“Who on power sets his aim,
First must his own spirit tame;
He must shun his neck to thrust
‘Neath th’ unholy yoke of lust.
For, though India’s far-off land
Bow before his wide command,
Utmost Thule homage pay –
If he cannot drive away
Haunting care and black distress,
In his power, he’s powerless.
“Again, how misleading, how base,a thing ofttimes is glory! Well does the tragic poet exclaim:
‘Oh, fond Repute, how many a time and oft /Hast them raised high in pride the base-born churl!’
For many have won a great name through the mistaken beliefs of the multitude—and what can be imagined more shameful than that? Nay, they who are praised falsely must needs themselves blush at their own praises! And even when praise is won by merit, still, how does it add to the good conscious of the wise man who measures his good not by popular repute, but by the truth of inner conviction?” ~Boethius
Those who seek and gain power in politics, business, and other material pursuits certainly don’t think they are powerless. Yet in reality, they are. They are like a person who picks up a penny and polishes it, shows it off, is very proud of his penny, but he left gold coins laying in the street. Such is the one who seeks power or fame in the temporary. That famous and “powerful” politician will die one day. Then where will his power be? He will have none. He will find, much to his chagrin, that earthly power is meaningless one the veil is crossed.
The wealthy business person with his bags of money is no better. He measures his success and power by the size of his bank account. He is like the porn star bragging about the size of his penis. When the porn star does, he will not take that penis into the spiritual realms. When the CEO dies, his bank account will stay behind.
So Boethus is correct in saying those types are actually powerless because their power is both illusion and temporary. In the real world of spirit, they have no power.
In some European countries, it was once common to crown a fool as King for a Day and have a parade in his honor. This custom was undoubtedly started by someone wise enough to recognize that the king of temporal powers is always a fool.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t have temporal power and fame, only that we have to realize that it is illusion. We also have to realize that the majority of people make foolish decision all the time, so being a hero of theirs might actually be an insult. Continue reading “Powerless Power in a World of Illusion”