Considerations of Power
The following is a reflection on the Lederach text on how power influences our lives. From this article, we learn the connections between culture and identity, culture and history; hence, we are able to conceptualize new realities. In doing so, we take up James Myers’ challenge to think beyond the cultural limitations. Roberto Chene questions the problem of human diversity, and discovers that the key issue lies not in the difference but the domination. Thus, it is evident that the invisible power of inequality brews conflicts that are within us. I understand power as the ability to influence other people or to take control of a situation. Power has many forms: the Akamba people believe in a supernatural power called kithitu that punishes evil deeds. In this regard, I tend to disagree, since only God has the power to punish (Truijillo, 2008).
Words have power; they act as catalysts by pushing us to follow instructions. Furthermore, they either break or make, for example, when praised we feel happy, and when we are abused we feel low. On seeing a word or hearing it, minds have the ability to form concrete objects or recall certain concepts. The underlying ideas here are that strong images when used well enough, whether appropriate or awful, tattoo an idea or a product in the minds of the public. A good example of this fact is how the Indians are described. According to the writings of Christopher Columbus for travel journals, religious tract, popular novels and even academic writing, Indians are innocent, savage, stupid and untrustworthy. In the same light, when we see expensive vehicles we associate them with the rich (Truijillo, 2008).
Wilderness to the Indians was home but to the Americans who came from Europe it was unsafe. Therefore for them to settle there they had to tame it. It is wrong for Europeans to refer to the land as wild; instead they can use a term like well managed environment. This is because the Indians and the forefathers were living in it. This is reflective in the manner we view new things; we try to identify them with what we know, hence, exercising power over them.
From the book we get advice that it is necessary to know our culture but we should also try and learn the cultures of those who surround us, thereby learning to appreciate others and living in harmony with them (Truijillo, 2008).
In conclusion, it is evident that we have the power within us to change what we do not want to be around us, to conform to the surroundings and solve the conflicts we create. This is only possible if we take a step back; analyze where the problem lies, trap the power and channel positively towards resolution.
Truijillo, M. (2008). Re-centering culture and knowledge in conflict resolution practice. New York: Syracuse University Press.