Whenever someone says to me that they believe in a higher power, I squirm inwardly. Why should this be so? Am I not post-secular enough to respect such a general invocation for its potential individual substance?
The squirm is, I admit, is initially a rebuke of the phrase’s voracious use by celebrities.
Invoking a higher power seems to be a requisite keyword for film premiere red carpets, Rolling Stone interviews, and Grammy Award speeches, a signal from the famous speaker that however mega they might become, they too submit to something (something ephemerally awesome, something that always seems quite focused on the success of their particular starry lives). “I’m very close with my higher power. I have a very strong connection with it,” explains Black Eyed Peas lead singer Fergie. “I believe in a higher power. I believe in inspiration,” explains pop queen Janet Jackson. “My trust in a higher power that wants me to survive and have love in my life, is what keeps me moving forward,” explains Footloose crooner Kenny Loggins. Talk of a higher power in this sense seems only to draw attention to the media height of the speaker, and to the beneficence they receive from whoever might be further up Olympus.