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Power and Institutional Change


What are they?

“Long-held customs or practices.” “Organizations founded on religious, educational, social or cultural beliefs for a purpose…..to promote a cause.”

Society is held together by institutions. People rally around commonly held beliefs and values. But, enter even one question, one challenge, and a threat to these emerges: change.

Changes made outside of one’s own realm of power can be gut-wrenching when they directly impact what one has been lulled into thinking are necessary institutions in one’s own life. People scramble for power over such institutions and, in these times, leaving valuable individuals in their wake is of less and less consequence.

If you have been left in such a wake, it can really do a number on your sense of self-worth, your perception of your relative worth, and your perception of the relative worth of everything you have been born to, worked toward and achieved. You can be made to feel like a casualty. Putting the inevitable anxiety all this causes “into a box” takes it out of your body to a place where such havoc can no longer be wreaked on either your soul or your psyche. Naming the cause, and then dispensing with it, also removes your toxic connection to those who have been party to it. You can begin, anew, and maintain a neutral position with all entities. No one person, place, or thing has power over your life but you and your God. Relinquishing the errant belief that the power rests anywhere else is the truest freedom.

Meantime, there are those who put all their trust in institutions. These are they who grasp after preserving them, at all costs. Fear drives the belief that without them, society will collapse and, with it, everything invested. And, such fear is driven by another belief, one which errantly teaches that society defines us as individuals. Certain political ideologies come to mind, here. But, a durable society must be populated by strong and fearless individuals.

Granted, as soon as institutions are threatened, catastrophe is imminent. Casualties are possible. But, catastrophe is defined as major change. Don’t die just because some outside source with its own agenda has dispensed with you. Weather the upheaval. Personal rebirth can be a glorious thing.

Ruth Scanzillo

Ruth Ann Scanzillo is a free-lance professional cellist/pianist, early-retired public school K-12 music teacher, visual artist, and avocational whistleblower.


  1. Kurt Bogle February 3, 2019

    I agree 100% with Ruth. No sain person should be defined or for that matter ruled over by institutions that are ment to serve us.
    It is our responsibility to make sure these institutions either serve us, or that thay no longer exist. The Capitalists system is a prime example of that. Its time to end the monitary system and create a system that serves the needs of the people, not just the greed of the few.

    1. Ruth Ann Scanzillo February 5, 2019

      Thank you, Kurt. I am planning to expand this piece at my personal blog, to explore further how power has seized institutions in an attempt to control their influence over the citizenry. At one time, our institutions were put in place to PRESERVE that which had been determined to be good, and true, and nourishing to society; now, what has become of them? Administrated, corrupted, exploited. And, we used to depend on them, for security. This is why there is such a collective angst amongst the people; most don’t realize why they feel so anxious and uneasy. But, it is because of the disconnect between the people and the institutions which, as you say, no longer serve us. Instead of being rocks and anchors, they are becoming behemoths, and monsters.

  2. Ruth Ann Scanzillo February 5, 2019

    p.s. to the above (by the author/natch), to edit: “This is why there is such a collective angst. Most don’t realize why they feel so anxious, so uneasy; but, the cause is this disconnect between the people and their institutions which, as you say, no longer serve them. Instead of rocks, anchors, they are become monsters.”


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