Power: A Radical View


FOTCM Member
I've been reading a really interesting book entitled "Power: A Radical View" by Steven Lukes. I'm not putting this in the books section of the forum because I find that this book articulates clearly many of the things we talk about here on the forum both in terms of psychology AND "conspiracy theory" not to forget sociological conditions that encompass both of those things. Obviously, it has some strong connections to Political Ponerology not to mention studies of Authoritarian personality types and the workings of the Adaptive Unconscious. I'd like to share some excerpts and ideas from the book and encourage those of you who are interested to pick up a copy and take a look yourselves.

Lukes, in his intro writes (bold text is my enhancement):

Thirty years ago I published a small book entitled "Power: A Radical View" (hereafter PRV). It was a contribution to an ongoing debate, mainly among American political scientists and sociologists, about an interesting question: how to think about power theoretically and how to study it empirically. But underlying that debate another question was at issue: how to characterize American politics - as dominated by a ruling elite or as exhibiting pluralist democracy - and it was clear that answering the second question required an answer to the first. My view was, and is, that we need to think about power broadly rather than narrowly - in three dimensions rather than one or two - and that we need to attend to those aspects of power that are least accessible to observation: that, indeed, power is at its most effective when least observable.

He quotes "The Power Elite" by C. Wright Mills (1956):

The powers of ordinary men are circumscribed by the everyday worlds in which they live, yet even in these rounds of job, family and neighborhood they often seem driven by forces they can neither understand nor govern. (p. 3)

But all men, Mills continued, 'are not in this sense ordinary':

As the means of information and of power are centralized, some men come to occupy positions in American society from which they can look down upon, so to speak, and by their decisions mightily affect, the everyday worlds of ordinary men and women... they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. Whether they do or do not make such decisions is less important than the fact that they do occupy such pivotal positions: their failure to act, their failure to make decisions, is itself an act that is often of greater consequence than the decisions they do make. For they are in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society. They run the big corporations. They run the machinery of state and claim its prerogatives. The7y direct the military establishment. They occupy the strategic command posts of the social structure, in which are now centered the effective means of the power and the wealth and the celebrity which they enjoy. (pp. 3-4)

He then goes on to discuss the fact that this book by Mills raised the issue among social scientists and the race was sort of on to find a way to really study power empirically and how they set about doing it. Obviously, the authoritarian follower type of social scientists were soon engaged in working to explain things away and how they go about doing this is an interesting study itself. Just reading it sharpens the brain for cutting through BS arguments that some people come up with. Lukes then writes a bit about his own contribution to the discourse, PRV, published in the middle of this war of ideas, some 30 years ago:

PRV was a very small book, yet it generated a surprisingly large amount of comment, much of it critical, from a great many quarters, both academic and political. It continues to do so, and that is one reason that has persuaded me to yield to its publisher's repeated requests to republish it together with a reconsideration of its arguments and, more widely, of the rather large topic it takes on. ....

There are two subsequent chapters. The first of these (Chapter 2) broadens the discussion... {it} begins by asking whether, in the face of unending disagreements about how to define it and study it, we need the concept of power at all and, if we do, what we need it for - what role it plays in our lives. I argue that these disagreements matter because how much power you see in the social world and where you locate it depends on how you conceive of it, and these disagreements are in part moral and political, and inescapably so. ... it concerns power over another or others and, more specifically still, power as domination. PRV focuses on this and asks: how do the powerful secure the compliance of those they dominate - and, more specifically, how do they secure their willing compliance? ...

Chapter 3 defends and elaborates PRV's answer to the question, but only after indicating some of its mistakes and inadequacies. It was a mistake to define power by 'saying that A exercises power over B when A affects B in a manner contrary to B's interests'. Power is a capacity not the exercise of that capacity (it may never be, and never need to be, exercised); and you can be powerful by satisfying and advancing others' interests: PRV's topic, power as domination, is only one species of power. Moreover, it was inadequate in confining the discussion to binary relations between actors assumed to have unitary interests, failing to consider the ways in which everyone's interests are multiple, conflicting and of different kinds. The defence consists in making the case for the existence of power as the imposition of internal constraints. Those subject to it are led to acquire beliefs and form desires that result in their consenting or adapting to being dominated, in coercive and non-coercive settings. ... Both John Stuart Mill's account of the subjection of Victorian women and the work of Pierre Bourdieu on the acquisition and maintenance of 'habitus' appeal to the workings of power, leading those subject to it to see their condition as 'natural' and even to value it, and to fail to recognize the sources of their desires and beliefs. These and other mechanisms constitute power's third dimension when it works against people's interests by misleading them, thereby distorting their judgment....

The One-Dimensional View of Power

The next thing Lukes does is show how the authoritarian types mislead the discourse in their one-dimensional view of power that is based only on observable behavior, overt decision making. That is:

A has power over B to the extent that he dan get B to do something that B would not otherwise do. ("The Concept of Power" Dahl, 1957)

The focus on observable behaviour in identifying power involves the pluralists in studying decision-making as their central task. Thus for Dahl power can be analysed only after 'careful examination of a series of concrete decisions.' ...

... argues that identifying 'who prevails in decision-making' seems 'the best way to determine which individuals and groups have "more" power in social life, because direct conflict between actors presents a situation most closely approximating an experimental test of their capacities to affect outcomes'. ... it is assumed that the 'decisions' involve 'direct', i.e. actual and observable, conflict. Thus Dahl maintains that one can only strictly test the hypothesis of a ruling class if there are '... cases involving key political decisions in which the preferences of the hypothetical ruling elite run counter to those of any other likely group that might be suggested', and '... in such cases, the preferences of the elite regularly prevail'. The pluralists {those who basically deny that there is a ruling elite} speak of the decisions being about issues ... the assumption again being that such issues are controversial and involve actual conflict. ...

...the pluralists see their focus on behaviour in the making of decisions over key or important issues as involving actual, observable conflict. ... he even writes that a 'rough test of a person's overt or covert influence is the frequency with which he successfully initiates an important policy over the opposition of others, or vetoes policies initiated by others, or initiates a policy where no opposition appears.' ...

Conflict, according to that view, is assumed to be crucial in providing an experimental test of power attributions: without it the exercise of power will, it seems to be thought, fail to show up. What is the conflict between? The answer is: between preferences, that are assumed to be consciously made, exhibited in actions, and thus to be discovered by observing people's behaviour. ... a conflict of interests is equivalent to a conflict of preferences. They are opposed to any suggestion that interests might be unarticulated or unobservable, and above all, to the idea that people might actually be mistaken about, or unaware of, their own interests.

...the presumption that the 'real' interests of a class can be assigned to them by an analyst allows the analyst to charge 'false class consciousness' when the class in question disagrees with the analyst. (Polsby 1963)

Thus I conclude that this first, one-dimensional, view of power involves a focus on behaviour in the making of decisions on issues over which there is an observable conflict of (subjective) interests, seen as express policy preferences, revealed by political participation.

The Two-Dimensional View of Power

Along come some other social scientists, Bachrach and Baratz, who argue that the one-dimensional view is misleading and makes everything appear to be above-board and politically open to pluralism (democracy, everybody having some input, and the majority rules). Lukes reports that they say:

..power has two faces. The first face is that already considered, according to which 'power is totally embodied and fully reflected in "concrete decisions" or in activity bearing directly upon their making'. (1970) As they write:

Of course power is exercised when A participates in the making of decisions that affect B. Power is also exercised when A devotes his energies to creating or reinforcing social and political values and institutional practices that limit the scope of the political process to public consideration of only those issues which are comparatively innocuous to A. To the extent that A succeeds in doing this, B is prevented, for all practical purposes, from bringing to the fore any issues that might in their resolution be seriously detrimental to A's set of preferences.

Their 'cental point' is this: 'to the extent that a person or group - consciously or unconsciously - creates or reinforces barriers to the public airing of policy conflicts, that person or group has power', and they cite Schatteschneider's famous and often-quoted words:

All forms of political organizations have a bias in favour of the exploitation of some kinds of conflict and the suppression of others, because organizations is the mobilization of bias. Some issues are organized into politics while others are organized out. (1960)

... mobilization of bias is...

a set of predominant values, beliefs, rituals, and institutional procedures (rules of the game) that operate systematically and consistently to the benefit of certain persons and groups at the expense of others. Those who benefit are placed in a preferred position to defend and promote their vested interests. More often than not, the 'status quo defenders' are a minority or elite group within the population in question. Elitism, however, is neither foreordained nor omnipresent: as opponents of the war in Viet Nam can readily attest, the mobilization of bias can and frequently does benefit a clear majority.

Lukes breaks down and discusses this perspective, pointing out that it includes the first kind of power, and adds another dimension: coercion, influence, authority, force and manipulation.

Coercion, as we have seen, exists where A secures B's compliance by the threat of deprivation... Influence exists where A, 'without resorting to either a tacit or an overt threat of severe deprivation, causes B to change his course of action. In a situation involving authority, 'B complies because he recognises that A's command is reasonable in terms of his own values' either because its content is legitimate and reasonable or because it has been arrived at through a legitimate and reasonable procedure. In the case of force, A achieves his objectives in the face of B's noncompliance by stripping him of the choice between compliance and noncompliance. And manipulation is, thus, an 'aspect' or sub-concept of force (and distinct from coercion, influence and authority), since here 'compliance is forthcoming in the absence of recognition on the complier's part either of the source or the exact nature of the demand upon him'.

The central thrust of Bachrach and Baratz's critique of the pluralists' one-dimensional view of power is, up to a point, anti-behavioural: that is, they claim that it 'unduly emphasises the importance of initiating, decideing, and vetoiing' and, as a result, takes 'no account of the fact that power may be, and often is, exercised by confining the scope of decision-making to relatively "safe" issues. ... they do insist ... that nondecisons which confine the scope of decision-making are themselves (observable) decisions. ...

A satisfactory analysis, then, of two-dimensional power involves examing both decision-making and nondecision-making. ... nondecision-making is 'a means by which demands for change in the existing allocation of benefits and privileges in the community can be suffocated before they are even voiced; or kept covert; or killed before they gain access to the relevant decision-making arena; or, failing all these things, maimed or destroyed in the decision-implementing stage of the policy process. ...

Bachrach and Baratz are, in effect, redefining the boundaries of what is to count as a political issue. For the pluralists those boundaries are set by the political system being observed, or rather by the elites within it: as Dahl writes, 'a political issue can hardly be said to exist unless and until it commands the attention of a significant segment of the political stratum'. (1961) The observer then picks out certain of these issues as obviously important or 'key' and analyses decision-making with respect to them. For Bachrach and Baratz, by contrast, it is crucially important to identify potential issues which nondecision-making prevents from being actual. ...

Despite this crucial difference with the pluralists, Bachrach and Baratz's analysis has one significant feature in common with theirs: namely, the stress on actual, observable conflict, overt or covert. Just as the pluralists hold that power in decision-making only shows up where there is conflict, Bachrach and Baratz assume the same to be true in cases of nondecision-making. They they write that if 'there is no conflict, overt or covert, the presumption must be that there is consensus on the prevailing allocation of values, in which case nondecision-making is impossible'. ... If 'there appears to be universal acquiescence in the status quo', then it will not be possible 'to determine empirically whether the consensus is genuine or instead has been enforced through nondecision-making' - and they rather quaintly add that 'analysis of this problem is beyond the reach of a political analyst and perhaps can only be fruitfully analysed by a philosopher'.

... So I conclude that the two-dimensional view of power involves a qualified critique of the behavioural focus of the first view... and it allows for consideration of the ways in which decisions are prevented from being taken on potential issues over which there is an observable conflict of (subjective) interests seen as embodied in express policy preferences and sub-political grievances.

The Three-Dimensional View of Power

There is no doubt that the two-dimensional view of power represents a major advance over the one-dimensional view: it incorporates into the analysis of power relations the question of the control over the agenda of politics and of the ways in which potential issues are kept out of the political process. Nonetheless, it is, in my view, inadequate on three counts.

In the first place... it is still too committed to behaviourism - that is, to the study of overt, 'actual behavior', of which 'concrete decisions' in situations of conflict are seen as paradigmatic. ... it gives a misleading picture of the ways in which individuals and, above all, groups and institutions succeed in excluding potential issues from the political process. Decisions are choices consciously and intentionally made by individuals between alternatives, whereas the bias of the system can be mobilized, recreated and reinforced in ways that are neither consciously chosen nor the intended result of particular individuals' choices. ... the domination of defenders of the status quo may be so secure and pervasive that they are unaware of any potential challengers to their position and thus of any alternatives to the existing political process, whose bias they work to maintain.

...There are two separable cases here. First, there is the phenomenon of collective action, where the policy or action of a collectivity (whether a group, class, institution, political part or corporation) is manifest, but not attributable to particular individuals' decisions or behaviour. Second, there is the phenomenon of 'systemic' or organization effects, where the mobilization bias results... from the form of organization. ... As Marx succinctly put it, 'Men make their own history but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.'

The second count on which the two-dimensional view of power is inadequate is in its association of power with actual, observable conflict. ... On Bachrach and Baratz's own analysis, two of the types of power may not involve ... conflict: namely, manipulation and authority - which they conceive as 'agreement based upon reason' though elsewhere they speak of it as involving a 'possible conflict of values'.

... it is highly unsatisfactory to suppose that power is only exercised in situations of such conflict. To put the matter sharply, A may exercise power over B by getting him to do what he does not want to do, but he also exercises power over him by influencing, shaping or determining his very wants. Indeed, is it not the supreme exercise of power to get another or others to have the desires you want them to have - that is, to secure their compliance by controlling their thoughts and desires? One does not have to go to the lengths of talking about "Brave New World", or the world of B. F. Skinner, to see this: thought control takes many less total and more mundane forms through the control of information, through the mass media and through the processes of socialization. ...

Consider the picture of the rule of the 'patricians' in the early nineteenth century: 'The elite seems to have possessed that most indispensable of all characteristics in a dominant group - the sense, shared not only by themselves but by the populace, that their claim to govern was legitimate'. ... leaders ... 'do not merely respond to the preferences of constituents; leaders also shape preferences'. ...'Almost the entire adult population has been subjected to some degree of indoctrination through the schools.

{...to suppose that because power, as the pluralists conceptualize it} only shows up in cases of actual conflict, it follows that actual conflict is necessary to power. But this is to ignore the crucial point that the most effective and insidious use of power is to prevent such conflict from arising in the first place.

The third count on which the two-dimensional view of power is inadequate is closely linked to the second: namely, its insistence that nondecision-making power only exists where there are grievances which are denied entry into the political process in the form of issues. If the observer can uncover no grievances, then he must assume there is a 'genuine' consensus on the prevailing allocation of values. To put this another way, it is here assumed that if people feel no grievances, then they have no interests that are harmed by the use of power. This is also highly unsatisfactory. In the first place, what, in any case, is a grievance - an articulated demand, based on political knowledge, an undirected complaint arising out of everyday experience, a vague feeling of unease or sense of deprivation? Second, is it not the supreme and most insidious exercise of power to prevent people, to whatever degree, from having grievances by shaping their perceptions, cognitions and preferences in such a way that they accept their role in the existing order of things, either because they can see or imagine no alternative to it, or because they see it as natural and unchangeable, or because they value it as divinely ordained and beneficial? To assume that the absence of grievance equals genuine consensus is simply to rule out the possibility of false or manipulated consensus by definitional fiat.


Dagobah Resident
I think the three-dimensional view of power sounds similar to how Alex Carey viewed power in his book Taking the Risk out of Democracy: Propaganda in the US and Australia (1995).

From Chapter 2 - The Early Years:
The 20th century has been characterised by three developments of great political importance. The growth of democracy; the growth of corporate power; and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy. [. . .] It remains, as ever, an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is distinctive of totalitarian regimes. Yet the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not). It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.
From Chapter 8 - The Orwell Diversion:
The communist craze has been created and sustained for so long that we are in danger of believing in it - believing for instance, that we should take George Orwell's warning about 1984 seriously. Orwell warned that a crude and brutal totalitarianism would come from the left of politics and subvert the liberal democratic freedoms we are all supposed to enjoy. Such a prospect is no more than part of the communist craze of the twentieth century, for while the freedoms of liberal democracy are certainly threatened, the danger has always come from the Respectable Right. It has come in the form of widespread social and political indoctrination, an indoctrination which promotes business interests as everyone's interests and in the process fragments the community and closes off individual and critical thought.

...I believe that George Orwell's warnings about future threats to liberal democracies were largely, even dangerously misconceived. Influenced by Orwell's erroneous views, popular consciousness has been drilled in the expectation that the subversive Left, supported by influences from 'outside' the country, is about to control public and individual thinking. (This is the corporate sponsored narrative which provides the justification needed for managing democracy in the interests of business.) Meantime, the real attack is in stark contrast to Orwell's expectations. It has come, for most of this century, from the Respectable Right. but this actual threat is more or less ignored by the community, for it is vastly sophisticated, appears uncoercive yet is dedicated to corporate interests.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Interesting way to put it as certain way of life/laws from societal observations with out explaining in terms of 'conspiracy' or taking sides. Thank you for sharing.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Whoa! Set up a 'natural and unchangeable' world, and you'll have the basement for the most insidious form of power, the power that 'is at its most effective when least observable'. Like the whole mad job of disguising the celestial intentions?


FOTCM Member
A revealing article on the topic:


How to win the war for your mind

Brandon Smith
Alt Market
Wed, 02 Jan 2013

All battles, all wars, all fistfights and bar brawls, all conflicts in every place and in every time (except those conflicts in which both sides answer to the same puppeteer) begin and end as battles of the mind. No struggle is determined on strength of arms alone. In fact, the technologically advanced adversary with all his fancy firepower is often more vulnerable than his low-tech counterparts. This fact is, of course, counterintuitive to our Western manner of thinking, which teaches us to believe that the man with the bigger gun (or the bigger predator drone) always wins. Sadly, we have had to suffer through multiple defeats and overdrawn occupations in Asia to learn otherwise. One of the great unspoken truths of our era is the reality that the modernization of warfare has changed little the manner in which wars are won. Since the beginning of history, intelligence, force of will, and guiding principles are the dominant factors in any campaign.

Therefore, it only stands to reason that the most vital battle any of us will ever face is the psychological battle, the battle within; for success in the mind will determine success in all other endeavors.

Unfortunately, very few people ever consider the importance of the mind war, let alone know how to defend themselves against psychological attack. As with any method of self-defense, constant training is required.

For the past century, at least in the United States, a subversive and secret cold war has been waged against the people in the form of psychological subjugation. This cold war is designed to weaken our resolve, our heritage, our self-belief, our confidence and our integrity in preparation for a "hot war" against our time-honored Constitutional rights. The power elite know well that the most effective strategy for victory in any battle is to convince your enemy to surrender before the fight even begins. Today, the American populace is being conditioned to lie down and die a mental death, to give up the inner war, so that when the outer war comes, they will already be defeated.

Corrupt governments rely heavily on what they call "psyops," which are primarily propaganda initiatives meant to demoralize their target (usually the citizenry). In the case of a despotic regime, psyops involves the insinuation of lies, half-truths, threats and brutality that is choreographed to elicit a very specific reaction. It is used to instigate strong emotional responses en masse that will work in favor of the oligarchy. The following guidelines can shield you from the arrows of deceit, allowing you to maintain control and avoid being unconsciously influenced to labor against your own cause...

Do Not Fear Hypothetical Dangers

Fear is the weapon of choice when it comes to totalitarian proponents. Conquering armies and bureaucracies are notorious for exaggerating their strength and numbers in order to squelch the fighting spirit of those they intend to rule. Genghis Kahn, for instance, used the tactic of exaggerated numbers, along with vicious genocide, to strike terror in regions he had not yet attempted to overtake. Upon his arrival, the Mongol hordes had received such a reputation (some of it fabricated) that many regions surrendered immediately without question.

When becoming an activist against a criminal establishment, it is very common to be the target of fear campaigns. Today, those of us in the liberty movement hear warnings from "random" concerned parties constantly telling us that our efforts are "all for nothing," that we are "making ourselves targets." That the globalist system is far too strong and far too advanced to be defeated. That they have predator drones and NSA databases and soldiers without empathy etc, etc.

Their hope is to make us afraid of hypothetical situations which can neither be confirmed nor denied. To make us obsess over the "odds" rather than the objective. In other words, they hope to encourage a state of mass cowardice. To undo this tactic, you must remain focused on your goal regardless of the possible danger. That is to say, the strength of the enemy, whether real or fantasy, is irrelevant. It is meaningless. Goliath is nothing but an obstacle, and all obstacles can be dealt with. Move forward toward the objective and never stop.

Do Not Be Distracted By Minor Inconveniences And Personal Problems

At the height of communist power in East Germany, the Stasi secret police deployed a tactic which they called "Zersetzung," which means to "corrode" or "undermine." The Zersetzung policy involved the use of subtle manipulations of a particular person's life in order to interfere with his ability to function normally and participate fully in dissenting activities. The Stasi would send agents to a person's home to rearrange items or fake a break-in. Often, they would attempt to create emotional conflicts between the dissident and his wife, family and friends and to damage business relationships. The purpose was to force the target to divert his attention from his political and social work over to more minor inconveniences.

{On a larger scale, there is a lot of this sort of thing - emotional conflicts - promoted by the alternative media as well. Good examples are the infighting amongst 9-11 researchers and the latest "actors scenario" introduced and spread like wildfire regarding Sandy Hook and Boston.

On the smaller scale, think of Julian Assange and how he was stupidly entrapped thanks to his ego. Somebody with an ego and morals like his is dangerous to everyone around him.}

Personal firestorms, whether engineered by Stasi or by natural conflict, are destructive only when you give them too much credence and attention. Some people become utterly fixated with their own private soap operas, and this weakness is often exploited by government elements.

{An example of trying to wear a person out with "personal firestorms" would be the relentless attack by defamers we have experienced for years now. Add to that the lawsuits, threatened lawsuits, police investigation, FISC audit that is still ongoing, and so forth. They just want to wear you out.}

The truth is, our home lives and the tensions in them are secondary when it comes to defending our principles and our culture against enslavement and oblivion. Woman troubles, family arguments and invasions into our private lives are not important. Only the mission is important; and in the Liberty Movement, our mission is to awaken the public, disrupt the indoctrination of the masses and, if necessary, physically remove the elites from power. Family and friends who get in the way or are manipulated into getting in the way should be ignored.

Do Not Be Seduced By Gifts

Tyrants love to offer gifts to the populace, especially at the onset of their rise to dominance. It may be the promise of new jobs, better infrastructure, free healthcare, more food, more safety or even free cellphones. They may offer payment for provocateuring or snitching. The point is to entice citizens with something for nothing, or at least the lie of something for nothing. If a government official (or anyone else for that matter) is pouring gifts into your lap, it is time to become suspicious.

Governments do not "pay" for the gifts you receive. You pay for the gifts you receive either through taxation or inflation. Free goodies should never influence the mind warrior to endear himself to any bureaucratic or corporate entity. Never allow yourself to be bought. The only treasures worth anything are our individualism and self respect.

{Indeed, there have been many attempts to seduce us away from our principles by gifts. Sometimes those "gifts" are purported access to "inside information". Sometimes it is presented as "help" to achieve the goals. This is why we still maintain the strict policy of working only with reader/member donations, freely given, and we still do not sell advertising on any of our sites. When we do advertise anything or anyone, we do not receive any money for it; it is a favor to someone we respect and whose work is worth promoting.}

Never Trust The Media Machine - Always Verify Information

There is no such thing as "objective journalism" in the mainstream media anymore. What you see and hear is not the truth but a facsimile of the truth, twisted to benefit the establishment alone. Media outlets today do not investigate events. Instead, they obstruct investigation by promoting only one side of every story and attacking anyone who questions their asserted narrative. The "official version" of any news story is almost always a convoluted fabrication that protects the oligarchy from harm.

No one who considers himself an intelligent human being should accept the official narrative at face value. It is important to question always that which we are told and to investigate using independent or original sources. Never allow yourself to be "taught." Always examine the facts on your own. Demand that the establishment mouthpieces provide source information, instead of acting as if we should adopt everything they say on blind faith.

{And since the alternative media is very often a "3rd rank" mouthpiece of the PTB as described in Protocol 12, you have to hold them to high standards also and expect that they will be flooded with disinfo. Again, the most recent example is the "actors scenario" of Sandy Hook and Boston.}

Do Not Concern Yourself With Ridicule

Fighting disinformation is vital, but our personal pride is not important. Safeguarding our egos is not important. Trying to please everyone all the time is impossible and also not important. Ridicule is used not only to discredit activists; it is also used to make them question their own resolve. If you cannot be embarrassed or browbeaten, then you cannot be made afraid and you cannot be defeated by mere words.

Require your opponents to answer your legitimate questions. Move past their distractions and push the issue of tangibility. Make them produce a legitimate argument. When they cannot, and continue to revert to Ad Hominem attacks, they expose the frailty of their position, and you have won.

{We have learned this lesson well from the ongoing defamation we have been subjected to for years now. The problem is, none of our attackers ever deals with the issues, it is always ad hominem ("cult" or "fraud" or whatever) and there has never been any way to make them produce a single legitimate argument. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who are taken in by defamation which, in a sense, reveals their own intellectual and moral weaknesses. A good knowledge of human psychology is an additional advantage in dealing with such conditions with equanimity.}

Accept The Risk Before Confronting The Enemy

I am still amazed by those dissenters and freedom fighters who act as though they are surprised when the potential wrath of the system is directed at them. Did they not understand the risk when entering into the battle? Did they really believe it wouldn't be all that bad?

In any conflict against a larger, ruthless, and immoral opponent, always assume that you will have to go through hell to accomplish anything. Accept that your life will no longer be peaceful or comfortable. Know that you may not survive to see the fruits of your efforts. Realize that you may have to walk through fire and embrace pain. Otherwise, you will remain a pathetic and laughably inadequate soldier in the mind war.

Personal risk is not important. Only the truth and the future are important. Being effective means being "on the radar". If you are making a difference, and you are a concrete threat, then you should expect to have a target painted on your chest.

{This is a big one. So many people think this is a game, that there really is freedom of speech - or any kind of freedom at all - and when they are in the sights of the PTB and experience a real attack, they are shocked. Standing up for truth is very often painful and thankless.}

Understand Your Own Weaknesses

Pretending as if you have no weaknesses is the best way to help your enemy. If you are prideful, your overconfidence will be used against you. If you are spiteful, your jealousy will be exploited to distract you. If you are easily angered, your rage will be used to lure you into destroying yourself. Examine yourself as deeply and as thoroughly as you would the enemy. Though it might sound like a cliché, you actually can become far worse an enemy to your own cause than any army your opponent can muster.

Ironically, by identifying our own limitations, we also can become adept at seeing the weaknesses in others. Unblinded by our own biases, the biases of the opponent become starkly visible.

{This is probably the most important point of all and why The Work on the self is crucial to effecting any change in our reality. The above is a beautiful and succinct way to put it.}

Do Not Buy Into Petty Authority

Perhaps it is in our tribal nature, but many people seem to suffer from an insatiable desire for hierarchy and leadership - even if that leadership is based on falsehoods. The ultimate protection against corruption is to become one's own leader, rather than waiting around for a miraculously infallible overseer (or a talented conman) to guide the way for you. Relying on others to choose your path for you opens the door to having your right to choose removed from the picture completely.

Petty authority is authority derived from false pretenses, rather than earned respect and recognition. No man, regardless of title, is above the truth; and he is certainly not more worthwhile than you. Like a title, a uniform is a symbol of an ideal, but the man inside the uniform may not embrace that ideal. Do not focus on the uniform. Focus on the man, and question whether or not he lives up to the uniform.

If anyone wants to determine whether you go left or right, he should be put to the most stringent tests imaginable. He should have to prove that he has your best interests at heart, and that he has the wisdom to handle your future with care.

{Absolutely! And I would add that a network of trusted givers of feedback is also incredibly crucial because it is way too easy for someone to take the above instructions to heart without having dealt with their own stuff as the previous admonition prescribe.}

Acknowledge The Power Of Symbolism And Myth

Oligarchs use theater and pageantry to influence the collective unconscious because the human mind gravitates toward rituals that feed our inherent need for myth and symbol. Psychologist Carl Jung often referred to the inborn symbolic processes of the psyche as "archetypes," which exist in the art, dreams and spiritualism of every society regardless of time, place, religion or culture. Knowing these universal symbols and how we react to them emotionally allows a person to prevent himself from being conditioned or influenced by them.

Not all fantastic events in history are spontaneous. Some are staged as a means to appeal to a particular side of a nation's collective psyche. These "false flag" actions very often revolve around a symbol that is culturally valued. The construction or destruction of this symbolic edifice, famous person, social mechanism or loved representation of the future leaves a lasting and deep-rooted impression on thousands, if not millions, of people. They become emotionally invested in the event - frantic, fearful or furious - without having the slightest inkling why. In the end, they can be conned into acting in disastrous ways just to appease the inner imbalance. They can be led to war, to enslavement and to death - all on the promise of preventing a myth from appearing or disappearing.

The secret is to explore our inner life with more vigor than we waste on outer fantasy. By discovering our own internal myth and, thus, our own individuality, we make ourselves impervious to false-flag conditioning. Our emotions remain within our control, our biases become non-existent and our fears become irrelevant. We do not become overly attached to images, to superficial expectations, or to the collective. The theater of the mind loses its power; and from that point on, we choose our own destinies.

{Again, The Work is essential to accomplish this.}

Never Forget Your Individualism

Collectivists consistently promote the idea that human beings are empty vessels; blank slates to be molded by the environment, or mere biological machines with rudimentary animal instincts that we "mistake for a soul". As I pointed out above, Carl Jung's work on inborn psychological archetypes proves that we are in fact NOT empty vessels. Each of us is born with common qualities, like conscience and insight, as well as distinctive qualities that make us unique. We are born with dual concepts of good and evil. Right and wrong. Because of this duality, we are given the power to choose. To ignore conscience, or embrace it.

Collectivists pander their blank slate propaganda because they want us to believe that we have no inherent qualities, and therefore, no conscience. They want us to ignore our intuition and adopt moral relativism. For if every man is empty, then there is no right or wrong, and nothing the elites do can be qualified as "criminal". If every man is convinced that he is purely a product of his environment, then he can also be convinced to turn over his free will to those who appear to have the most control over the environment. If he believes he is not in possession of individual determination, then he may assume the role of a robot, waiting to be programmed by the outside world.

This is the ultimate collectivist dream: to become the "great providers and makers" of the masses. To feed us what they like, clothe us in what they like, teach us what they like, and to tell us what we are to think and when we are to think it. They wish to see themselves as the painters, and us as the canvas. Only then, in their minds, will our society reach "perfection".

If mankind loses track of his individuality and accepts the blank slate ideology, he will surrender the mind war, perhaps without even knowing it.

{The above is mostly true. However, the author has not taken into account that the vast majority of human beings are Authoritarian Followers from birth, determined to be that way by their genetics. As Gurdjieff proposed, human beings may only have "potential souls" that have to be crystallized by hard work. And not everyone can do The Work. Most human beings ARE robots by nature, and will submit to the constituted authorities. Thus, what becomes important is the nature of the authorities. Anyone who ignores this factor of reality is missing a huge part of the picture.}

Mind Over Matter

Facing down an adversary with firearms or with fists is an easy thing to grasp. Facing down a lie, or an idea meant to destroy one's mental capacity for resistance, is incredibly complex. When an opponent attempts to play mind games, though, it is a sure sign that he does not have the capacity to thwart you with physical strength alone. The fact that our government and the power structure behind it has so desperately relied on such strategies for so many years shows that they believe they cannot enact centralized authority over our nation and undo our free imperative simply by the momentum of military might. No gun, no matter how big, will get them what they want. So they continue to play the game until our resolve is broken and our ability to fight diminished.

In order to prevail, we must make ourselves immune to the game. We must walk away, separating ourselves from it completely. We must relinquish all unnecessary fear, doubt, and hatred, and do what we know needs to be done. We must ignore the rhetoric of defeat and nihilism. We must take that long solemn step beyond the veil of doubt, knowing that all great men before us fought their own battles despite the so called "certainty of death".

If we cannot take lordship of our own psychological world, we are doomed to failure in every other fight that envelops us. Without impervious will, we cannot overcome, and we cannot find peace.


Jedi Master

Thank you Laura and thank you this network, this is just what I needed to read at this point of my development! :thup:


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Denis said:

Thank you Laura and thank you this network, this is just what I needed to read at this point of my development! :thup:
Laura, thank you as well.
It really helped to clarify and put in perspective why it is so crucially important for me to read the forum and network for my own personal growth.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
What a great summary of what I have been experiencing lately. From work related issues to unsubstantiated claims from government collection agencies. From hackers and thieves to attempted undermining and manipulation by family members and/or 'friends'.

No wonder I so often face depression issues of 'I don't want to be here any more'. Still, I find the will somehow to just go that one more mile and maybe then it will all be over. :rolleyes: I know that one of my greatest weaknesses is sharing and networking about my dilemmas. At least I am aware of that, now I just need to work on it.

Thank you Laura for this immensely helpful and, to me, synchronous post. I will be reading it many more times when a challenge comes along and I need to ground my sanity and responses. :hug2:


Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Thank you Laura for posting this last article on "How to win the war for your mind". I'm not sure how to explain it but for the last couple of months I've been feeling like I was losing the war for my mind. I felt I've been losing the sense of direction, of being distracted, and not able to work on myself. The article was very "timely" and inspiring, and I also will be reading it many more times to help me get back on track. Thank you again, and not only for this article, but for everything you have done for the betterment of all.


FOTCM Member
More from Lukes' book:

One feature which these three views of power share is ... each arises out of and operates within a particular moral and political perspective. ... power is one of those concepts which is ineradicably value dependent. ... its very definition .... and use ... [is] tied to a given set of (probably unacknowledged) value-assumptions...

The absolutely basic common core to, or primitive notion lying behind, all talk of power is the notion that A in some way affects B ... in a non-trivial or significant manner. Clearly we all affect each other in countless ways all the time: the concept of power and the related concepts of coercion, influence, authority, etc., pick out ranges of such affecting as being significant in specific ways. [But this leads to the question]: 'what counts as a significant manner?' or 'what makes A's affecting B significant?'

The three views [defined above] can be seen as alternative interpretations of one and the same underlying concept of power, according to which A exercises power over B when A affects B in a manner contrary to B's interests. There are, however, alternative ... ways of conceptualizing power, involving alternative criteria of significance. ...

... the concept of power elaborated by Talcott Parsons ... seeks to treat power as a specific mechanism operating to bring about changes in the action of other units, individual or collective, in the processes of social interaction. ... He defines power thus:

Power then is generalized capacity to secure the performance of binding obligations by units in a system of collective organization when the obligations are legitimized with reference to their bearing on collective goals and where in case of recalcitrance, there is a presumption of enforcement by negative situational sanctions - whatever the actual agency of that enforcement.

The 'power of A over B is, in its legitimized form, the "right" of A, as a decision -making unit involved in collective process, to make decisions which take precedence over those of B, in the interest of the effectiveness of the collective operation as a whole'.

Parson's conceptualization of power ties it to authority, consensus and the pursuit of collective goals, and dissociates it from conflicts of interest and, in particular, from coercion and force. Thus power depends on 'the institutionalization of authority' and is 'conceived as a generalized medium of mobilizing commitments or obligation for effective collective action'. By contrast, {Parsons says} 'the threat of coercive measures, or of compulsion, without legitimation or justification, should not properly be called the use of power at all...' Thus Parsons criticized Wright Mills for interpreting power 'exclusively as a facility for getting what one group, the holders of power, wants, by preventing another group, the "outs", from getting what it wants', rather than seeing it as 'a facility for the performance of function in and on behalf of the society as a system'.

Consider, secondly, the concept of power as defined by Hannah Arendt:

Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together. When we say of somebody that he is 'in power' we actually refer to his being empowered by a certain number of people to act in their name. The moment the group, from which the power originated to begin with (potestas in populo, without a people or group there is no power), disappears,' his power also vanishes.

It is

...the people's support that lends power to the institutions of a country, and this support is but the continuation of the consent that brought the laws into existence to begin with. Under conditions of representative government the people are supposed to rule those who govern them. All political institutions are manifestations and materializations of power; they petrify and decay as soon as the living power of the people ceases to uphold them. This is what Madison meant when he said 'all governments rest on opinion', a word no less true for the various forms of monarchy than for democracies.

Arendt's way of conceiving power ties it to a tradition and a vocabulary which she traces back to Athens and Rome, according to which the republic is based on the rule of law, which rests on 'the power of the people'. In this perspective power is dissociated from 'the command-obedience relationship; and 'the business of domination'. Power is consensual: it 'needs no justification, being inherent in the very existence of political communities; what it does need is legitimacy...

Power springs up whenever people get together and act in concert, but it derives its legitimacy from the initial getting together rather than from any action that then may follow'. Violence, by contrast, is instrumental, a means to an end, but 'never will be legitimate'. Power, 'far from being the means to an end, is actually the very condition enabling a group of people to think and act in terms of the means-end category'.

The point of these rather similar definitions of power by Parsons and Arendt is to lend persuasive support to the general theoretical frameworks of their authors. In Parson's case, the linking of power to authoritative decisions and collective goals serves to reinforce his theory of social integration as based on value consensus by concealing from view the whole range of problems that have concerned so-called 'coercion' theorists, precisely under the rubric of 'power'. By definitional fiat, phenomena of coercions, exploitation, manipulation and so on cease to be phenomena of power - and in consequence disappear from the theoretical landscape. Anthony Giddens has put the point very well:

Two obvious facts, that authoritative decisions very often do serve sectional interests and that the most radical conflicts in society stem from struggles for power, are defined out of consideration - at least as phenomena connected with 'power'. The conceptualisation of power which Parsons offers allows him to shift the entire weight of his analysis away from power as expressing a relation between individuals or groups, toward seeing power as a 'system property'. That collective 'goals', or even the values which lie behind them, may be the outcome of a 'negotiated order' built on conflicts between parties holding differential power is ignored, since for Parsons 'power' assumes the prior existence of collective goals.

In the case of Arendt, similarly, the conceptualization of power plays a persuasive role, in defence of her conception of 'the res publica, the public thing' to which people consent and 'behave nonviolently and argue rationally', and in opposition to the reduction of 'public affairs to the business of dominion' and to the conceptual linkage of power with force and violence. To 'speak of non-violent power', she writes, 'is actually redundant'. These distinctions enable Arendt to make statements such as the following:

'tyranny, as Montesquieu discovered, is therefore the most violent and least powerful of forms of government';

'Where power has disintegrated, revolutions are possible but not necessary';

'Even the most despotic domination we know of, the rule of master over slaves, who always outnumbered him, did not rest on superior means of coercion as such, but on a superior organization of power - that is, on the organized solidarity of the masters';

'Violence can always destroy power; out of the barrel of a gun grows the most effective command, resulting in the most instant and perfect obedience. What can never grow out of it is power';

'Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance'.

These conceptualizations of power are rationally defensible. ... however they are of less value than [the conceptualization of power] advanced in this book for two reasons:

In the first place, they are revisionally persuasive redefinitions of power which are out of line with the central meanings of 'power' as traditionally understood and with the concerns that have always centrally preoccupied students of power. They focus on the locution 'power to', ignoring 'power over'. Thus power indicates a 'capacity', a 'facility', an 'ability', not a relationship. Accordingly, the conflictual aspect of power - the fact that it is exercised over people - disappears altogether from view. And along with it there disappears the central interest of studying power relations in the first place - an interest in the (attempted or successful) securing of people's compliance by overcoming or averting their opposition.

In the second place, the point of these definitions is, as we have seen, to reinforce certain theoretical positions; but everything that can be said by their means can be said with greater clarity by means of the conceptual scheme here proposed, without thereby concealing from view the (central) aspects of power which they define out of existence. ...

According to the conceptual scheme here advanced, all such cases of co-operative activity, where individuals or groups significantly affect one another in the absence of a conflict of interests between them, will be identifiable as cases of 'influence' but not of 'power. All that Parsons and Arendt wish to say about consensual behaviour remains sayable, but so also does all that they wish to remove from the language of power. ...

Consensual authority, with no conflict of interests, is not, therefore, a form of power.

The question of whether rational persuasion is a form of power and influence cannot be adequately treated here. ... my inclination is to say both 'yes' and 'no'. Yes, because it is a form of significant affecting: A gets (causes) B to do or think what he would not otherwise do or think. No, because B autonomously accepts A's reasons, so that one is inclined to say that it is not A but A's reasons, or B's acceptance of them, that is responsible for B's change of course. ...

It may further be asked whether power can be exercised by A over B in B's real interests. That is, suppose there is a conflict now between the preferences of A and B, but that A's preferences are in B's real interests. To this there are two possible responses: 1) that A might exercise 'short-term power' over B (with an observable conflict of subjective interests), but that if and when B recognizes his real interests, the power relation ends: it is self-annihilating; or 2) that all or most forms of attempted or successful control by A over B, when B objects or resists, constitute a violation of B's autonomy; that B has a real interest in his own autonomy; so that such an exercise of power cannot be in B's real interests. Clearly the first of these responses is open to misuse by seeming to provide a paternalist licence for tyranny; while the second furnishes an anarchist defence against it, collapsing all or most cases of influence into power. Though attracted by the second, I am inclined to adopt the first, the dangers of which may be obviated by insisting on the empirical basis for identifying real interests. The identification of these is not up to A, but to B, exercising choice under conditions of relative autonomy and, in particular, independently of A's power.


Jedi Master
It seems to me that these people are for the most part chasing their tails and trying to define a disease by its symptoms. I am not saying that power is actually a disease, only that politics and such are simply a manifestation of something that exists in all aspects of life.

It is only my humble opinion, but, to me, power is: Having a more objective knowledge.

In this case, we can say that A has power over B when A has a more objective knowledge in whatever situation both A and B find themselves.

Let's run the gamut.

A human has power over an animal because the human has more objective knowledge than the animal. The inverse can also be the case.
A hunter has a certain amount of knowledge over his prey, he has a plan (manifestation of knowledge, how to make a plan, what constitutes a plan and so on).

A human warming himself by a fire and daydreaming about some nonsense has less knowledge than the tiger stalking him through the bushes. The tiger knows more things about the situation than the human, therefore the tiger has the power because he is "aware" while the human is "unaware." The minute the human becomes "aware" of the tiger, or the possibility of the tiger and then takes steps to prevent an attack, the tiger no longer has the power.
A mother has power over her child because a mother has more objective knowledge than her child. This one should require no explanation.

A criminal has more objective knowledge than the victim of the crime, the type and nature of that knowledge will depend on the type of crime. A robber knows he has a knife, knows that he is hiding behind a dumpster in a dark alley and so on and so forth. The victim does not know these things, and may be talking on their cellphone, or rifling in her purse. Crimes of this sort usually depend on surprise, and so do most violent attacks.

The victim has power when the robber doesn't know that she is rifling in her purse for her mace canister. The success of any interaction depends on who had the most objective knowledge at the start.

A criminal has power over the police when the police do not know who he is, or why he did it. The predominant effort of the police is to identify who and why. The police have power because they collect, catalog, and analyse information to obtain the most objective picture possible. This is not always how it really works, but this is how it is supposed to work in theory, and in some cases it really does.

For instance the police know that skin sheds, hair falls, finger prints are unique, CCTV cameras record, computers track and so on and so forth. They have access to this information, so the moment a crime is committed the race is on to close the gap of Knowledge.

Violence is an art in and of itself, you may not think so, but there is a lot of instinctual and intellectual knowledge and strategy that goes into punching someone in the mouth. You may not think a street thug is intelligent, but when it comes to mouth punching they quickly develop a Ph.D.

All of these things are physical manifestations of knowledge, a gun, a knife, an army, these are manifestations of knowledge, their manufacture, use, and training is filled to the brim with all kinds of knowledge, both intellectual and instinctual.

Knowing that an attack is imminent, knowing when to attack, all of these things are a function of knowledge, instinctual or intellectual.
Knowledge is power.

Propaganda is an exercise of power because it is produced by a person who knows two core things 1) What is true and 2) what you will believe to be true that actually isn't, you are in the power of propaganda because you firstly do not know what is the truth in a given situation, and secondly, you probably don't know what you will or will not believe.

You are within someone's power when they know more about the situation, or more about you that you do. The minute you know more about yourself than they do, you have more power. Then if you know yourself, and then make an effort to know more about the situation, you cancel their power.

Sun Tzu - The Art of War - 3:18 said:
Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Reading this thread further brings to mind how important it may be to become well practiced in strategic enclosure to ensure self empowerment and in a sense create covert power over those who intend to harm or manipulate us to their will. Hope I'm not going off track in this line of thinking.


Jedi Master
stellar said:
Reading this thread further brings to mind how important it may be to become well practiced in strategic enclosure to ensure self empowerment and in a sense create covert power over those who intend to harm or manipulate us to their will. Hope I'm not going off track in this line of thinking.

Privacy is the ultimate statement of power. It is the power to decide who knows what about you. Strategic enclosure is an extension of this. It also comes from the Gurdjieffian idea that "Honesty with everyone is weakness." Mainly because it shows that you lack the will and skill to craft a comfortable lie that will help them maintain their world view.

In Fairy Tale and Fable, a common plot device is not knowing someone's name, because that gives you power over them. The "Magick with a K" crowd has latched onto this idea, and uses it to make their "magick" more mysterious, and the creation of "names" like Lord Mysterio and Lady Deceptia and such. I think that it is more like your name is your identity, or is a marker for you identity. You notice how people are always saying: You don't look like a Jeff, or a Bill. As if anyone looks like a Robert, or a John. Or think of the name "Dances with wolves." This idea that a persons name describes some formative point in their life, or some "point fixé."

In the olden days, people had names like John Smith, or Bill Baker and so on, things that described what they did. A great many last names are actually like this, Thatcher, Fisher and so on.

So there is this idea of not revealing your identity, or your true self to just any old person, but only those you trust. That is what strategic enclosure is, to my mind, all about. It's actually a form of self-esteem. It's about valuing your essence enough to not give it out to people who don't deserve it.


The Living Force
I came to think of the strategy of the PTB in exercising power for domination, and how it might all go. Few if any revolt against being subject to the third kind of power (mainly those who work on themselves or are very idiosyncratic); more people revolt against the second, but impotently, and it still keeps authoritarian followers in check; only the first seems to tend to prompt real resistance.

But the more conditioned and programmed people are by being subject to the third kind of power - and the more the second keeps them from having a framework for joining together to change things - the more accepting they become of overt oppression. The PTB create a boundary within which they can act freely, which they push outward by the use of the second and the third mode of power.

But what if the psychopaths in charge develop too much hubris? And think: "You think and do exactly as we want you to; you are so well-conditioned you'll simply take anything. Let's have some fun - we'll take all you have, hurt and kill many of you, and you'll just sit there and take it!" If they push their overt oppression beyond the safety margin established by programming the minds of the population, maybe they'll get more of a reaction than they expected.

The C's suggested that there would be "a big miscalculation made", and that this would "reveal the man behind the curtain". Perhaps this is not some specific event, but rather the PTB getting too eager in getting their jollies by inflicting misery, suffering and death at home (rather than in "far away" countries)?

That, I think, could spark a revolution. (Its effectiveness is another question, most likely answered in the negative as regards any long-term improvement.)
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