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On Power And Permission

Diriye Osman

Beloved reader,

A long time ago I learnt a painful, but necessary, lesson, and it's this. No-one can give you permission on how to lead your life. Nakedly authoritarian regimes and covert fascists of The Free World™ alike can, and will, do their darndest to restrict your most elementary rights as a human being, whether it's trying to assert control over your womb, your consensual sexual activities, or, if you're a black person, police you literally to death.

Shrinks, preachers, would-be oracles and Oprah Winfrey will go ahead and preach the Gospel of Self-Enlightenment, (with a dash of capitalistic overreach to sweeten the cyanide), but none of them can actually give you permission to go and get your best life.

In fact, I assert that almost everyone you meet and interact with in this lifetime will immediately size you up, either subconsciously or on a more bait level, and try to either dominate you or submit to you depending on where you - and they - stand on the power spectrum. Social Darwinism is for suckers, but that's how the human animal has been engineered to function over the course of millennia.

But even if we posit this bargain basement theory, and agree with its five bob psychology, we will still come up short when faced with the moral or existential crisis that comes with needing permission on deciding how to navigate the world.

This is simply because needing permission on how to live, which is to say, needing permission on how to be a human person, betrays a fragility that is frightening in its futility. It's a fragility that says, 'Here's my agency. Here's all my free will. Take it from me. Do unto me as you will.'

It's a dangerous brew, custom-concocted for exploitation by others.

Reader, you don't need permission on how to lead your life. How could someone give you that permission anyway? Exercise your freedom. It's yours. Imbrue your existence with as much pleasure as you want. It's yours.

Your life has always been yours.

It's up to you to honour your own humanity.

I send nothing but love and joyful energy your way.



Song for the moment: 'Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow' by Funkadelic.


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