Using My Time Machine To Introduce "Power Posing" To Ashurbanipal
With my cursory knowledge of pop psychology and the ongoing replication crisis, and Ashurbanipal’s iron control over the kingdoms of Babylon, Assyria, Sumer, and Akkad, there is no telling how high we might rise. I dial the year 648 BCE into my time machine, hoping to catch Ashurbanipal just after crushing the rebellion of his elder brother Šamaš-šuma-ukin at the siege of Babylon. Success! There he is, the King of the Four Corners of the World, Master of Animals, Lord of Ninevah, the great king, the mighty king, viceroy of Babylon, king of Assyria, king of Kish, favorite of Marduk, šarru ša ina kullat mātāti māḫiri lā īšû, absolutely fantastic.1
To him I say: “Mighty king, could a series of small postural adjustments actually make a person feel more powerful in a stressful situation?”
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“Ru’tu,” answers King Ashurbanipal. “Pīrī ina ru-ti addi.”2
I nodded in a single perfect gesture which denotes complete understanding. “I would be skeptical in your position, too, sir. You’re a cautious man, and I respect that. You didn’t rise to the kingship of all Assyria and her vassals by rashly adopting whatever recommendations turn up in Forbes’ biannual report on the four cornerstones of the emotionally intelligent handshake. O man favored of Ashur, know that researchers from the Harvard School of Business Gestures studied whether these postural adjustments, or ‘power poses,’ could produce positive psychological, behavioral, and hormonal outcomes. And I’m happy to be able to be the first to tell you that their experiments revealed the answer to be, yes. The everyday implications are readily apparent, with all manner of stressful interactions like job interviews, presentations, important meetings, warfare etcetera, likely to be positively affected by such knowledge. Are you ready to bring your boldest self to your biggest challenges?”
“Ēma bēlī išapparanni allakma ru-HI-ti allut,” he said.3
He was a quick learner. In no time at all I’d taken him through the basics (the Wonder Woman, the Superman, the Loomer, Anime, the Performer, Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, the CEO, the Geena Davis, Elvis at the White House), the advanced (Contrapposto, Handbra, Big Spoon, Dr. Manhattan on Mars, Sparrow face, Taking off your motorcycle helmet to reveal you’re actually a beautiful woman), and the Dark Triad (Bud Dwyer, Hello Youtube, Lazarus Reflex).
“Ru’ūtu,” he said after we had finished.4
“You feel it, right?” I said. “Increased expansiveness, openness, receptivity to new ideas, high-volume blood flow, decrease in cortisol, increased risk tolerance, higher free testosterone levels, improvement in jaw mobility, greater levels of manganese and nickel in the blood, better saliva quality, real-world actionable implications, greater pain tolerance, increase in perceived likeability and self-esteem, higher scores on the smile index, squarer handshake?”
He absolutely did.
I didn’t stop there. I shared the secrets of power posing with the Nubian Pharaohs of the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, with Piye and Shebitku, with Deioces of the Medes, with Humban-haltash III of Elam, with Nabopolassar of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, with Gyges of Lydia, with the Cimmerians, with Tullus Hostilius of Proto-Rome, with Teïspes of Anshan, Rusa II, Senkamanisken of Kush, and Galaurus of the Illyrians and more. I taught them all, and I didn’t forget to include neutral controls. I called it “Chariot Confidence,” and it worked every time. It worked so well that everyone ended up taking turns as the king of Assyria and the Four Corners of the Universe, even me.
And I warned them about the dangers of seed oil while I was at it, and that’s why everybody’s teeth are so straight and healthy today.
“King who has no equal in all of the lands.”
“Pitfall,” “Thirty elephants I cast into a pitfall.”
“I go where my lord sends me and swallow my saliva.”
“Friendship” or “temple service obligation of kezertu-women.”