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.