The minds that co-ordinate the activities of violence can co-ordinate the activities of co-operation
All of our institutions – social, economic and political reflect our understanding of power as external. Police departments, like the military, are produced by the perception of power as external. Badge, boots, rank, radio, uniform, weapons, and armour are symbols of fear. Those who wear them are fearful. They fear to engage the world without defences.
The perception of power as external has shaped our economics. The ability to control economies, within communities and within nations, and the ability to control the transnational economy of the world, is concentrated in the hands of a few people. To protect workers from these people, we have created unions. To protect consumers, we have created bureaucracies in government. To protect the poor, we have created welfare systems. This is a perfect reflection of how we have come to perceive power – as the possession of a few while the majority serve it as victims.
Money is a symbol of external power. Those who have the most money have the most ability to control their environment and those within it, while those who have the least money have the least ability to control their environment and those within it. Money is acquired, lost, stolen, inherited and fought for. Education, social status, fame, and things that we owned, if we derive a sense of increased security from them, are symbols of external power. Anything we fear to lose – a home, a car, an attractive body, an agile mind, a deep belief – is a symbol of external power. What we fear is an increase in our vulnerability. This results from seeing power as external.
What power is seen as external, the hierarchies of our social, economic and political structures, as well as the hierarchies of the Universe, appear as indicators of who has power and who does not.
Competition for external power lies at the heart of all violence. It reflects the competition for external power that is generated by fear. Individual to individual and group to group it is now clear that the insecurity which underlies the perception of power as external can not be healed by the accumulation of external power. It is evident for all to see, not only with each newscast and evening paper, but also through each of our countless sufferings as individuals and as a species, that the perception of power as external brings only pain, violence and destruction. This is how we have evolved until now, and this is what we are leaving behind.
Our feeling of dissatisfaction, unhappiness, it is possible that anything and everything could cause us frustration. In our normal way of life, we let ourselves be controlled by powerful thoughts and emotions, which in turn give rise to negative states of mind. It is by this vicious circle that we perpetuate not only our unhappiness but also that of others.