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Appendix 5: The Reality of Power


Mastery of others is not true power. You can have the largest army in the world, and then yes, you'll have power. But is it true power? Does it make one enlightened? Does it help one to know truth? Does it prevent you from dying? Do not confuse yourself between temporal power and real power. And insofar as we are concerned with temporal power, if it does not lead to real power, it is worthless to us.

There is a different kind of power which I am looking for.

The power to break free from the isolation of life.

There is a gap between myself and the universe, and that gap yawns wide. Passion is the desperate yearning to overcome that gap. It is the pain that comes from the abscess in your soul where you used to be joined to everything else, and now you're not, now you're completely on your own. I am drawn back time and time again to this simple problem: I am alone, and this isolation is the necessary condition for human existence. To be human is to be widowed from the universe. Yet within this human isolation is the capacity to reach out and yearn to be joined again to this universe, this time, perhaps, as a 'fellow creator' in Nietzsche's sense, or at least, a fellow participant, capable of desiring and yearning, and really knowing what it means to say that 'God is love' and not just mean that as an empty formula.

This capacity is passion, and it is only through being aware of this passion that we can really live. And what is power if it is not the ability to live?

- Richard Francis Irvine