Strength! Power! Austin POWERS. What is strength, and what is power? Strength is physical, and strength is emotional. Power is external control and authority, and control is an illusion. So what does that say about the people seeking power? One could say they’re chasing a fleeting dream, like chasing the pink dragon- something they might grasp for a moment or two before it disappears into a wisp of smoke. These two concepts of strength and power serpentine through each other, meeting in one field of thought and being completely separate in others. I was originally only going to write about strength in this thought piece, but figured it would be best to include power as well.
The word strength is defined as… wait. Oh my God. There are too many definitions. I can’t one-off this, you guys. Okay! So, let’s run off the list here. There are twelve definitions separated into five sections. SECTION ONE. 1) the quality or state of being physically strong. 2) the influence or power possessed by a person, organization, or country. 3) the degree of intensity of a feeling or belief. 4) the cogency of an argument or case. 5) the potency, intensity, or speed of a force or natural agency.
SECTION TWO. 6) the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure. 7) the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.
SECTION THREE. 8) the potency or degree of concentration of a drug, chemical, or drink.
SECTION FOUR. 9) a good or beneficial quality or attribute of a person or thing. 10) a person or thing perceived as a source of mental or emotional support.
SECTION FIVE. 11) the number of people comprising a group, typically a team or army. And finally 12) the number of people required to make a group complete.
So, what do these sections tell us about the nature of strength? The first two are pretty general, but the last three are separated properly. Third section is potency, the fourth describes an emotionally secure and mature person, and the last details military force. Who’d have thunk these vastly different fields would have such a core connection? Language is interesting in this regard. Strength means so many things! It as a concept really gets its worth. You could say strength is a STRONG ass word! Luckily, there are adjectives to help describe its many forms: Brawn, supremacy, intensity, force, stability, resilience, stoicism, aptitude, magnitude, anchor. We have body builders and we have mothers. We have Keanu Reeves, a man who has lost so many loved ones and still holds a positive demeanour, and we have life itself! Life is stronger than anything; throw asteroids at the Earth and life is still here!
Now where does power intersect with strength? Brute strength has power over another in a tug-of-war. In a fight, a lighter person could out-maneuver the heavier one but in something like tug-of-war, it’s done before it begins. In a game of wits similar to how polite neighbours might be nasty to each other, the one who best holds their emotional stability wins the power. To contrast, there are many cases where the weak can have more power, like in politics. Authority is where the abuse of power is found with individuals that may have never had a sense of control before. Strength is not needed to sign papers or bark orders, but great power is housed in it.
It’s a curious thing to have strength or power, and all the more to lose it. People who have just attained either, or have yet to lose one often look down on others without in however mildly disdain. Only when you lose one can you have a better perspective on life. Most people with more money than they need who give to specific charities, do so because they had someone in their life go through whatever the charity is aimed at. New people coming into the game of life as independent adults seek riches either because they were taught to, to compensate internal anguish, or because they grew up with very little and want their kids to have the opposite kind of life.
In the end, though, we lose everything. Any kind of power or strength you gain, will leave you before the end. It doesn’t matter how much you work out, how sharp you make yourself, how much you make or how many things you name after yourself, in the end we all lose to death. One can hope for a future world where we learn the humble lessons of past peoples and gain their perspective of what really matters in the end. We could maybe finally mature as a species, instead of one at a time and often too late, but that kind of thing is only a hope. I don’t want to write it off, but our minds are clearly wired to compete. And compete we will. Maybe we can compete to a point to equanimity one day- who knows.
One thing we do know, is that with all things, time will tell. Thank you again for reading. I love you all, and I’ll talk to you next time. Be good.