Power is one of my favorite subjects to think about. In recent months, it has become something around which I have been centering my blogs, and also something that has found its way to the top of my prayer list. My quest to discover, recover, and uncover my personal power has made me sensitive to matters related to power and philosophies concerning power. When my brother sent me the trailer for Netflix's Project Power a couple of weeks before its premiere, I was very interested in watching it, as it seemed filled with many of the concepts I have been writing and thinking and praying about.
I saw it last night.
It was amazing.
Here is the beginning of my reflections.
Two Distinctions of Power
Because power has a lot of different faces, it can be easy to collapse all definitions into one big “powerful” category. As I watched the movie, I saw power expressed in various ways through different characters. Most interesting of my observations was the distinction I saw between authentic power and authority.
There is a continuum on which the various types power rest. In this blog post, I will refer to “authentic power” as the highest power obtainable by humans. It is invisible, innate, and in most cases, must be discovered throughout one’s life. Once, however, it is fully discovered, the holder of such power is unstoppable. Most people never unlock the full potential of their authentic power either because they have been (mis)educated in a way that draws their attention away from their authentic power, they avoid power because they have been conditioned to associate power with corruption, and/or they are afraid of power—the power that comes from others and the power that comes from self.
Authority, on the other hand is how most of us experience power. We submit to it, resist it, or strive to attain it. I laughed when I read the definition of authority (the power or right to give orders, make decision, and enforce obedience); namely because authority as we experience it is so inferior to authentic power (with the exception of Spiritual authority). Let me use the movie to explain.
Authority Figures in Project Power
There are several characters in Project Power that represent authority figures.
Robin’s Mother: Robin’s mother is one of the first authority figures we see in the movie. Although Robin’s seems to be more of the mother in their relationship, the mother’s authority is evidenced when she is expected to come home at a certain time with a can of soup. This request looms over Robin as she is swooped away into ever-unfolding sidekick duties to save New Orleans and reunite a father with his daughter.
Robin’s Teacher: As Robin makes digital drug deals during class to save money for her mother’s operation, her teacher asserts his authority and commands her to redirect her attention. He reminds Robin of her failing grades and the life-long detrimental consequences of performing poorly in a high school class—ultimately giving her a choice to stay and comply or leave. She left, meaningfully tossing her books in the garbage can to pursue a life of pushing power pills.
Police Officers: The authority of police officers is seen in one of the opening scenes when Robin is being robbed by three guys. Officer Frank Shaver approaches the action and scares the violators away with his badge and gun and authority. Frank’s boss, Captain Crane uses his authority in a similar way to involve Frank in an investigation to bring in Jamie Foxx’s character, Art.
Dr. Gardner (Villain/ Boss): Dr. Gardner is seen toward the end of the movie as the big boss. Her commands are golden. Everyone complies to her directives because she is in the highest position of authority in her operation.
My Main Point
Most interesting in the majority of these observations is that each person “in authority” has no extra powers. Their “power” is totally reliant upon a person perceiving them as either powerful or worthy of respect (to the degree that you voluntarily comply with given directives). Robin respected her mother to where she made sure, despite all she went through, she returned home with a can of tomato soup in her hands. She did not, however, respect her teacher enough to comply with his commands. And in the case of the police officers and Dr. Gardner, it is very interesting that people with extra powers concede to persons with NO external demonstration of power!
Seeing this made something click for me. We all have access to authentic power that, once unlocked, can be just as demonstrative as the superpowers represented in the film, and just as demonstrative as Jesus’ miraculous power in Biblical times. This innate and invisible authentic power available to all of us represents the height of our human potential. Achieving this aim has been societally thwarted because it threatens the status quo (and rule of those in authority).
As the world is changing and shifting, people are waking up to their power. Children are being born with abilities far superior to those of former generations. The time is soon coming when humans with demonstrative powers is the norm. We see previews in the advent of psychics and empaths, telepaths and even creative geniuses. But present authorities are working with adversaries of human progress to keep the masses subservient to the former authority and dependent upon artificial intelligence, as authority becomes insignificant when authentic power is realized; and must be maintained by fear, ignorance, and intimidation.
The words of GOD etched in the 43rd chapter of the book of Isaiah remind us, “Behold I will do a new thing...” I sincerely believe that God is doing something new—that is new to us and new to the society we are currently living in. We are alive today to help usher in this newness. Will we be poor stewards of the authentic power in us—becoming overwhelmed with fear from COVID and hate from division or will we, having faith in GOD, and a confidence in the powers with which GOD has gifted us, connect with to the higher powers of nature and self to be all that we were created to be?
We are a part of a real project with everlasting impact. I, for one, do not intend on taking it lightly. We are more powerful than we know.
Am I lying?