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Introducing issue 53: The future of power
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Pass it on
I'm reading
Introducing issue 53: The future of power
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Introducing issue 53: The future of power
Pass it on
Pass it on
Articles
2 November 2017

Introducing issue 53: The future of power

Inside this issue we speak to influential people who draw upon their innate power for the greater good.

Written by Nathan Scolaro

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

Dear Reader,

The idea of power has never sat well with me. In my mind, it’s been equated with many of the atrocities our world has seen: slavery, war, deforestation, oil spills. It’s been about having control in a relationship, limiting the freedom of another person or group, speaking loudly with absolute conviction. Power, for me, has been the ugly side of human nature, completely self-serving and pandering to the ego. Whenever I sense this kind of dynamic at play, I recoil and go inward, unable to bring my most useful self to a situation.

Over the past year, however, as my work at Dumbo Feather has deepened, I’ve found myself using the word “power” in a different way. I’ll say it when I see someone creating opportunities for others, or asking questions that help a person feel more connected to their experience. I’ll say it when a team is working in flow, when a leader changes their mind for the greater good, and when a couple is speaking honestly with one another about a difficulty in their relationship. Power, in this sense, is something we draw on to improve a situation. It’s something all of us innately have, not something we fight to obtain.

Each person in this issue of Dumbo Feather has recognised and connected with their power, and used it to break free from the constraints their society has placed on them. In doing so, they’ve liberated others, and given them pathways to connect with their own purpose and potential. Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang is leading the way with her radically open-book approach to meetings and politics. She’s working tirelessly to build a more transparent government—one that the citizens of Taiwan can form a dialogue with, and ultimately trust.

Photography by Sean Marc Lee

Our cover star Ronni Kahn is the force behind food rescue operation OzHarvest and one of the world’s first free supermarkets. For her, generosity is power, with far-reaching ripple effects that could just save us from our one-track, self-seeking ways.

Photography by Toby Burrows

Undoubtedly the greatest damage done by traditional systems of power has been the oppression of the feminine. The rise to the top has meant denying a vital source of human strength and communication: our ability to empathise, to show compassion, to be seen as complex but ultimately interdependent beings. Joel Solomon is an impact investor consciously bringing these values into business—redefining how we think about money so that we can experience the world as a more generative, loving place.

Photography by Grant Harder

Winnie Byanyima is a human rights leader who emerged from the tyranny of dictatorship in Uganda to develop a highly-tuned understanding of the feminine and the importance of holistic leadership.

Photography by Siddharth Khajuria

Most eccentric in his effort to escape all human constructs of power—and yet enormously illuminating—English naturalist Charles Foster made several attempts at living as an animal. He got on all fours, ate earthworms, lived in burrows, snarled; he reconnected with the animal parts of himself. What Charles reminds me is that power exists in relationships. We’ve spent centuries putting up walls and building a culture of separateness, freeing ourselves from our responsibility to one another and the earth. And it’s made it easier to destroy.

Photography by Elmore

The way I’m coming to think about power now is how we make it easier to create—how we honour that fact that we are all connected and have a role to play in building a world for everyone. The future of power might still be about our ability to influence, but it’s more about our ability to influence consciously, so we can bring out the best in one another, and in turn enjoy the deeper delights of making a lasting contribution.

Enjoy meeting these five powerful people.

With love,

Nathan

Nathan Scolaro

Nathan enjoys getting elbow-deep in sentences, pressing and pricking them like a Chinese doctor until the blood is flowing just right. He hails from Western Australia, where he first experienced the joy of putting together a magazine, and now indulges his love of thoughtful, life-giving storytelling by bringing Dumbo Feather to life once a quarter.

Image by Manon Beauchamp-Tardieu

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