I got invited out for Guinness night to celebrate the recent birthday of a friend of a friend. It was at this tiny trendy bar in the west village and plenty of fun. The birthday boy is young and handsome, surfs with us occasionally, models when he can get the work and revealed himself for the first time to me as quite the thinker. I always thought of him as a teensy bit on the naive side or perhaps just inexperienced either way when we got into a good conversation he started throwing down the ole conspiracy theory stuff:
“The power of this world is in the hands of the few. The corporations control everything. AIDS was created by a small group of scientists as a way to control the world. Puppet masters, politicians, oil companies, everyone else with more power and more money and no one wants to say anything because they risk being ostracized blah blah blah.”
I fought him as long as I could, but those conspiracy guys get a really tight hold and they don’t really let go. It bothers me, A LOT. I just can’t wrap my head around the notion that a few people can get so well organized that they can effect change on a global level AND keep it secret.
It seems hard enough for any organization to make any kind of decision that I simply can’t see anything resembling mass change and secrecy ever going hand in hand. The underlying principle seems to be a quality of victimization psychology that infiltrates the psyche of the conspiracy theorist. It results in the act of giving away personal power to “those guys” that control everything.
And it is this that brings us to the feelings of power and how to generate it.
First of all there are no “Those Guys” there is only us. Secondly Power is something we all possess. It is the power of choice. It is the birthright of every human being. It is active from the miniscule to the enormous, from the moment you wake up to the moment you pass from this plane.
Generating it is easy: Go to the gym.
Naturally you would expect that from your trainer, but the reason I think of my training space as sanctuary is because it is the one place where I know I can generate the feeling of being powerful especially when I feel like the world is a dangerous place.
Incidentally people for thousands of years have felt the world to be a dangerous place this experience is nothing new. Here is an interesting quote from War and Peace Tolstoy’s masterpiece written in the mid 1800’s about the early 1800’s Napoleonic wars.
“It was clear and frosty. A dark, starlit heaven looked down on the black roofs and the dirty, dusky streets. Only by looking up at the sky could Pierre distance himself from the disgusting squalor of all earthly things as compared with the heights to which his soul had now been taken. As he drove into the Arbat a vast firmament of darkness and stars opened out before Pierre’s eyes. And there in the middle, high above Prechistensky Boulevard, amidst a scattering of stars on every side but catching the eye through its closeness to the earth, its pure white light and the long uplift of its tail, shone the comet, the huge, brilliant comet of 1812, that popular harbinger of untold horrors and the end of the world.”
Almost 200 years ago people thought Haley’s Comet foretold the end of existence. There are some now claiming the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 foretells the end of our world.
It’s rubbish. It is a collective conscious scare tactic. There is but one response I have to these fears: To control the things that I can control. I know I can go to the gym and make an attempt at my best. My best lift, my best effort, my personal record, my attitude and my intention can all be fine tuned and I can walk away knowing that I DID something worthwhile. I met in fair contest my greatest enemy – myself. I won the battle against negativity and the feelings of powerlessness that are generated by the fear that few control the many, that there is a power out there that seeks to control my life. There is no such power.
The only power that can control me is the power I give away.