In her book, “Real Power,” Janet Hagberg talks about how our human understanding of power goes through stages. At stage three in the process, we come to understand power through symbols. Those symbols can be in the form of titles, cars, homes, size of your corporation, where your office might be located, any number of things can determine what you determine to be power.
But…that is ONLY stage three. In Hagberg’s study of power, there are SIX stages, not THREE. Yet, in our world, stage three appears to us as the top. There has been an avalanche of articles about Hugh Hefner following his death, and he, among many others through history to the present, can be seen to have achieved this understanding of power…and gotten stuck there (here is one of the more thoughtful editorials I have found).
Thankfully, there are other voices who managed to achieve enough of this power to recognize it needs only be one more step on the road to something far more valuable, a power worth more than things. There is more to seek in this life than notoriety and celebrity and fleeting positions of power. When we achieve these most sought-after positions of power, they are only temporary for eventually, someone is going to replace you. Someone new will be elected, a new revolution will occur or the mantle will be passed by retirement or appointment.
We don’t know what we don’t know because we fail too often to listen to those who know what we do not. I find that my journey through the valley of suck, this road which grief has led me upon, is not a road that is unknown. It is a path neglected and ignored but there is deep wisdom here, and a place of purging and correction and redirection. And it is here, I think C.S. Lewis pointed when he referred to the “deep magic” in The Chronicles of Narnia. For suffering is the way of The Christ, the way of Immanuel (Isaiah 53). I find there are few guides in our age who seem to know this path and if you can find them, they are rarely in the spotlight.
I remember once asking a question of a teacher, “who are you reading and listening to for your growth?” It seems all the more pressing as I journey on. Just who is guiding our guides? Who is teaching our teachers? We may not know what we don’t know but we can surely ask better questions and seek better guides.
May I Ask: What are the better questions you are asking? Who are the better guides you are finding?