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About Power

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Thinker13
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#51 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/08/09 - 10:15 AM:

As I recall, in that book Nietzsche puts some stuff forward as "truth" that not everyone would credit: The best piece of luck is never to have been born; the next best is to die soon.


Seems to me to be 'pouring out of existential pain'.


To my way of thinking, that statement has no truth status, because there is no way of checking it out. The word "luck" does not have a clear referent in the world if you say that everything proceeds from causes; claims involving locutions like "the best," and "the next best" are subjective. The sentence, translated by Kauffman, has a fine ring to it; it is poetically compelling, and belongs, in my opinion, the realm of art!


I agree.

He was a young dude when he wrote that.

Later he wrote: The value of life cannot be estimated: not by the living, for they are interested parties; and not by the dead, for another reason.


Here you have an edge. Due to your deep friendship with the thinker,you are more likely to be poignant. This seems to be a fair advantage whenever you are in a strong relationship with a thinker,or make a case study. This approach should be adopted to judge contents from thinkers of different ages(though it is not possible in each and every case due to various reasons).



I guess the thought in the passage you quoted is, Life requires artifice in order to be bearable. Any recourse to thinking signals the presence of decadence: it is a sign that the artifices required to sustain life have failed. Thus, thinking--if I'm interpreting the passage correctly--does not cause decadence, but it is a symptom of decadence. "Thinking," above, refers to thinking as a commitment and a practice, resulting in the creation of new philosophical systems or methods...


Perfectly so.

Nietzsche's idea that life without art, without artifice, is unbearable, is interesting. (He emphasizes that life without falsehood, without fantasy, is unbearable, and--I think--implies a certain contempt for humans: the poor creatures can't endure the truth.)


Again playing 'precursor to existentialism'.

I think there's another way of looking at that matter: humans are creative; we have to be always dreaming and making new thing; we have to look at things from new aspects. We are poets and makers.


Not sure it is correct,may be a little bit of thought required.




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smokinpristiformis
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#52 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/08/09 - 11:01 AM:

A certain aristocratic vampiresse to Commander Vimes: "Any thug can have power. The real prize is control." ~ Terry Pratchett in 'The Fifth Elephant'
Zum
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#53 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/09/09 - 1:00 AM:

Did she mean that the commander had brute power, thug power, but that she, the one with the long teeth, had control?
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#54 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/09/09 - 5:39 AM:

The latter. Although the first is true, in a way. Although the Commander could have both, he can escape having control to some degree. Being a commander, he can't escape power, and it's an important theme in the books. smiling face

Terry Pratchett's Commander Vimes is a brilliant character, featuring in about a dozen books. He's the second most powerful man in the largest city in the world, but what he does is protect the less fortunate and upset the uptowners in a manner that is often vicious and cunning in a brutal way. He treasures the sort of stubbornness that makes holes in very thick walls by means of knitting needles. He's a Duke, but he lived most of his life in the gutter and consequently radiates his own scruffiness field.

Quote to remember:
'Where is my cow?'
'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?'

Edited by smokinpristiformis on 08/10/09 - 1:57 AM
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#55 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/09/09 - 11:18 PM:

And be better off than I are . . .

Somebody should start on thread on brilliant protagonists, Smokin!
Thinker13
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#56 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/10/09 - 2:40 AM:

Zum wrote:
And be better off than I are . . .

Somebody should start on thread on brilliant protagonists, Smokin!



Indeed. Go for Sherlock Holmes!thumb up



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libertygrl
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#57 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/13/09 - 11:33 AM:

http://www.thecouchforum.com/comments.php?id=1347
Zum
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#58 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/15/09 - 5:50 PM:

Okay, it's said that power corrupts: no need to discuss that, we've all read newspapers; in school they make you study history. The sort of power referred to is authority, the power to command and prohibit and to impose and enforce penalties that nobody wants to pay, for non-compliance. All this presupposes a system of offices and functions set in place to enforce the decrees of the authority. "Corruption" refers to abuse of power, using the authority and the enforcement machinery for ends not intended by the designers of the system . . . of course.

Postulating, for the fun of it, a compassionate ethical stance, such as we would find in Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and Judaism (I don't mean to leave the Muslims out; I just haven't read the Koran yet), under what circumstances would the exercise of power of the kind described above be justified?

Thinker13
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#59 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/16/09 - 1:53 AM:

Zum wrote:
ends not intended by the designers of the system . . . of course.

under what circumstances would the exercise of power of the kind described above be justified?







'Justified' according to whom?






If there is a 'system' and there are 'designers' of the system,then,obviously system has in itself , guidelines for justified or unjustified exercises of power.





So:it is kind of 'system specific'.





In Anarchy: Not one particular application of might is 'justified'.





In other words: All of the exertions are justified in decentralized system.









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Zum
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#60 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/16/09 - 10:36 AM:

Cool. zen

If you adhere to any ethical system, under what circumstances would the exercise of power be justified according to that system?

If you make such decisions case by case or randomly, under what conditions would the exercise of power be justified according to you?
Thinker13
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#61 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/16/09 - 11:27 AM:

Zum wrote:
If you make such decisions case by case or randomly, under what conditions would the exercise of power be justified according to you?


'Randomly' means it would depend on 'random factors'laughing
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#62 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/16/09 - 2:14 PM:

Yeah. Very true.wink Okay, strike out "randomly." In fact, strike out the whole sentence. Replace it with, "If you have ethical standards of your own, not necessarily conforming to an established system, under what conditions would the exercise of power be justified, according to those standards?"
Thinker13
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#63 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/16/09 - 2:21 PM:

Zum wrote:
"If you have ethical standards of your own, not necessarily conforming to an established system, under what conditions would the exercise of power be justified, according to those standards?"



It seems to me that this whole sentence can be replaced with:

"What are your ethical standards(if any)."

Answer is: No 'hard and fast' standard.


And it seems that exercise of power would implicitly taken into account.





Thank you




Zum
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#64 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/16/09 - 4:16 PM:

Nah. Respectfully disagree. The sentences has to include the word "power": that's the topic. It is to the question of power that the ethical standards are to be applied.smiling face
Thinker13
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#65 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/17/09 - 1:51 AM:

Zum wrote:
Nah. Respectfully disagree. The sentences has to include the word "power": that's the topic. It is to the question of power that the ethical standards are to be applied.smiling face




As you will,Zum.
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#66 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/17/09 - 12:09 PM:

There's the tale about the master and the slave in Hegel's writing. As I think back to this, it seems to me that, really, Hegel may have been one of the first phenomenologista--also that it may be impossible to do philosophy without, at least occasionally, telling stories. As I recall, this is the gist of Hegel's yarn. Two men confront each other. Now, in the context, we understand these to be The Original Two Men... Each desires to be The Only Man and takes the other's measure. They fight. One of them wins; the loser becomes his slave.

I need to go back and reread this, but this is how I remember it-- With them, there has never been a question of what to do, now that the world contains two men. It has been postulated by both that of course there can be only one, and a new category has been invented: that of the slave.

I think Hegel even gives us something of the slave's mentality. He becomes the master's creature entirely: he reveres him and identifies with him. True to their original postulate, the slave stops regarding himself as human--as a being with his own importance and his own life. Giving his life for the master, should the need arise, would seem natural and inevitable to him, and he would do it.

To the master--the guy who happened to win that fight--it seems that his own life and condition have been immeasurably enhanced. He has acquired leisure and the power of command. Leisure allows him to write verses; the power of command pleases and flatters him every time he exercises it. He likes the keep the slave hopping around all the time.

But sometimes he is uneasy at night and, without understanding why, remembers his solitude with nostalgia. He has just made the slave build him a summer house overlooking a lake; the slave has finished some of the bath houses and now is making plans for a diving tower. It has been a while since the master has picked up a hammer; he suspects that he is losing his carpentry skills--as well as his skills in tracking, butchering, direction finding, and other matters. And he is now constantly afraid that the slave will go away.

He has become dependent on the slave and, in the process, he has lost power.

Hegel sets up this relationship as as paradox basic to human relations.
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#67 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/17/09 - 7:12 PM:

I might add that I dramatized the tale a bit. Hegel's version does not include the part about the summer house or the divine platform. . .
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#68 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/18/09 - 10:50 AM:

Looking over my version of Hegel's analogy makes me want the book in my hands again. Hegel drew upon the categories of his philosophical predecessors and no doubt invented some of his own, instead of imaginatively entering the experience of his paradigm figures.

One of the cool things about philosophy is that it encourages the practice of staring long and patiently at a concept, an analogy, a turn of phrase, a project, or an orientation.

What interests me about the master and slave story is that initial confrontation. The two begin their relations in a state of agreement. What they agree upon is this proposition: there is to be one man. There cannot be two. For there to be two would be monstrous, unthinkable. It would be an obscene duplication.
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#69 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/18/09 - 9:21 PM:

smiling facePOWER.......THE POWER OF LOVE. A STATE OF BEINGNESS. TO INFLUENCE AND INSPIRE ANOTHER WITH THE POWER OF LOVE IS TO FIND ONE'S PURPOSE AND MEANING. THIS LOVE IS NOT OF THE PHYSICAL BUT OF THE STATE OF HARMONY IN MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT AND ITS' CONNECTION WITH THE MIND OF GOD. ALL IS ONE.
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#70 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/18/09 - 9:47 PM:

Hello rENOIR9.

The caps! rENOIR9, the caps! crying
smokinpristiformis
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#71 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/19/09 - 2:32 AM:

Welcome Renoir. smiling face

Love is power. Hmmm... There's two ways to look at that.
Thinker13
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#72 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/19/09 - 7:52 AM:

Howdy rENOIR9?

Welcome back!
Zum
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#73 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/19/09 - 10:36 AM:

For me, "Love is power" stretches the parameters of the word "power," but this happens with language all the time. It works for me in this case, although love and competition are opposed--or at least they are in tension. The ultimate degree of competition is war, a state in which love for members of the other side is decidedly suspended... Love seems to involve a setting aside of differences; the ultimate degree of love may be the kind of unity that rENOIR9 describes.

What the opposites have in common is the element of power, in analogous senses. Hegel's two guys seek power OVER each other; love, like self command, is a power TO... Specifically, it is a power to transform a divided reality into a unity.

Well, I think that, indeed, this concept is the coolest thing that Christianity and mystical Judaism have had to offer, for sure. I think that it could be achieved in an individual only through some kind of psychic self-transformation. As you walk around the streets or take BART in the morning, you don't see a lot of it.
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#74 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/19/09 - 5:38 PM:

How amazing is it that, soon after I wrote that post, I walked out into the street and acquired an stunning example in support of the last sentence.

Going toward Peet's, I saw Hal. We greeted each other and started talking; the vibe between us is cordial, not romantic. Along behind came a young guy, flaming from some intolerable experience, I guess. He started cursing at Hal. He didn't like his jacket, he didn't like his shoes. He went on cussing with venom and persistence. Hal turned and made the movement. The movement is to turn around abruptly and to show willingness. My instincts, such as they are, told me to locate myself in sanity, since these events were crazy. There was no fight. It was 9:30 a.m.; twelve hours later, given the provocation, I think there might have been. As he walked away, the young guy went on turning around and swearing as much as he needed to, to maintain his feeling of power and to persuade his image of us that he would not be be afraid to fight. But when the light changed, he crossed the street, and the weird spell was broken. Hal said, "He thought we were together; he objected to my being with a white woman."

Encounters like that are commonplace... The young guy was, say, a dozen misfortunes closer to murder than the rest of us. He is our little bro. HOW do we all get from the power to frighten and enslave to the power to create unity?

In passing, I'll note that the provocation for the near fight was non-existent, a nullity, a figment, a big zero in the air. Hal and I were not "together"; if we had been, this would not have impinged, really, on that guy in any way. The world contains no white women.wink
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#75 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 08/20/09 - 1:27 AM:

hi renoir, welcome to the couch smiling face

in terms of influence, i definitely think of love as having power. it certainly can be said to have the power to heal.

Zum wrote:
HOW do we all get from the power to frighten and enslave to the power to create unity?

it may be possible that anyone who has the power to frighten and enslave also has the power to create unity. there is the question of which emotions are manifesting through one's ability to impact the world. is a person happy in life or miserable, and do they wish for others to be happy or miserable? there is also the matter of empathy. a person who is hurt and angry may seek retribution against the world, while another person who is similarly hurt and angry but also feels empathy may simply catharsize privately to avoid being hurtful to others.

how do you reach into a bully's heart so as to open it? is there a way? is it possible to show enough kindness and patience that one day they would each in due time respond with love instead of violence? or is such kindness and patience sometimes wasted?

random thoughts,
lib
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