We look forward to the time when the power of love will replace the love of power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace (William Ewart Gladstone)
Love is as essential and indispensable as oxygen. We cannot live without it. Love has to do with both intrapsychic and interpsychic connectedness – connectedness with the self, with others, with creation, and with the entire cosmos. The less connected we are, the more powerless we are. Love is the power that makes the world go round, the power that sustains all creation. Love has to do with affection, caring, and respect. It leads to peace. People`s relationships are marked by mutual appreciation and uplifting. Love bridges huge human gaps, and opens avenues that would otherwise have remained closed. It is respect for rights and differences. It doesn’t seek to make everyone like the other, but celebrates what makes us unique. It overcomes barriers and gives meaning to life. Love sets the other person free, it does not condition them. Love has no hidden agendas, it is open and transparent. It is not defensive. When the other person doesn’t accept us, we do not hire others to destroy them, but respect their decisions, and set them free. It is a win-win relationship. A mature, responsible adult neither seeks undue power over others nor wishes to see them subjected to anyone`s controlling schemes and fantasies. This is the traditional meaning of liberty. It`s the rationale for limiting the force of governments in our lives (Lawrence Reed).
Power, on the other hand, has to do with control. Pure power corrupts, because it uses others for one`s gains. It is self-centred, at the expense of the other. It seeks to down tread the other person to submission. Power shoves things down the throats of others. If you do not abide, you are considered an enemy, and what we usually do with enemies is to eliminate them. William Graham once said: “All history is only one story to this effect. Men have struggled for power over their fellow men in order that they might win the joys of the earth at the expense of others, and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others”. Even if these words were written in the 19thcentury, they still remain so true in our world today.
In a free society, the power of love governs our mind, our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviour, instead of the love of power. Equality is at the heart of this. It affects relationships and fosters mutual responsiveness and attunement. It has everything to do with integration.
In order to be motivated by love, we need to avoid attributing power to others, and reclaim it. Citizens often give unconditional power to their governments, and this makes them powerless. When we give over our power to anyone or anything, we remain vulnerable, exposed, and can end up being abused. When we allow ourselves to be pushed about, dictated to, hemmed in, and smothered with good intentions as if we are still children, we give ourselves over to be controlled by the love of power of those who control us.
We need to tap into the power within us and reinforce it. We need to avoid giving up the only precious heritage we have, because when we do, love goes out the window, and we are marred by resentments, bitterness, anger, violence, jealousy, depression, revenge, and a life of meaninglessness. We need to strengthen our own character, to be models of integrity, and to allow the force of love to propel our lives. We need to fully understand the principles of love and liberty, so that we can convincingly defend them against the encroachments of power. We all need to join hands to replace the love of power with the power of love.