I have said before, and I will keep saying until the strangeness of it starts to fade in about ten years, Alan Rickman is my higher power.

One question that might occur to a sensible person is whether Alan Rickman actually possesses attributes and abilities sufficient even to qualify for possible higher power status.

I feel obliged to investigate this, because if there is one thing that gets under my skin more than people who think mere assertion and certitude are enough to establish truth and falsity, I don’t know what it is.

Excepting George W. Bush. As far as getting under my skin, that man… Let’s put it this way, whether or not I’m right about Alan Rickman being my higher power, I absolutely am certain who my devil is and I absolutely am certain he possesses attributes and abilities sufficient to qualify for this Office.

Here are a few traditional attributes and abilities (more formally known as Perfections) of higher powers off the top of my head:

  1. Creator (of something really big, like the Universe and all contained within it)
  2. Immortal
  3. Eternal (actually different from Immortal. If you don’t believe me, you’ll have to wait for it.)
  4. All-knowing
  5. All-powerful
  6. All-good
  7. All-loving
  8. Omni-benevolent (actually different from All-loving–more patience required.)
  9. Attended by various saints, cherubs and angels
  10. I wish I could come up with a tenth traditional off the cuff, because no one likes stopping at nine. I’m going to add something that I think must be considered a serious oversight of the usual list: All-humorous. (That is, possessed of a flexible and generous capacity for humor about everything, always.)
  11. I thought of a tenth traditional that will probably sound strange to modern ears, but it used to be considered The Perfection-To-Beat-All-Perfections: possessed of existence.

I just thought of a few items that should have occurred to me earlier, but that didn’t because it’s questionable whether they are Perfections.

Even so, they are so commonly found where-ever higher powers gather that I think they must be included. So here they are:

Claims Higher Power status. Has devoted followers. Demands (enjoys?) being prayed to and worshipped and believed in.

Contacts followers in particular ways, such as revelation and burning bushes. Has a complex nature (metaphysical structure). Produces miracles.

May bestow certain favors to the favored. May be a means for followers to change selves for the better. Proscribes special rituals and rites.

Also mandates certain behaviors and prohibits others. Gives guidelines for the types of goals we should have in life and how to achieve them.

Provides some information about what may happen to us after we die (“where we might go”). Judges us after death and sends us off to the place we deserve.

So, there you have it, in case you’d ever wondered, this is what is meant by a higher power.

It’s not an exhaustive list, by any means, of course. But then I did say it was off the top of my head.

I’ll be looking into other people’s lists in order to make sure my list ends up being as complete as I feel like making it.

You might have noticed a Christian slant. You’re being too wide. It’s a Catholic slant. As a lapsed Catholic, I ought to know.

Is it fair of me to employ my Catholic background in compiling the above list of Perfections?

I think so.

We have to start from where we are (or, in my case, where I was). This initial prejudice on my part will not prevent me, however, from discussing Papally-unapproved attributes and abilities, like humor, eventually.

I have a long road ahead of me. But as this is a serious issue, perhaps the most serious issue facing any mortal, I’m committing myself to walking it.


Dear AR,

Please grant me the strength and fortitude necessary to demonstrate that you could be a higher power and, therefore, you might be one. Namely, my higher power.