an asceticism of power

“never fall in love with power” Foucault admonished us. let us purge the romanticism that could come from that right at the outset: this is a warning to a trap, not advice to would-be priests or saints.

falling in love – holding fast and tight to it – is to completely misunderstand the nature of power and – here’s the real trick – allow oneself to be imprisoned.

powercan only be when it flows. it cannot properly “be held” as it must always already become transferred. power can only be excercised through delegation and devolution. letting it go is the only way to make it come into being.

moreover, attachment to power is a toxic kind of willful blindness. it inebriates and gives illusions, only to deliver frustration and resentment at the end. one who would seek to “attain and keep” power, not only fails to accomplish one’s objective, but is easy prey to those who know how power works. they’ll find themselves with many offices, titles, medals, badges of honour and a vast curriculum – but little to no power. any organisation of any value knows this and exploits it fully, from mafias to cartels to corporations to parties. the people at their top – the real powerful – are those capable of giving and taking as opportunity shows. those in love with power are merely their bodyguards, their cannon fodder.

this commends us to an asceticism and a scepticism of power. since letting power flow is the best way to empower oneself – and since power is the only immanent good – the supreme posture in the world is an icy coldness and negligence towards power and the powerful. the weak can be safely wielded through their envious passion, but the powerful must be neglected to be truly attacked. power escapes through our clenching fists, and invests those who simply don’t care about keeping it.

the message to propel is, as always: let go.

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