The Love of Power

Jimi Hendrix once famously said “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace”. I can see how this sentence became popular but it is inconsistent and inaccurate, repeating it only reinforces misconceptions. Here’s why.First of all, among the world leaders, there are very few who are motivated by the love of power. The rest is groping around blindfolded, led by greed, lusting for and abusing power. These aspects represent very low (by low I mean unconsciously animalistic) levels of human psyche. All rather far removed from love. These actions stem from insecurity, lack of internal strength and false self-identification and contribute to the theatre of illusions rather than magnificence of creation. Love on the other hand stems from maturity of the heart and manifests in responsibility, growth, nurturing, support, understanding, communication, respect and inclusion. No one who truly loves power would ever use it for their sole benefit and discrimination of others. They would seek opportunities to ask advice, communicate and understand, to delegate and empower others on all levels of social and political structures. The current world leaders cannot real-is-e the responsibility that comes with their position – it’d crush them. To avoid that realisation they need to objectify by crushing ‘the weak’. None of those currently holding ‘power’ is really empowered.

There are of course plenty of examples of wise leaders who led from love. One of my true inspirations has always been Ewa Letowska, the first Polish Ombudsman (1987-1992) who took the opportunity to manage a department which at the time others believed impossible to sort out or lead. She not only used her education, social status and the ‘political weather’ to bring true changes but was also sensible, grounded, radical and objective in how she proceeded to implement them. Recently my hopes raised Nicola Sturgeon, the current leader of Scottish National Party. She has had an excellent start as a leader and if she remains true to her values, her focus and dedication might steer Scotland to totally new waters.

Coming back to the quote we started with: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace” – certainly appeals to us. It gives us permission to spit at politicians and see ourselves as loving innocents. As much as I’d like to believe it, this is one of the most deluded phrases we could be feeding ourselves with. Love doesn’t do anything – it is sustainability itself, the connector, the transformer. Yes, it is powerful but without the discernment of intellect (as opposed to mind) and direction of intelligence this power cannot ‘do anything’ – it itself has to be directed towards the target of transformation or empowerment, either within or without. By the law of transformation the only lasting and sustainable change will flow from within towards without. Once this is understood and applied by each and one of us, this mechanism can also inform and instruct our institutions and international relations.

I’d rather say that for the peace to flourish the love of power has to be in balance with the power of love. These two aspects have to feed each other to remain strong.

Related posts: Love. Apparently. 14 Sep 2014   Boundaries 30 Nov 2014