The Group Monthly: The Most Powerful People on Earth
Mentoring support for word, image and performance arts
We are often told on News and Current Affairs programmes that the President of the United States of America is THE most powerful man in the world. This is assumed, because of the financial and military clout of the nation and is not measured by compassionate health-care policies or environmentally friendly development plans.
In times past, during the deep freeze of the Cold War, the Communist Regimes in Russia and Poland knew who the most powerful people on earth were. When the censors tried to control the output of filmmakers like Andrei Tarkovsky and Krzysztof Kieslowski, they understood the power of the artist. It was not power to control, not the power of domination, but the power to win, to capture the heart and imagination of ‘their’ people. Whilst it is true, the KGB had decided to take action against Tarkovsky and assassinate him through the long-drawn process of poisoning, it may appear that they had this thing we call power (and the illusion is that they won the day).
However, despite the best efforts of the Soviet Regimes, the ‘word’ still got out.
Laurie Hutzler has this to say about the most powerful people on earth:
I believe the stories we tell ourselves and tell each other have the power to change who we are. If you want to change your relationship with someone, then you have to change the story. Stories can change lives. Before we can become something we have to imagine how to do that and then construct a narrative that makes the change possible…storytellers are the most powerful people on earth because they have the power to move the human heart. There is no greater power. You cannot move hearts by relying on plot mechanics. You have to illuminate what exactly it is to be truly and fully human— how we fall short and how we reach up and touch the stars.
Hutzler, Laurie (2012-04-02). How to Evaluate Stories (Kindle Locations 411-416). Laurie H. Hutzler. Kindle Edition.
We are part of the greatest story ever told. It is not a story which leads to Disneyland where our every whim is met by a self-service God called Walt. It is not the story of a cheap and quick redemption, but of a presence that leads us through the wilderness paths as we realise our callings as artists; as we break ourselves open and pour out our lives to an audience of disenfranchised and marginalised people; the very people the most powerful in the world have forgotten. With great power…comes amnesia, allegedly! Whilst the politicians preach inclusiveness, they exclude many on the basis of skin-tone and bank balance.
The story we have to tell is the most embracing, empowering and redemptive of them all, but to tell this story we cannot rely on ‘plot mechanics’, of triumphalist self-interest or the power play ‘mission statements’ of spiritual institutions. We have to tell an honest story of our fallibilities, our limitations and burdens to reveal a humanity that is loved and cherished by The One and Only.
An image from Tarkovsky’s ‘Stalker’
We have to change the dominant and demoralising story of our day and this cannot be achieved through reducing the medium of our calling to basic ‘plot mechanics’; the introduction of symbols and using scripture as a magic spell to save the world. After all, this is not “Harry Potter and the Holy Grail”, it is life, it is love, it is peace and it is grace which informs our artistry. The word, the image or the movement has to be made flesh and live amongst us, if we want to change that story and ‘move the human heart’.
Peace and Love to you all,