Last time I said our institutions seem like they have power over us. That we are powerless.
I also said it's easy for us to feel powerless when facing large institutions.
What I didn't say is that if you let yourself be "sucked" into the conversation of the institutions you are giving up your power. Your power lies in your ability to think and act independent of the large institutions. Of course, I'm not saying it's easy to be or think independently.
Large institutions have the appearance of control but actually no one is in control. There are certainly individuals with titles. There are also individuals and groups that conspire/attempt to gain control despite the attempts of a few. Society is essentially a driver-less car.
Since we are living in the industrialized world, we can't stop paying attention to the large institutions because there are laws, norms and expectations that you will pay your taxes and much more. The trick in this day and age is to dance between the old story of following the institutions and the new.... that of individual action as a part of a community of life. It's a balance between maintaining some form of independence and of having to deal and be dealt with by institutions.
In addition to maintaining your sanity, independence is also an issue of physical survival. As institutions become increasingly dysfunctional, it will be increasingly important to distinguish between institutional requirements and institutional options. As institutions eventually fall down of their own weight, individuals need to be able to recognize when to get out of the way. Start practicing now by exercising your options.
It's easier to take independent action if you are not caught up in the old stories. Here's a story that illustrates what I'm talking about. There was a monkey and there was a cage. The monkey was outside the cage but there was a banana inside the cage. The monkey wanted the banana. The bars of the cage were set just far enough apart that the monkey was able to slip its hand between the bars and grasp the banana, but when the monkey's hand grasped the banana it was like making a fist and the monkey's hand had become bigger in order to grasp the banana. When the monkey tried to pull its hand and the banana out, the bars were close enough to trap the clutching hand of the monkey. As long as the monkey grasped the banana, it was trapped and it was free to go at any time.
We are that monkey and our industrialized society with all of its conveniences, modern lifestyle and all the trimmings, is the banana. We are having a bit of trouble letting go and so we are stuck. That is the predicament we are in. Community action and being with others in service are the best ways I've found to let go of the banana. Stay tuned for more.