Power: A Radical View

stellar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Atreides said:
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.
I think so too.Very few people know my full name, as a matter of fact, even those that have known me for many years. It feels safer that way.
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
That last quote of Luke elicits nothing else than a yawn. He fails to see the personal connotations that the word "power" carries for him, then uses that subjective axiom to semantically argue his way out of Parson's and Arendt's definitions.

It is so absurd that he ends up with a totaly inversed definition, where he denies the legitimate aspect of power and assigns to it the meaning which should be properly assigned to force, i.e., coercion and manipulation.

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. [...]
In this perspective power is dissociated from 'the command-obedience relationship; and 'the business of domination'. [...] 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.

He needs to get over it. Some researchers use a different definitional framework - which seems internally consistent from what I can see - and he can't wrap his head around it. His claim that issues of domination disappear from the theoritical landscape is absurd; the nuance between power as an ethical manner of expression to effect reality vs. force as a violent manner to impose one's will - be it directly coercive or indirectly manipulative - brings shades of meaning that allow for more specific analysis of the meanings involved.

Kind of like how inuits have 27 words for snow, canadians half a dozen and the average tropical dweller 2, if he's lucky.

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

How's that for "definitional fiat"?
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
(Edit: added my emphasis in bold)

Here is a very relevant quote from David R. Hawkins' Power Vs. Force:
On examination we will see that power arises from meaning. it has to do with motive and it has to do with principle. Power is always associated with that which supports the significance of life itself. It appeals to that in human nature which we call noble, in contrast to force, which appeals to that which we call crass. Power appeals to that which uplifts and dignifies-ennobles. Force must always be justified, whereas power requires no justification. Force is associated with the partial, power with the whole.

If we analyze the nature of force it becomes readily apparent why it must always succumb to power; this is in accordance with one of the basic laws of physics. Because force automatically creates counter-force, its effect is limited by definition. We could say that force is a movement. It goes from here to there, or tries to go from here to there against opposition. Power, on the other hand, is still. It is like a standing field that does not move. Gravity itself, for instance, does not move against anything. Its power moves all objects within its field, but the gravity field itself does not move.

Force always moves against something, whereas power does not move against anything. Force is incomplete and therefore has to constantly be fed energy. Power is total and complete in itself and requires nothing from outside itself. It makes no demands; it has no needs. Because force has an insatiable appetite, it constantly consumes. Power, in contrast, energizes, gives forth, supplies and supports. Power gives life and energy. Force takes these away. We notice that power is associated with compassion and makes us feel positively about ourselves. Force is associated with judgment and makes us feel badly about ourselves.

Force always creates counter-force; its effect is to polarize rather than unify. Polarization always implies conflict; its cost, therefore, is always high. Because force incites polarization, it inevitably produces a win/lose dichotomy; and because somebody always loses, enemies are always created. Constantly faced with enemies, force requires constant defense. Defensiveness is costly, invariably, whether in the marketplace, politics or international affairs.

In looking for the source of power we have noted that it is associated with meaning, and this meaning has to do with the significance of life itself. Force is concrete, literal and arguable. It requires proof and support. The sources of power, however, are inarguable and are not subject to proof. The self-evident is not arguable. That health is more important than disease, that life is more important than death, that honor is preferable to dishonor, that faith and trust are preferable to doubt and cynicism, that the constructive is preferable the destructive - all are self-evident statements not subject to proof. Ultimately, the only thing we can say about a source of power is that it just "is."
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
United Gnosis said:
That last quote of Luke elicits nothing else than a yawn. He fails to see the personal connotations that the word "power" carries for him, then uses that subjective axiom to semantically argue his way out of Parson's and Arendt's definitions.

I thought Luke exposed the limitations of the definition of power that the other authors used.

United Gnosis said:
It is so absurd that he ends up with a totaly inversed definition, where he denies the legitimate aspect of power and assigns to it the meaning which should be properly assigned to force, i.e., coercion and manipulation.

It is difficult to define what power is. Studying what power does is more tractable. To me, it seems that force is one of the overt aspects of the exercise of power. Whether such an exercise is good or legitimate would depend on the specific context.

United Gnosis said:
He needs to get over it. Some researchers use a different definitional framework - which seems internally consistent from what I can see - and he can't wrap his head around it. His claim that issues of domination disappear from the theoritical landscape is absurd; the nuance between power as an ethical manner of expression to effect reality vs. force as a violent manner to impose one's will - be it directly coercive or indirectly manipulative - brings shades of meaning that allow for more specific analysis of the meanings involved.

Setting up a consistent theoretical framework does not necessarily imply that the conclusions obtained are going to have widespread validity. That was Luke's point from what I understood. By artificially restricting the scope of power, a false dichotomy of power vs force is set up.


United Gnosis said:
(Edit: added my emphasis in bold)

Here is a very relevant quote from David R. Hawkins' Power Vs. Force:

David Hawkins and his claim of being able to distinguish truth from lies at various levels through muscle testing has been discussed before in the forum. Here is one link
http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,22804.0.html

The quote you provided glorifying power without qualification appears false and new agey to me.
 

psychegram

Dagobah Resident
obyvatel said:
United Gnosis said:
That last quote of Luke elicits nothing else than a yawn. He fails to see the personal connotations that the word "power" carries for him, then uses that subjective axiom to semantically argue his way out of Parson's and Arendt's definitions.

I thought Luke exposed the limitations of the definition of power that the other authors used.

United Gnosis said:
It is so absurd that he ends up with a totaly inversed definition, where he denies the legitimate aspect of power and assigns to it the meaning which should be properly assigned to force, i.e., coercion and manipulation.

It is difficult to define what power is. Studying what power does is more tractable. To me, it seems that force is one of the overt aspects of the exercise of power. Whether such an exercise is good or legitimate would depend on the specific context.

United Gnosis said:
He needs to get over it. Some researchers use a different definitional framework - which seems internally consistent from what I can see - and he can't wrap his head around it. His claim that issues of domination disappear from the theoritical landscape is absurd; the nuance between power as an ethical manner of expression to effect reality vs. force as a violent manner to impose one's will - be it directly coercive or indirectly manipulative - brings shades of meaning that allow for more specific analysis of the meanings involved.

Setting up a consistent theoretical framework does not necessarily imply that the conclusions obtained are going to have widespread validity. That was Luke's point from what I understood. By artificially restricting the scope of power, a false dichotomy of power vs force is set up.


United Gnosis said:
(Edit: added my emphasis in bold)

Here is a very relevant quote from David R. Hawkins' Power Vs. Force:

David Hawkins and his claim of being able to distinguish truth from lies at various levels through muscle testing has been discussed before in the forum. Here is one link
http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,22804.0.html

The quote you provided glorifying power without qualification appears false and new agey to me.

indeed. The physics metaphors fell kinda flat. Gravity is also a force (indeed, all physical fields necessarily involve some form of force, wether gravitational, electromagnetic, strong or weak nuclear). Furthermore, the gravitational field is hardly some static background ... it is quite dynamic, and responsive to the motions of the masses within it (since after all, it is generated by mass in motion).
 

Buddy

The Living Force
obyvatel said:
It is difficult to define what power is. Studying what power does is more tractable. To me, it seems that force is one of the overt aspects of the exercise of power. Whether such an exercise is good or legitimate would depend on the specific context.

I agree. And I was wondering why an abstract concept like "power" was being talked about as if it were a concrete entity in the first place. Personally, defining anything in terms of function appeals more to my sensibilities. And where is "efficacy?" That's a power to produce beneficial effects in contexts where constructive work is underway, OSIT.
 

United Gnosis

Jedi Master
obyvatel said:
I thought Luke exposed the limitations of the definition of power that the other authors used.

Saying something along the lines of "let us define power as effective action caused by colinear will, whereas force shall be understood as imposing non-colinear will through coercive or manipulative action" is not a limitation. It its an axiom. Luke's failure to entertain that idea led him to react by saying that domination was defined out of the theoretical framework.

That affirmation shows his misunderstanding, as defining domination out of the "power" identifier and locating it under the "force" label is obviously purposeful, and when further explored leads to interesting distinctions between these two pathways towards effecting one's will.

It is difficult to define what power is. Studying what power does is more tractable. To me, it seems that force is one of the overt aspects of the exercise of power. Whether such an exercise is good or legitimate would depend on the specific context.

Hence the working hypothesis above. A tentative definition of power is proposed, setting force aside as a different means of manifesting will. Obviously, if you reject that working hypothesis a priori and study both aspects under that sole signifier, "power", confusion on the contextual legitimact will ensue.

Setting up a consistent theoretical framework does not necessarily imply that the conclusions obtained are going to have widespread validity. That was Luke's point from what I understood.

Indeed to the first sentence. As for the second, Luke fails to prove that point, and ends up proposing his own axiom that defines legitimate power out of the framework, only keeping those aspects of force -coercion and manipulation - under that umbrella. It is a complete dialectical inversion, which he does not proceed to demonstrate as a more valid hypothesis, but justifies out of his own failure to entertain the previous working hypothesis. He is Begging the Question on a semantic point which does not bring the inquiry further and even pulls it back, OSIT.

By artificially restricting the scope of power, a false dichotomy of power vs force is set up.
On what grounds do you reason that this is a false dichotomy? That hypothesis might actually prove to be conceptual finesse endowing richer discernment. Or we might start referring to all ferns, bushes, herbs, oaks, poplars, etc., "plants". Artificial restriction of the scope of plants, you know. (Friendly reductio ad absurdum)

David Hawkins and his claim of being able to distinguish truth from lies at various levels through muscle testing has been discussed before in the forum. Here is one link
http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,22804.0.html
The quote you provided glorifying power without qualification appears false and new agey to me.

All I read in that thread is a large amount of people whose "no way I'm going to get caught in some new age distortion" program was triggered. While that program emerges out of laudable, rational intentions, it is nonetheless counterproductive. Most so-called arguments were Ad Hominems attacking the source, without having either read the actual material nor attempted experimental application of the proposed methods.

For the record, my own lighthearted, non-scientifically conclusive experiments (2 test subjects, about a dozen question each) has proved conclusive enough for me not to dismiss the ideas out of hand. After all, that is more validation than I have for channeling, whose ideas I still consider on their own merits. The failure to do so for the ideas presented in that book I quoted reeks of cognitive dissonance to me. For what it's worth, the discussion of power and force as direct analogies to physical phenomena is quite insightful, and not at odds with our understanding of the Work.

I'm sure I could do a rough, qualitative transliteration of it in Work vocabulary, but your reply tends to make me think that you haven't truly attemted to grasp the point of view presented, and I would appreciate that consideration before we can discuss this further, if you wish.
 

Atreides

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

Revolutions happen often, fail always, even when they succeed they fail. No revolution has succeeded past the life of the core revolutionaries, and many failed during. Things always return to the same forms of despotism. This is because of psychopaths. The only successful revolution will be a revolution of the mind, anything else, even if it succeeds, will ultimately fail because those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
United Gnosis said:
obyvatel said:
I thought Luke exposed the limitations of the definition of power that the other authors used.

Saying something along the lines of "let us define power as effective action caused by colinear will, whereas force shall be understood as imposing non-colinear will through coercive or manipulative action" is not a limitation. It its an axiom. Luke's failure to entertain that idea led him to react by saying that domination was defined out of the theoretical framework.

To me, such a definition of power and force seem to be moving away from what common sense and empirical observation indicate.


[quote author=United Gnosis]
It is difficult to define what power is. Studying what power does is more tractable. To me, it seems that force is one of the overt aspects of the exercise of power. Whether such an exercise is good or legitimate would depend on the specific context.

Hence the working hypothesis above. A tentative definition of power is proposed, setting force aside as a different means of manifesting will. Obviously, if you reject that working hypothesis a priori and study both aspects under that sole signifier, "power", confusion on the contextual legitimact will ensue.
[/quote]

Yes, that does seem like the case here.


[quote author=United Gnosis]
By artificially restricting the scope of power, a false dichotomy of power vs force is set up.
On what grounds do you reason that this is a false dichotomy? That hypothesis might actually prove to be conceptual finesse endowing richer discernment. Or we might start referring to all ferns, bushes, herbs, oaks, poplars, etc., "plants". Artificial restriction of the scope of plants, you know. (Friendly reductio ad absurdum)
[/quote]

I see it differently. Force in the sense of coercion or manipulation looks like an aspect of the exercise of power to me. In your analogy of plants there is an agreement that ferns, bushes etc are all plants and then one goes about categorizing differences characterizing sub-species. The force-power differentiation appears to me like saying that let us define bushes as distinct from plants. To me, looking at various aspects of power - like coercion, manipulation, restriction of options through subtle control of environment, rational persuasion etc and how they are used today makes more sense.

[quote author=United Gnosis]
David Hawkins and his claim of being able to distinguish truth from lies at various levels through muscle testing has been discussed before in the forum. Here is one link
http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,22804.0.html
The quote you provided glorifying power without qualification appears false and new agey to me.

All I read in that thread is a large amount of people whose "no way I'm going to get caught in some new age distortion" program was triggered. While that program emerges out of laudable, rational intentions, it is nonetheless counterproductive. Most so-called arguments were Ad Hominems attacking the source, without having either read the actual material nor attempted experimental application of the proposed methods.
[/quote]

The person concerned claimed to be able to measure the level of consciousness. He claimed that he has a way of discerning lies from truth. He then went on to say that American citizens are far more conscious than the rest of the world, and expressed support for the war in Iraq as necessary. The claims and results do not match imo.

[quote author=United Gnosis]
For the record, my own lighthearted, non-scientifically conclusive experiments (2 test subjects, about a dozen question each) has proved conclusive enough for me not to dismiss the ideas out of hand. After all, that is more validation than I have for channeling, whose ideas I still consider on their own merits. The failure to do so for the ideas presented in that book I quoted reeks of cognitive dissonance to me. For what it's worth, the discussion of power and force as direct analogies to physical phenomena is quite insightful, and not at odds with our understanding of the Work.
[/quote]

Have you read and understood the method of critical channeling that serves as a part of the foundation of the forum? Claims are checked through different avenues through research and networking and then accepted only as working hypotheses.

Based on what has been brought forward as the work of David Hawkins, his claims and results do not match. Saying so does not indicate cognitive dissonance. It is interesting that you look at it this way. Many times, we tend to see things in others that are actually within ourselves. So consider the possibility that it may be you who is running a program here and suffering from cognitive dissonance.


[quote author=United Gnosis]
I'm sure I could do a rough, qualitative transliteration of it in Work vocabulary, but your reply tends to make me think that you haven't truly attemted to grasp the point of view presented, and I would appreciate that consideration before we can discuss this further, if you wish.
[/quote]

You claim to do a transliteration in terms of Work vocabulary while accepting a definition of force whose implications seem to ignore the law of three, a foundation stone of the 4th Way. At least that is the way it seems to me. Do you see that?
 

Atreides

Jedi Master
stellar said:
I think so too.Very few people know my full name, as a matter of fact, even those that have known me for many years. It feels safer that way.

In truth, that isn't remotely what I meant. I meant revealing your inner self, essence. In today's modern age not revealing your name is wise, that is true, but I meant to point out the allegory of not revealing your "name".
 

Mal7

Dagobah Resident
Would it help to get our bearings if we remember that "power" is not something very mysterious, complicated, and abstruse, but something which we have an everyday conception of what it means, and what we are talking about when we use the word?

In a political context, I think "power" is roughly synonymous with "control". If one person or group is controlling others, they have power over them. I think Lukes was analysing some more elaborate definitions of power, and criticizing them because they did not seem to meet our everyday conception of all the ways in which power can exist, e.g. power can exist without overt coercion, if those with power are controlling the whole zeitgeist and underlying social values of a culture.
 

Atreides

Jedi Master
United Gnosis said:
How's that for "definitional fiat"?

I think you are missing the mark a little here. Firstly, as I understand it, he is reporting on Parson's and Arendt's definitions, not his own.

Secondly, Parson's definition of power is distinctly authoritarian, and machiavellian. I mean like the real Machiavelli, not in the sense of being duplicitous or cunning or keeping bad faith. It has a semi-ponerogenic misanthropy. The constitution of authority and its exercise of power are necessary to make men fulfill their obligations, this is presented by them, not by the writer, ergo fiat descriptionis. Let there be a definition.

His main argument against them seems to be that their definition, or description, of power is restrictive and exclusive of forms of exercise that we can readily observe. The subject of power is naturally subject almost exclusively to anecdotal evidence, unless you can imagine a concrete way to actually measure power in the sense talked about.
 

Atreides

Jedi Master
United Gnosis said:
...

In looking for the source of power we have noted that it is associated with meaning, and this meaning has to do with the significance of life itself. Force is concrete, literal and arguable. It requires proof and support. The sources of power, however, are inarguable and are not subject to proof. The self-evident is not arguable. That health is more important than disease, that life is more important than death, that honor is preferable to dishonor, that faith and trust are preferable to doubt and cynicism, that the constructive is preferable the destructive - all are self-evident statements not subject to proof. Ultimately, the only thing we can say about a source of power is that it just "is."


That is very philosophical, but has little practical value. Force and Power are not opposite sides of a coin, and a comparison between them is fruitless. Force is one of several means to exercise power, and not a very efficient one at. It is like comparing a hammer to carpentry. That what power is is self-evident I certainly do not agree. It is all very eastern and touchy feely, but seems to be the product of a victim of power. I always use the analogy that when it comes to evaluating experience, who has it, and how much, think of a person who has been shot. How much do they actually know about guns? About ballistics? and so on. Being a victim only gives you experience and knowledge about how to be a victim. When you start trying to discuss the mindset of the person who shot you, you are in a territory for which you have no experience, and little of value to add.

This is the case with both Parson's and Arendt's ideas, although I consider Arendt to be a powerful thinker, who worked hard to understand, I always try to keep in mind that just because she was a victim of power doesn't immediately mean she has an inside line about it.

I am not trying to invalidate what he says, and I don't think he is entirely wrong, or right. I don't think from what he said that anything concrete or useful could be extracted. It doesn't help you to understand power, to use it, to identify when you are within someone's power, how to get out. A definition should be a manual.

That's just my two cents.
 

Atreides

Jedi Master
United Gnosis said:
I'm sure I could do a rough, qualitative transliteration of it in Work vocabulary, but your reply tends to make me think that you haven't truly attemted to grasp the point of view presented, and I would appreciate that consideration before we can discuss this further, if you wish.

It's really a shame that someone with such a brain as yours would use it on such a flippant pursuit as dialectic. Everything that you have said up to this point is logical and ultimately meaningless. The universe is always three steps beyond logic. This is not a high school debate club where the truth is irrelevant and only strict adherence to established rhetorical and dialectic rules count.

When people speak, behind their words is a meaning that some understand, and some do not. When a group of people come together they establish a "you know what I mean" club that is impervious to the hamfisted application of Greek argumentation. The only one here who is impressed is you.

This is me rolling my eyes.

Notice the eye rolling.

Here's an emoticon: :rolleyes:
 

stellar

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Atreides said:
stellar said:
I think so too.Very few people know my full name, as a matter of fact, even those that have known me for many years. It feels safer that way.

In truth, that isn't remotely what I meant. I meant revealing your inner self, essence. In today's modern age not revealing your name is wise, that is true, but I meant to point out the allegory of not revealing your "name".
I understand what you meant, I just meant that I don't even share THAT information with just anyone.
 
Top Bottom