Power v. Obsessive-Compulsive
As I wrote in the my last post, when people becomes abusive with power, they get so much into their animal selves that being in a relationship with them is really negative for both you and the abuser. The best thing to do is to leave the relationship until their justice in the environment.
But the reason that there is not so much justice in the environment is because of the next category of dysfuntion and that is people that become obsessive – compulsive. Now, I want you to know that I am using this in the strict definition as you find in a psychiatrist’s manual, but rather the disorder that seems to be pandemic where large numbers of people including leaders tend to obsess on things that are relatively small and make them seem like they are the most important things in the world. I think that probably the obsessive category is a result of most of the world having lived without justice for so long because when you deal almost exclusively with unimportant things that don’t change anything, then the people in power that abuse it can go on doing what they do without fear of others taking over.
Well I never really experienced this phenomenon while living in North American though I am sure it exists. I first lived through it in Brazil. What seems to happen in Brazilian culture and the reason why disparities between rich and poor are so enormous is that when you do fantastic work in your job, then the people who are supervising you start to become really jealous and then begin finding ways to get you to focus on unimportant things (smaller things) and then use it as a way to fire you. For instance, instead of attending to literature and content in writing, Brazilians spend endless hours on grammar. When a letter goes home from school in Brazil, the parents don’t ever complain about what is in the letter. They only complain about the grammar because the grammar in Portuguese evolved into such complicated forms that only a few people ever really get it right.
So the problem we have is that the great majority of us have spent a great deal of our lifes focusing on details of grammar and obsessing about them in a negative way and very little about the content of the writing itself in a positive way. Whether or not you do the small things well such as cleaning the dishes is much more important in most cultures than how you relate to each other. And this is all because people who abuse power don’t want things to change because they have a huge material advantage in keeping things as they are. And when you do well and improve conditions around you, you become the enemy.
I have spent a very long time reflecting on the solution and it seems to me that the place to begin is with the obsessive compulsive side of the equation rather than the power side. The problem, as I see it, that has developed in the world is something like this. Generally speaking it is more important what you wear to a party than the party itself. Looking nice is not a bad thing. It is even quite desireable, but having a party where people actually enjoy themselves and have deep conversations and do interesting things is pretty threatening to the status quo. You can have a party and focus on all of the details like food, decorations, cleanliness, and appearance, which take up most of the time which are not threatening, but when you get to the really transforming parts such as having a deep conversation, the party becomes a threat to the existing power. That is why it is ok to get really drunk in a party and then brag about it the next day. As long as you are getting wasted, you preserve the status quo.
The good news is that people who do not wield a lot of power, who are the obsessive side of the equation can change relatively easily and then when there is a significant force of change, the abusive power yields. The way to deal with yourself when you find yourself focusing too much time on unimportant details is to begin by recognizing positive qualities in yourself and doing them. If you are creative, you can use your expressive powers by just starting to use them. And if you live or work with others who are really obsessive, you can ignore the obsessive parts, focus on other positive parts and then they will start living them. If your colleague obsesses on order, it probably means that unconsciously he is fearful of doing the things that he is really great at because it creates such change. If you can just focus all of your comments on things that are positive other than order, then it will have a powerful impact on him. It seems simple enough, but it tends to be extremely hard to implement because the obsessions that others have tend to have a negative impact on us so we then tend to try to make the other person feel bad about the obsessions and deal with them in a negative manner.
When you try to change people by making them attend to their obsessive qualities, it just makes them more obsessive. People change when they are recognized for what they do well that springs from their true self.