do need to make money - but I rarely HAVE to do what anyone else asks of me, I decide whether to do it or not. And when you decide to do something, even if it is something you don't much like doing, it feels OK.

Good luck with the new mindset!!

Steve said...

RB: that's what I'm talking about! And that's where I want to be!

Gorilla Bananas said...

I've actually achieved what you're looking for, more or less, and it led me to coin the following proverb: "If you've got nothing to worry about, you worry about nothing."

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: sounds like nirvana to me. Does it smell like it too?

libby said...

It seems that you are set on changing things...either practically or inwardly with a different way of looking at things and behaving..good for you...hope it all goes well.

Steve said...

Libby: I'm hoping it's the first step on my journey to becoming a Jedi.

Sorry. I fear I may now have undercut the initial gravity of my post.

Mark said...

Getting all philosophical today Steve. Can't resist....

Broadly there are two conceptions of freedom in modern political thinking. Negative liberty - the absence of restraints and coercion. Positive liberty - the ability to do what you wish, subject only to not unfairly restricting the liberty of others.

Each has its philosophical merits, but in practice most of us want a bit of both - the minimum of restraint and the maximum of ability to do (self determination as you call it).

For a self-help guide on balancing these two goals I still think Bertrand Russell's The conquest of Happiness is pretty hard to beat. But the best modern equivalent is Martin Selligman's truly excellent book, Authentic happiness - he has a great website too.

There you go - probably not the response you expected.

Steve said...

Mark: no, but possibly the one that may prove the most use. Thank you.

The Sagittarian said...

Oh bugger, I had a fabulous retort all ready and then forgot it. because I could! Mwah hahahahaha

Steve said...

Amanda: you're just evil.

Being Me said...

Well, you know I think that's a superb start. And I think you show great tenacity just by posting this on your blog. That took guts. Good luck x

Steve said...

Being Me: thank you, ma'am... now I just need to figure out exactly where to go from here.

the fly in the web said...

I never found it very easy to achieve...too many hostages to fortune to take big steps....so I just set myself small goals, one at a time, and am now happily able to put up two fingers...or one, depending on the cultural environment...to most things - but, now that I feel much more independent, don't need to.

Löst Jimmy said...

Indeed, the power to be as we want to be will always be elusive, life is about compromise, about social contract, politics. Anything else is as you make mention,I'm afraid somewhat utopian.

Now please forgive me if I cut this comment short, I've no time to interact further - the champagne is on ice and my personal maid is waiting for a goodly dose of my self-determination.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: that's very much the position I'd like to be in - one finger ot two?

Löst Jimmy: ah, social politics... hope you both manage to thrash out some earth moving legislation...!

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

It is pretty liberating to have a firm grasp on self determination, but I only seem to be able to grasp it for short periods of time. Have you read and Thoreau or Emerson? If not, you might like them.

Steve said...

Michelloui: I've heard of but not actually read. It is clear I may have to remedy that - thank you.

BlackLOG said...

We live in an evil consumer driven world - the more we get the more we want...not ready to give it all up yet though having too much fun…

Sannah said...

Good luck, and happy birthday for tomorrow.

Steve said...

BlackLog: each to their own!

Sannah: thank you!

Jeneane said...

Hmmm, sounds like you are ready to emmigrate to NZ... What do you think Sag, you dag? But seriously Steve it's far easier to step away from all those life restricting circumstances in this country, and Lady Mondegreen serves to remind me to keep self-determination to the fore here in the Secret Garden. Nice to see the flip side of the Fool in you by the way.

Steve said...

Jeneane: to be honest I've had a hankering to head down under for a long time... it wouldn't take much to persuade me to do it. Just a nice fat lottery win.

Jeneane said...

Well Rangiora - my local town - is called Pommyora by the old-timers for it's attractiveness to British immigrants!

About Last Weekend said...

Good to start with what you don't want to do. Too bad you can't be paid scrillions for your O for awesome blog. Or me for my wildly esoteric comments...

Steve said...

Jeneane: OK. I'm sold!

About Last Weekend: now that really would be a dream come true.

TimeWarden said...

Everyone wants to be free,
But you'll have to agree to be free,
You'll have to agree to be less free than me,
'Cos I rule the world you see!

Steve said...

TimeWarden: ;-)

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Funnily enough I have just bought a bargain international best seller called 'The Power' about unleashing one's inner power to have a fantastic life from The Works today. I'll let you know if it works.

Or my regime will let you know when we come knocking on your door! ;-)

The Poet Laura-eate said...

On a more serious note have just had to sever ties with a near-genius friend who is an amazing, generous and charismatic friend when on form but turns into an internet troll when drunk or you refuse to acquiesce to his every opinion, which is fine when you agree with him naturally, but unacceptable when you don't and he won't respect your entitlement to your own views.

The weirdest thing is he exercises absolutely no self-control re the louche irresponsible lifestyle he leads, seldom rising before midday, bingeing 3-4 times a week and freelancing when he feels like it (which has led to near-financial disaster for him), but is very controlling re others. I once fell out with him because he tried to insist I go and see a film with him which I made clear I did not want to see as it was not my sort of thing.

He is someone of extreme highs and lows but the lows have come to outweigh the highs of knowing him and he is just too high maintenance for me to tolerate any more.

Steve said...

Laura: freedom is located at The Works? Maybe I need to see fi they're recruiting...! Your friend sounds a mite bi-polar. Plainly their is a downside to doing what you want all the time... you lose the ability to compromise or empathise.

It's still a risk I'm willing to take. ;-)

Modern Military Mother said...

It's time for to read The Secret my friend. In order to get what you want you have to know what it is and then simply ask for it - write it down and put it out there. What have you got to lose - you can create your perfect life. Cynicism and doubt are obstacles you have to believe to achieve. Trust me!!

Steve said...

MMM: right now I'm willing to try anything!