Circumstances are beyond human control,
but our conduct is in our own power.
– Benjamin Disraeli
It might be said that human beings are almost designed to give their power away. The inherent comparative mental faculty that enables us to distinguish different aspects of our lived experience is the culprit. As soon as our cognitive ability allows, we consider our physical selves in relation to the circumstances we live in (let alone the rest of the Universe) and we are impressed by the limitations of the body and the lack of control we have over even that.
We’re loaded with the imperative to gain control over our physical bodies and overcome their limitations. So we are primed with a tendency to feel inadequate and frustrated by the conditions of life.
One of the consequences of this is that it can create an imprint of powerlessness. Everything is bigger, stronger, louder, brighter than we are. It’s all ‘out there’ and most of it is scary. In addition, many of the cultural institutions we operate within, are structured in a way that requires our submission. Acceptance demands compliance, which often means subordination to a ‘higher’ authority. It’s a small step from this to the victim-consciousness endemic in the mainstream of collective consciousness.