Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reflections on Powerlessness

I often think about the fragility of life, and how truly powerless we are. This is the result of several events in my life, and the larger events of 9/11, Katrina, etc., which have completely altered my psyche in this regard. I think about economic powerlessness, powerlessness over the fate of my children, and much more.

Several videos I have come across on YouTube recently, about the temptation of Christ in the desert, have spurred me to think about my concerns with control and fear of powerlessness.

The video embedded below is a bit over stylized and interpretive, but it is a provocative presentation of Christ's choice to eschew power over the world.

Funny then, after seeing videos of this type, I watched just this week a PBS special about the creation of the Hebrew Bible.

Touching on the question of power, this series noted that the great book was completed during the Babylonian Captivity, at the lowest ebb and most powerless time of the Jewish people. And yet, it would unite the people of Israel, and eventually the Western World.

Is there anything more that we (I) can derive from these experiences of Israel's captive powerlessness and Jesus's chosen powerlessness? And, is it any different from other myths of renunciation and redemptive suffering?

My immediate temptation is to think that just the "right" embrace of one's powerlessness might actually empower you. But, how might one "embrace" that, and what kind of empowerment does it bring? Would it be the same experience as having no metaphysical anxiety at all? I sincerely doubt it.

Yet, beyond that, I don't know the answers. I just thought I would capture the questions. More to think on for another time.

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