Whenever someone uses that retort, I squirm in my chair. It's never sat well with me. It implied a lack of power. That the corruptible had achieved such power, in my eyes, implied that if they were not worthy of such power to begin with, then I and everyone else that allow them to hold such power were, in fact, worthy of being enslaved by this person.
In short, I have the power not to succumb.
"Occult power lies in removing the capacity for others to be able to grasp the labels and concepts surrounding you." (From a previous post.)
And I just read this, by William Drenttel, on Design Observer:
Francis Bacon once said that knowledge and human power are synonymous, and it is in this spirit that true power is perhaps ideally achieved: it is power informed by learning, collaborating and considering how the ultimate quality of our lives is made, whether in reference to our health or our schools; our environment or our foreign policy; our aspirations in science or in space; or our humanitarian achievements, as people, in war and in peace.
Is it fair for me to argue that even life itself is a prison, as purported by numerous philosophical doctrines and spiritual analogies such as Gnosticism? If so, then even clinging to the worth of one's life in the face of enslavement is an un-educated and worthless endeavour. This is living solely for living's sake.
And that's not living.
Living requires strife, sacrifice, and the willingness to change, metamorphoses. A power is exacted when a consensus is reached. Consensus poses an interesting dilemma. As William Whyte wrote in his classic The Organizational Man, "It is the price of progress that there never can be complete consensus. All creative advances are essentially a departure from agreed-upon ways of looking at things, and to overemphasize the agreed-upon is to further legitimize the hostility to that creativity upon which we all ultimately depend."
This is also the thesis behind The Lucifer Principle, by Howard Bloom, in which he contends that "evil" is a by-product of nature's strategies for creation and is woven into our most basic biological fabric. This argument echoes a very old one. St Paul proposed it when he put forth the doctrine of original sin. Thomas Hobbes resurrected it when he called the lot of man brutish and nasty. Anthropologist Raymond Dart brought it to the fore again when he interpreted fossil remains in Africa as evidence that man is a killer ape. Old as it is, the concept has often had revolutionary implications. Why? Because it has been the thread on which men like Hobbes and St Paul have hung dramatic new visions of the world.
And as I wrote elsewhere and Kylark was nice enough to emphasize: Power is how one utilises their roster of wisdoms (knowledge + experience = wisdom) to maintain their order and interpretation of reality held over any others.
Thus, if we are knowingly befallen to the power of someone or something else, it is our fault and there is a way out. Too many of us quit because it hurts too much, I suppose. Which reminds me of another quote to end this off with. William James wrote in Varieties of Religious Experience:
Recent psychology … speaks of the threshold of man’s consciousness in general to indicate the amount of noise, pressure, or other outer stimulus which it takes to arouse his attention at all. One with a high threshold will doze through an amount of racket by which one with a low threshold would be immediately waked. … And so we might speak of a ‘pain threshold,’ a ‘fear threshold,’ a ‘misery threshold,’ and find it quickly overpassed by the consciousness of some individuals, but lying too high in others to be often reached by their consciousness. The sanguine and healthy minded habitually live on the sunny side of their misery line; the depressed and melancholy live beyond it, in darkness and apprehension.
Does it not appear as if one who lived habitually on one side of the pain threshold might need a different sort of religion from one who habitually lived on the other?
So as I explore more of myself, I come to see it reflected in my perceptions of the world around me. As above, so below. As a seed, if my power grows, in whatever areas it might be — graphic design, my own ability to organize my life, womanizing, pushing tough love on my friends, encouraging in others, working on bettering my relationship with my mother — every experience I conquer is a demon quelled. I can now apply the abstractions of those experiences to further launch the new knowledge I acquire from around me, and thus grow in power.
In this, there is a system by which one can accrue enough experience to build up their personal character. Like a game, abstractions can be mastered which allow not lead to the growth necessary to tackle new challanges… the prior experiences garnered actually allow you to take notice and see the new worlds awaiting your attention. Like levels in this game, the higher realms are not readily available to the limited perceptions of players not willing to level-up.
And from up here, I see a lot of NPCs that believe otherwise.