Uncommon Sense

February 24, 2021


Powerlessness is something we all experience. I remember seeing The Incredible Hulk TV show for the first time, as a 30-something year-old man, having read Hulk comics in my youth and I had the thought, seemingly for the first time, that I wished I had the ability to turn into a green monster and trash all of those who oppose me. Powerful people do not, I suspect, harbor such thoughts.

Powerlessness is a hallmark of the religious, which is interesting because in my view, religion exists to control the behaviors of the masses to serve the interests of the elites, both religious and secular. So, powerless people are participating in a practice that guarantees their powerlessness. Religious Irony should be a term.

Another facet of this I read about today was in a post on the medium.com website (The Optimism of Satan by Mitch Horowitz), in which the author stated: “The ethical or spiritual search, not as idealized but as actually lived, is a search for power. That is, for the ability to possess personal agency. We pray, ‘Thy will be done.’ We mean ‘my will be done’ — hoping that the two comport.”

He added “The novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer . . . detected, (that) we are not very different from the classical magician when we strive, morally and materially, to carry forth our plans in the world — to ensure the betterment of ourselves and our loved ones; to heal sickness; to create, sustain, and, above all, to generate things which bear our markings, ideals, and likenesses. All of this is the expenditure of power, the striving to actualize our drives and images.”

Ah, to heal sickness. I am still drawn to fantasy novels, from Marion Zimmer Bradley to L.E. Modessit, Jr. who have characters who heal by mysterious forces, that is they have the “power” of healing. I learned in those books that my name means “the crowned one” and “the hands of a king are the hands of a healer.” I would love, just love to have that power.

We all wish we had more power than we actually do to some extent. This fuels our cooperation with others, for one as a preventative of them being more powerful than us and impressing their will on us and also to acquire the power of the group.

Chrsitianity taps into this, ostensibly for our benefit . . . but not really, by telling us we have an all-powerful friend who will help us, reward us even,  and punish our enemies. This being is all-powerful but for some reason must wait until we die before exerting that power on our behalf. This doesn’t explain, at all, why my enemy, let’s call him Bruce, gets punished when I am Bruce’s enemy and so should not that god be punishing me on Bruce’s behalf? Who gets to be the whipping boy here? Is it determined how much you give when the offering plate is passed around? What?

There is a little mental game we play (at least I do) of: “what I would do if I were in charge.” I have played this game a great many times because I developed a stock line near the end of those discussions of “Well, surely the world would be a better place if we were in charge.” This was almost always followed by laughter, from the knowledge that we do not really want to be in charge, nor would we recognize the right things to do if they bit us in the ass were we in one of those positions. We were just voicing our powerlessness, broadcasting a recognition signal for ordinary citizens as much as the middle-aged grunt is for middle-aged men.

1 Comment »

  1. Christians in the US at least seem to be simply whiners these days.


    Comment by john zande — February 24, 2021 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

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