Personal Journeys with Gramma

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Rattling the Swords of Strength?

What exactly is strength? I just skimmed an article about the fierce female warriors in GAME OF THRONES and I cheered for the ones in BLACK PANTHER, but does a person need a weapon to wield strength?

While a sword may require physical power to be dangerous, a gun certainly does not. The days when a society needed brute strength in its warriors are largely ending. These are the days of bombs and projectiles, cyber attacks and hacking. Regardless of the omnipotent muscle mass Marvel heroes and Dwayne Johnson seem to command, one person with advanced weaponry would have an easy job vanquishing them. Those who cling to their guns for false security don’t understand how warfare has changed.

Cleverness, then, has seized the day—along with a different kind of courage. Women have been standing in the forefront of change for many years now. The ruling high priestesses of ancient times held their positions with intelligence and an understanding of human nature; they lost influence only to force. Modern people of any gender identification who understand the shift from force to cunning are rising. So how did we arrive at a place in history in which blatant lies and bullying have so much sway?

Lies and bullying work with victims who lack self-esteem and the ability to discriminate between good information and that which is suspicious. Unfortunately, our world society is rife with people who secretly believe they need a bolder (not wiser) mind to lead them around—someone who can kick butt. Punitive educational practices and the corporate need to create blind followers have undermined both the confidence and operational intelligence of a portion of the masses. Those people react without waiting to see if they understand the actual situation. They want a “leader” to prevail against magical bad guys.

Modern strength, then, relies on self-confidence and intellectual perception. When we look at the vast field of potential candidates for president (including those Republicans determined to challenge our sitting president), we can see that in America, at least, we’re beginning to realize our strength can’t be simply physical. We’re being attacked by wily cyber manipulation. We need to out-think the attackers. We need fresh minds alert for new threats.

Intelligence alone doesn’t suffice. Strength needs an ethical system and emotional courage to be meaningful. In the old days, a hero such as Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON impressed us. He refused to relinquish his duty even in the face of horrific odds. Without the backing of his wife, he would’ve died. Today, our heroes need to stand against slander and people willing to deface the sacrifice of a war hero in order to make political points. Our ethics lie bleeding.

Each of us is called to demonstrate strength—in standing against Madison Avenue claims that we’re never good enough, against social pressures that equate life success with dollars, and against old prejudices. The recent She the People conference turned a spotlight on black female voters. In fact, women from various races and cultures across the nation are only now realizing they’ve been shoved behind men in more ways than unequal pay—and they went along. In addition, religious prejudices lose sight of the teachings of true leaders in favor of mob enthusiasm.

Strength is believing in your own intelligence, courage, and moral resilience. Strength comes from being a person you admire and don’t simply tolerate. Strength shines brightest when it’s used to defend and nurture the weak. So, don’t look for a sword. You are the weapon. Defend yourself.

5 comments on “Rattling the Swords of Strength?

  1. Frances Sullivan
    April 27, 2019

    You’re on to something. Care to go even deeper? Would love your perspective. xx

  2. Frances Sullivan
    May 8, 2019

    I guess it’s a case of ‘why?’. Why do some need to power over others? Are we continuing a story that sets up the dichotomy of might over right, time and time again, so that divisive behaviour is the obvious result? I’m not clear on this, but am curious. For example, we ‘slay’ the beast despite wisdom teachers asking us to love it. We demand the Ten Commandments be our standard instead of the inviting Beatitudes. Clearly, we’re missing something. Sure, some folks live well, some live extremely well, but not so all of us. If we are ‘one’ as science and metaphysics suggests, we’ve a lot of explaining to do to the millions who remain in extreme poverty while we rock and roll in the luxuries available to us. The distractions we allow, the smoke screens we hide behind, strengthen narcissism and keep our eyes from looking into the eyes of hunger.

    So, I’m back to wondering why we cannot live well and care for others, too? Surely together, if we can find the time and money and resources to build ginormous walls and ships and tanks and weapons, we can find the same to build bridges and dismantle whatever barriers keeps us locked up, full of fear, and enslaved to the few. But yeah, maybe we need to start with a new story.

    • The book UNDERWORLD I referred to in today’s blog suggested that very ancient pre-historic Indian civilizations prized enlightenment over material wealth or power. Hence their sacred “books” were carefully preserved in an oral tradition that required personal discipline to treasure each word in place, keeping the sacred hymns for the worthy. By the time Vedic texts, for example, were written, the texts had been carried in the minds of believers for untold centuries. I can’t presently imagine, much less, believe a society that prioritizes spiritual advancement. I love the idea that it’s not only possible but one day inevitable. I suppose, like all change, the transformation begins in a few hearts and gradually spreads. Sharing is natural to humans and animals, after all. We simply must learn how to rise above tribal divisions. Instead of a new story, perhaps we need to return to a very old story and rewrite the ending?

      • Frances Sullivan
        May 11, 2019

        Doesn’t matter how we arrive at the telling, just so long as we do. I could be wrong, but think there are tribes – nations – of indigenious peoples working to put their tales into text and it seems, from what little I know of them, that their values are on spiritual connection and oneness. I don’t mean to romanticise, but their traditions don’t seem to put a lot of emphasis on dividing to conquer.

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