Like every other day, this morning as well I was telling my 9-year-old to rush and do his chores, pushing him to hurry up with his morning routine because what he was doing and in the way he was doing was not enough for me. While he continued to follow my instructions to satisfy my regular expectations of him, I was stunned by his choice of words. Out of the blue, he mumbled his disapproval by voicing his words, “you always force me to do what I don’t want to do! You can’t force me, Mumma. You are pushing your power over me to do things your way!” His words made me stop and shook me well out of my comfort zone to realize that I was indeed putting my authority over him. It may be a mum’s wish to get his child to do a task in a particular manner, but after all, it was my unconscious show of power over someone who may be weaker than me at this moment. We went about doing our respective duties in weird silence since we both knew I was in the wrong. As I returned home after leaving him at school, the thought and his remarks stayed with me. I may have meant well but perhaps my continuous cornering made him retaliate. In a way, I am glad he did that because this makes me realise that what happens every day in our lives leads to what happens all around us. I am an individual among those who need to keep a conscious check on our actions because we humans tend to get carried away in our emotionality. Our actions and behaviours at the micro-level have the power to result in happenings all around us at macro positions!
Have you ever felt personal power over something or someone? A sense where you feel the absolute need to take over the other? It may sound claustrophobic in theory, but the practical world develops our mind in such a way that we want, need and many times crave this sense of absolute control. However, in our quest to gain a sense of self-respect, we may confuse this sense of power and legitimate authority with authoritarianism. A feeling to look down upon others and a sense of self supremacy end up overpowering our sense of right and wrong. When power revolves within the boundaries of legitimate leadership, physical geographies, resources available in nature, and a sane sense of governance as well as empathy of economic development, it is a progressive society. However, the moment it crosses the boundaries with a sense of pressure, autocratic rule, blurring the outlines of humanity, it becomes a force to be wary of. The transitions are so subtle and smooth that we may not even realize the time the power shift becomes dangerous and fatal.
There is a grave need to maintain this uniform balance between natural and social elements of power to create and continue with a healthy society. The change brought about in the actions, opinions, beliefs, and behaviour by the medium of gradual influence brings about a sense of positivity in power. The power that keeps intact the integrity of human emotions, value of life, and strength in emotions of love, respect, and support. But when we use force and compulsion to weaken the borders of human physicality and mind, then authoritarianism seeps in. The feeling of making things, feelings and people belong to a certain person, idea, and ideology turns the power game into dirty powerplay. This kicks us where it hurts the most!
The result trying to attain an absolute sense of power may result in catastrophic consequences in society. A sense of restlessness emerges due to continuous pushing down over the free will of people. This may result in the bursting of the bubble of human patience and end up in physical, emotional, and mental tussles. Since the person in a position or organization of power can carry out threats in the form of punishments, there is a continuance prevalence of lack of trust and emotional disconnect between both. Then there is a sense of prevention from attaining the desired goal as part of emotional punishment. With power comes the fear of losing the same. When people in authority get paranoid with their power being taken away, there arises a vicious circle of further gain in power and supreme authority. This leads to a swift shift from the positive effect of power (where there is a channelized way of thinking involved along with the development of cooperative behaviour among society) to the negative repercussions of authority that inculcates corruption, selfishness, and isolation of freedom of thoughts.
When humans let the animal within them out to run wild, the risk of accidents rises by leaps and bounds. The society in power and authority has a responsibility to keep its humanity intact without letting go of its empathy and logic. Soft boundaries are needed to control the human tendency to encroach on others’ entities. Conscious compromises are needed if we need to turn imaginations into reality. The development that we see around us is the result of working together and mutual adjustments. If there has been tussle all over then we would not have been the live example of a mature society living in coexistence. Power needs to be for guidance and a focussed approach to the all-around development of humanity. It should not become means to the end full of chaos and human destruction. We need continuous healing. Every day there is some or the other form of hurt that is thrown upon us. There is one of the other senses of obligation that needs to be fulfilled, some authority that need to be obeyed. But if that power brings dissatisfaction and clutter in our physical living and mental state then it needs to be stopped. It needs to be softened and needs to be moulded into a form that has a slow pace and developmental approach. We need to have the power of control over ourselves first so that our language, behaviour, and actions stay in line positively. There needs to be a power in all of us to be able to say no and come to a solution that is beneficial for all. We need to stop the fight among ourselves to win over our lust for power bordering controlled authority!