A place for a


What is power? And the cabinet of lies.

Many people get pissed at people in “power”. And sometimes, sometimes people treat you like you are one of those in power and that means you deserve to be treated badly or be envied.

So how do you argue against that? Not necessarily to them, because they don’t care anyway, but how do you quantify it for yourself?

What is power?

Huh. Bummer. It’s kind of a tough question, isn’t it?

And when you think about it, there is actually a lot of trickery going on when it comes to the PERCEPTION of power.

When we think of power, what do we think of instantly?

Bankers. Rich people. Famous people. CEOs. People higher in the hierarchy.

But when we say “higher in the hierarchy”, what do we really mean?

Well, turns out we mean kind of an abstract intellectualized thing. Almost … not power itself, but a caricature of power. We mean this artificial hierarchy we have established in society. You know … employer, employee, etc yada.

But it only exists in our minds. It’s not the real thing.

The social hierarchy?

Tell me … how powerful does a CEO who earns a million per month feel when he has to spend $10.000 on a mildly disgusted escort to get some sex – while some low life semi-homeless thug gets free sex from girls who actually desire him?

Tell me … how powerful does a politician in the “highest places of social hierarchy” feel when he can’t speak his mind, EVER? When he can’t go on a beer with buddies and make a random joke about some Jews or Niggers or Lepers or whatever tasteless thing he feels like saying after he’s had a few beers and just wants to have a laugh?

Tell me … how powerful does a businessman feel who has a great company running with many employees and great running projects … when he has to put in so much work he has no time to even spend the money he earns or appreciate the empty praise he … doesn’t even get because everyone hates him for being “successful”?

Tell me … how powerful do famous actors feel if they get pressured into being mouthpieces of political agendas … when they have to play soulless characters written by a screenwriter with the single goal of making money?

Tell me … how powerful does a professional photographer feel when he can make no artistic decisions he likes because his client’s bank account dictates his artistic decisions … and the client simply wants cliche portrait photographs … which would be okay … if he hadn’t taken a million of them before and grown tired of it by now?

Tell me … how powerful does a man feel when he comes back to his wife home who nags him until he does what she says and he can’t defend himself because she would divorce-rape him, sue him for violent assault (even if he didn’t do it), and take away his kids?

What do these people have?



They have a consolation … a comfort of thought … that they are “someone”. A “professional”. Or “famous”. Or “well-respected”.

A purely intellectual fantasized value.

And that’s why they defend it so hard.

They defend it so hard because they know it’s not real. They defend it so hard because they know it’s a lie. They know that they are truly rather powerless … so all they have … all they can hold on to … is the illusion of power. The social consensus … the collective lie … that they have power – while they don’t.

They defend the consensus that they “should be considered powerful”.

But it’s a soap bubble. It bursts so easily and quickly you would never even know it had been there.

And since it is so fragile, it must be guarded the more closely. Every dissenter, every free thinker must be attacked. Everyone who sees that the emperor is truly naked must be silenced.

They must eradicate consciousness, because consciousness is like a knife that mercilessly cuts through their lies.

One conscious gaze from someone who truly sees … is enough to throw them into a pit of despair.

So that leaves the question … what truly IS power?

And if we are honest about it, the simple and intuitive answer is: To be able to do whatever the fuck you like.

And the degree to which you can do whatever the fuck you like – that is the degree to which you are powerful.

Perhaps it needs more distinction. Surely it can be refined. For example … is it the degree to which you can do whatever the fuck you want? Or is it the degree to which you can do the things you actually want to do?

Either way … most of the things that are sold to us as power … are truly shackles. They eat away our time, our health, our strength … and leave us with nothing but a comforting lie.

The devil looks in your face and asks “Don’t you want to be powerful?”

And you cry out: Yes! Yes! I want it so much!

And the devil gives you a diploma, a profession, a name, a status … but he wouldn’t be the devil if he didn’t make it so miserable for you that you wish you had never wished for it.

And of course the devil is not obligated to be honest with you…

… he didn’t really give you power.

He gave you an appearance of power that you desperately mistook for power itself.

Tell me … if you are so powerful, Sir Highinthesocialhierarchy … why do you never exercise that power?

You say it’s because you are humble.

But we both know it’s because if you tried to exercise your power, you would realize you have none.

You have no power.

Not the power to speak freely, not the power to act freely, not the power to desire and be desired as you please, not the power to be who you are, not the power to have enough time for yourself to enjoy your life.

All you have is the illusion of all those things. You can speak freely as long as you only say what you are allowed to say. You are allowed to act freely as long as your free will directs your actions towards that which is expected of you. You can desire and be desired as long as you don’t question whether it’s genuine and as long as you pay for it. You can be who you are as long as it’s who you are expected to be. You can have time for yourself to enjoy your life as long as this constitutes doing what others would like you to do.

And somehow … through all this … you keep lying to yourself. You lie so hard it turns you into a warfaring robot. You are like a child screaming in helplessness: “But mommy said I was powerful and privileged and free!”

And you keep seeking … keep seeking … not for power, but for “proofs” that you are powerful.

You learn to put on an act that will make others like you … and it works. And there is your proof that you are powerful. And you repress the fact that you had to put on a fake act to be accepted and liked.

But it leaves you feeling empty. So you seek for more proofs.

With time, the trophies and prizes and certificates and news articles and photos of yourself holding the hands of famous monkeys stack up in your cabinet and start catching dust. All your “proofs”. You show them to friends sometimes to make them believe you are powerful, expecting and hoping for them to infect you with their belief of your power … you cleverly coax them into lying to you.

You like to think of them as memories of your powerful moments … but they are only records of your lie. They all look different, but you could just as well replace them all with post-its that say “I am powerful”. Except, those wouldn’t fool anyone. It wouldn’t be the same towards others – but it would be the same to you.

And yet … every time you pass a truly powerful individual on the street … it all catches up with you. You look into that individual’s eyes and you are immediately revealed. You immediately see that this person is everything you pretend to be.

But you quickly forget about it. You got that cabinet of lies at home. Nice, warm, fuzzy lies.

Maybe, one day, you will wonder what power truly is … maybe you won’t. Maybe it will stay a shadow of a thought for you. A phantom concept. A word the meaning of which you never knew and never questioned.

Maybe, one day, you will realize the true nature of the thing you never knew you wanted and always thought you had.

3 votes
  • The Champion

    Hey, Tom! I only just found your blog and I’m glad I did. You were one of the more interesting commenters on RoK.

    In regards to this article, you say that true power is absolute freedom, I would say that the best measure of true power is influence. The ability to get other people to willingly do what you want them to do.

    In the examples you’ve given (CEO, businessman, actor etc…), while they may have superficial “power”, it is clear that none of them have the ability to influence others or even themselves. They are nothing more than slaves to their environment. The reality is, nobody can do whatever the fuck they want. There are always rules and laws to reckon with, both written and unwritten. But individuals with influence can bend the rules in their favor and be praised for it.

    • Thanks! I appreciate that.

      Yes, obviously absolute freedom and thus absolute power are all but a fever dream. Not only that, but they are also rather hard to define. Which was kinda my original intent to say when I started writing this article.

      When can you be said to be truly free?

      Even influencing other people comes at a cost. To influence someone, you first need to let them influence you by adapting to their needs and giving them something they need or at the very least behave in a manner that will make them do what you want them to do. If you want to force them, you need to be strong. To be strong, you need to train a lot – or be born with strong genetics.

      I suppose that maybe it would be truly powerful when you can do this influencing naturally without acting against your nature? Then again, maybe one’s nature can be bent to a certain degree? How much is okay? Etc etc. One could write lengthy essays about this without ever coming to a perfect answer, probably.

      I suppose one just has to gauge for oneself what kind of freedom one wants and be conscious of how many apparent freedoms can be a pitfall and not really that free at all.

      Reality/life in itself is a prison. You have to eat, because your body demands it. You have to be reasonably pain-free, as your body demands it. You can’t fly off, because gravity dictates it. You can’t live forever, as material things decay.

      • The Champion

        There is an interesting passage in the book Thick Face, Black Heart, where the author talks about “turning the other cheek”:

        “There is a time to turn the other cheek and there is a time to strike back to make sure you’re not slapped again. If you turn the other cheek with the full understanding of what it entails, then so be it. But if you have to resist the impulse to hit back, then turning the other cheek doesn’t not make you superior, it just makes you a coward. You have allowed the standards set by society to influence your actions.” (Paraphrased)

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with turning the other cheek if it achieves your aim in the end. Like the Yin and Yang concept, when one side expands the other contracts and vice versa. When you deal with other people (especially powerful people), it is necessary to adapt at a moment’s notice. To be fluid and flexible as the situation demands, but always keeping focus on your aim.

        What you call “nature” has already been, in many ways, molded by your surroundings. You might have noticed that children couldn’t care less about society’s morals. They are the ones who are truly behave naturally, before their surroundings hammer them with “rules”. I believe that only by returning to the childlike state of mind will one to be harmonious, both internally and externally.

        • I think Yin and Yang is meant to be a kind of “there is always an equal counter-force”, which I don’t think applies between people of different status. But yeah, you make a valid point in a way. There are those who are truly powerful, if not at a national scale. Like those who are at the top of a circle of friends and can say whatever they want and people will not criticize them.

          Yeah, children. But even they stop once they’ve been hammered. That’s just it, I think. This hammering creates the ego – a layer of pain. The pain is understood as “knowledge”. An adult is seen as having no justification to behave naturally because he has “knowledge”.

  • Dano

    As you probably already know, I visit your page a lot . I always want to start a thought-provoking convo or something like that (but you don’t reply to me anymore, guess nothing I say is intriguing enough) anywayssss–> that obviously doesn’t stop me (here i am…) I was going to share a poem w/you… but I’m not anymore. Because, after I read your article, I decided to dedicate my comment to praising you. This post was beyond amazing. Like… everything I wanted to say in my poem you easily phrased clearly in your post. Dear Tom, you have an extraordinary talent of wording your thoughts. Better than anyone else I know. I believe that your words hold a form of power. They’re honest. Maybe not honest to the world, but honest to yourself.
    I feel like you’re gonna dislike this comment. Honestly, it’s cheesy and disgusting and I hate praising others (because I almost always do it out of fakeness) but I really mean it. Thanks for always posting on your website!

    • I have a weird relationship with praise. On one hand, I love it. On the other hand, I hate it.

      I love it because it feels good. I hate it because I don’t want to grant anybody the power to make me feel good.

      This is a problem that I also have in relating to art/entertainment. When something is incredibly amazing and new, I let it in for a brief time during which I can almost enjoy it … but then I get cautious again and realize I am becoming too open and then I shut it down and can no longer enjoy it and need to find something else.

      So you could say I want to enjoy stuff … and at the same time I don’t.

      As for my writing … I have no control over it. My brain just types this shit down. I cannot force it, I can hardly direct it (I can not really choose what to write about, because my brain will only write somewhat eloquently when it feels motivated to write something in particular), and sometimes I wish it would shut the fuck up because I end up feeling like a secretary to my brain, having to write down all that stuff all the time. Or taking that picture or whatever.

      As for not replying to your comments … meh. Same as what I just said. My brain either wants to reply something or it doesn’t. I have no control.

      • rox123

        I hate praise because it only comes from people that want to manipulate me or engulf me – my mother for instance. Especially engulf me.

        • Yes! I feel pretty similarly about it.

  • Another good article. Perhaps you should become a professional writer? But then again – you would lose so much freedom…

    Freedom. Or the lack of it, This is what characterises people you are speaking of. Neither those seemingly powerful people nor thugs on streets nor thinkers are truly free. Unless, of course, they finally decide to move to a deserted island. But even then something would limit their choices: their own shallow minds and weak bodies.

    • Professional writers’ lives must be terrible for the most part. To think that even someone like Bukowski likely didn’t fully write his mind … but then, neither do I. Even as an amateur I am not totally free, or do not feel so. But, I can go farther than he. He must be careful to be sellable – I must only be careful to be tolerable.

      • Tolerable to whom? What do you care? I’m looking forward to read a book of yours, even it makes me throw up.

        You like Bukowski? Have you read “Turks Fruit” by Jan Wolkers? I couldn’t bear his style and the amount of vulgarisms, but maybe you would find him interesting.

        • I care because I don’t want to be imprisoned, forced into psychiatric care or become homeless, that’s why I care. For all these things to happen, I must be tolerable, as does everyone else. Deviate too much and you lose your privilege to free will.

          • But here, online, you can be yourself, provided you don’t break the law.

          • That’s just it. It becomes easier by the day to break the law. If the right people knew about some of the articles I wrote, under the right jurisdiction, they could probably sue me.

          • Micah Geni

            Must keep an eye on that “unholy lance” ! these days.

            Mandela Effect:
            They have changed it on wikipedia. Last time you died in one of your more famous past lives, you were shot by an arrow. Now, these days, wikipedia writes it was a lance :-)

            “Misdeus led Saint Thomas outside the city and ordered four soldiers to take him to the nearby hill, where the soldiers speared Thomas and killed him.”