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About Power

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Zum
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#101 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/30/09 - 12:12 AM:

To continue, the only hope the current president has of success is that others throughout the world who are in positions of ancillary or supreme authority have had enough of the power context and see its perils. Perils? And see the catastrophes that this context will assuredly bring about.

In Shaw's play Saint Joan, the author has his heroine say, "I will march forward and not look back to see if anyone is following me." Or words to that effect.

Some of the same virtues--willingness to trust, willingness to take risks when the goal justifies them, daring--are required in the present international context. But, at the same time, the context is one of power, and together with the aforementioned virtues, one must practice their opposites--prudence, realistic mistrust, wariness.

The president used to be a community organizer. I understand that the preferred technique for doing that is, first, to work only in communities where some organizations or organized elements exist already. Churches with community centers, clubs with a strong leadership and a variety of programs. As an organizer, one begins by linking these existing lawful organizations. I say "lawful" partly because within them one will generally find people who believe deeply in order and systematic, purposeful behavior and are skilled in the relevant techniques...the kind one wants.

Each of the world's leaders now needs to be a community co-organizer of a very large community...
Zum
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#102 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/30/09 - 11:29 AM:

Does power emerge as an element in personal relationships?

Does it emerge in matters of friendship?

Is it an element in love and marriage?

If so, can it interfere with the smooth functioning, and the purposes, of these relations?

How? What problems can arise?

If problems arise, how can they be dealt with?

henry quirk
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#103 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/30/09 - 1:50 PM:

"Does power emerge as an element in personal relationships?"

Always.

#

"Does it emerge in matters of friendship?"

Always.

#

"Is it an element in love and marriage?"

Always.

#

"If so, can it interfere with the smooth functioning, and the purposes, of these relations?"

That depends entirely on the folks involved.

#

"How? What problems can arise?"

If one bridles under the yoke of being the lesser and is unable to (re)balance the power with the other: problems of all kinds.

#

"If problems arise, how can they be dealt with?"

Again: that depends entirely on the folks involved.

Some make peace with being lesser (or greater), some can re-balance with the other, some break off, and so on.

The best of any relationship is the one where power shifts naturally from one to the other and back again, where both (or all) involved understand the give and take of it.
Zum
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#104 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 09/30/09 - 4:49 PM:

"The best of any relationship is the one where power shifts naturally from one to the other and back again, where both (or all) involved understand the give and take of it."

Yep. What you said.

Occurs to me that with the emergence of a power context, as defined above, the number of available options instantly becomes smaller.

Re-examining (yet again) Hegel's analogy, one can say that, given the power context, these options exist: one or both men run away; the men fight. That's it.

But suppose for fun that, somehow, they were able to generate a different context. "They." How interesting. A spirit of cooperation would, it seems, have to precede their encounter or generate itself instantly... Anyway, let's suppose they give each other high five, or that one of them says howdy and they shake hands, or that one of them--say the one with the pendent earrings--sits under a tree, sets down all his cutlery, opens his back pack, rummages around, offers the other one--the one with the blue face paint--food and drink, which he of the blue paint accepts. Bluepaint then produces drums and something which, blown into, makes noises, and demonstrates the operations of striking and blowing to him of the earrings.

Now they can make music; create a common language; having achieved this, swap stories; tell jokes; share the epics and fairy tales and particular insights of their respective cultures; play games; engage in martial arts on a friendly basis; goof around; tell each other all they know.
henry quirk
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#105 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/01/09 - 9:37 AM:

"...one or both men run away; the men fight. That's it."

As you point out further down in your post, the third option: they cooperate.

Like I said elsewhere: cooperate, or, compete, or, kill.
Zum
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#106 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/02/09 - 7:11 PM:

There's an orientation toward power that is just as traditional as the I-against-thou orientation, though not as often practiced. It is the use of personal power for the sake of self-overcoming. Marcus Aurelius was outstanding in this respect. (As a Roman Emperor, he did not need to strive for power of the other sort . . .smiling face) The motivation for his incessant self-monitoring and self-evaluating may have been a preference against becoming a gross monster like some of his predecessors.

He kept a journal; the entries were addressed to himself. Dying, he left instructions that the journal be burned unread . . .

A sample: Book Two, Entry One: "First thing every morning tell yourself: today I am going to meet a busybody, an ingrate, a bully, a liar, a schemer, and a boor. Ignorance of good and evil has made them what they are. But I know that the good is by nature beautiful and the bad ugly, and I know that these wrong-doers are by nature my brothers, not by blood or breeding, but by being similarly endowed with reason and sharing in the divine. None of them can harm me, for none can force me to do wrong against my will, and I cannot be angry with a brother or resent him, for we were born into this world to work together like the feet, hands, eyelids and upper and lower rows of teeth. To work against one another is contrary to nature, and what could be more like working against someone than resenting or abandoning him?"
Thinker13
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#107 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/03/09 - 1:01 AM:

Indeed,Aurelius was one of the wisest man ever born.
Zum
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#108 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/03/09 - 12:12 PM:

Yeah, Thinker, and he pegged away at it all the time. Sometimes he wrote really notable stuff, like this: "Because you have chosen not to respect yourself, you have made your happiness subject to the opinions others have of you." Here's another: "Not knowing what other people are thinking is not the cause of much human misery, but failing to understand the working of one's own mind is bound to lead to unhappiness." Those caught my eye. Underneath all the WORK, one can see the guy. Too much to do. His life totally insecure. Not having a whole lot of fun.
Zum
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#109 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/03/09 - 1:53 PM:

To continue: In the British Museum I saw a series of busts of Marcus Aurelius made during his youth. The first few showed him as he was prior to his ascension as Emperor: a cheerful kid of the sort you might see on a high school basketball team. Struggling to recall the mood of those faces, I chose the sport carefully. Not football, not swimming, I don't know what rugby players look like.. The last depiction of Marcus Aurelius had been made--or was judged to have been made--soon after the ascension. The face is a study in desolation.

Think about it: many emperors before him had (let us say) said to themselves, Okay, my life will be without privacy; everything I do will be observed; there will be more work than a man can do. Enemies are pressing the empire from all sides. Every day I may be assassinated by . . . . (long list). However. If I desire anyone, I can have that one at once, for as long as I wish. If anyone vexes me, I can have that one put to death at once. Deal." Marcus Aurelius took on all the burdens of power and abjured all the perquisites.
Thinker13
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#110 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/04/09 - 2:33 AM:

Zum wrote:
Yeah, Thinker, and he pegged away at it all the time. Sometimes he wrote really notable stuff, like this: "Because you have chosen not to respect yourself, you have made your happiness subject to the opinions others have of you." Here's another: "Not knowing what other people are thinking is not the cause of much human misery, but failing to understand the working of one's own mind is bound to lead to unhappiness." Those caught my eye. Underneath all the WORK, one can see the guy. Too much to do. His life totally insecure. Not having a whole lot of fun.



Great wisdom!
Thinker13
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#111 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/04/09 - 2:36 AM:

Zum wrote:
To continue: In the British Museum I saw a series of busts of Marcus Aurelius made during his youth. The first few showed him as he was prior to his ascension as Emperor: a cheerful kid of the sort you might see on a high school basketball team. Struggling to recall the mood of those faces, I chose the sport carefully. Not football, not swimming, I don't know what rugby players look like.. The last depiction of Marcus Aurelius had been made--or was judged to have been made--soon after the ascension. The face is a study in desolation.


Cool information,Zum.smiling face Your imagination is very good.




Think about it: many emperors before him had (let us say) said to themselves, Okay, my life will be without privacy; everything I do will be observed; there will be more work than a man can do. Enemies are pressing the empire from all sides. Every day I may be assassinated by . . . . (long list). However. If I desire anyone, I can have that one at once, for as long as I wish. If anyone vexes me, I can have that one put to death at once. Deal." Marcus Aurelius took on all the burdens of power and abjured all the perquisites.




Pertinent remarks,very keen psychoanalysis accompanied with good imagination. Quite an exercise in observation.




Thank you.
Zum
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#112 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/04/09 - 10:14 AM:

Thank you, Thinker.
Thinker13
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#113 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/07/09 - 9:46 AM:

Zum wrote:
Thank you, Thinker.



Welcome,Zum.
Zum
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#114 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/07/09 - 12:03 PM:

Power takes another form--that of artistic expression, which has the capacity to tell or to show multi-dimensional truth. If a work of art expresses--that is, if it does its job--the culture in which it appears generally appropriates and protects it. Thus the multi-dimensional expression comes to occupy a permanent place amid the symphony or cacophony of other voices.

In the twentieth century prior to WWII proper, fascist forces bombed, strafed, then rebombed a small Spanish town called Guernica. The inhabitants were peasants, non-combatants. Many were killed.

Have a look at the sentences in the previous paragraph. They are statements of fact. Probably the facts are about right; I just read about the onslaught. But reflect on the poverty of that account as contrasted with the (actually inexpressible) multiple calamities that occurred then. In contrast with experience, a factual report is an abstraction, almost an invention.

Paradoxically, art can capture more of the truth. Have a look at Picasso's "Guernica," peruse Chaim Potok's Davita's Harp. Multi-dimensional truth resides there.

Art has a truth-telling power that overrides the reductiveness and dismissiveness of factual reporting. If I write a merely factual sentence about Guernica (see the sample above), an invisible sub-text appears under it: this sub-text may be the product of my desire to limit the truth, of my desire not to see the whole truth, of my wish to place myself in a position superior to that of the truth and to correct the truth by means of eviscerated utterance. The sub-text whispers, "This is really all that happened. This is all one needs to know about what happened."

As humans, we all want to do this. Art overcomes this lazy-mindedness
and failure of courage.
Zum
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#115 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/08/09 - 1:35 AM:

-
The power involved in artistic expression is also intrapersonal.

Let me make the categorical statement that suffering neglects no one. A quality of suffering is that, when one is experiencing it, one is subject to it. Ongoing suffering has the upper hand in relation to the sufferer: he is in its power. For some, the powerlessness involved is probably at least as onerous as the suffering itself. The foregoing applies quite obviously to physical pain. In a particular way it applies to emotional suffering also.

Emotional suffering can involve and exhaust a greater portion of the psyche than physical suffering. It can invite dialogue; ask impossible questions; whine, blame and rage; define reality; go on and on. It can become an obnoxious interior guest.

I don't think that this is esoteric. Everybody has experienced this or knows someone who has...

So, as in the case of physical pain, emotional pain, with its complications, can ascend to a position of dominance within an individual, presenting its agenda whenever it feels inclined... Various cultures have offered remedies for this condition. Art done for the sake of a cure would perhaps result in self referential, ineffective work. But I think that art that expresses multi-dimensional truth presupposes the subjection of emotional suffering.

When art is undertaken as a practice, the neophyte may intuits that in the process of so doing, she is declaring war on the dominance of emotional suffering. But with this project in mind, he is no longer interested in anesthetizing the suffering: it has become invaluable. She will study its pathos, its poignant claims, from a position of power; she will use it as part of her material. Not only that. If he is to create art, there must be no trace of self-reference or self pity in the work. This is so even if she writes memoirs in the first person.
Zum
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#116 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/08/09 - 10:33 AM:

Aw. I caught a typo in the last post. In the last paragraph, it should be, of course "may intuit."

The shifts from masculine pronoun to feminine & back are intentional. I tried it as a way of dealing with that grammatical hassle...
Zum
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#117 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/10/09 - 6:11 PM:

The creation of art involves a certain seniority over--as distinguished from dominance of--external reality. I believe that this seniority would hold only within the context of the artistic creation. Outside of it, the artist would be as helpless as other humans...wink
Zum
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#118 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/12/09 - 1:24 PM:

For example, Chaim Potok, in describing the destruction of Guernica, a catastrophe that occurred during his lifetime, took seniority over the event, over the oceanic suffering that must have occurred there, and over his own distress that such a thing could occur and that such things occur often. This seniority lasted throughout the creative process; his helpless suffering as a man was a precondition of this artistic privilege.
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#119 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/13/09 - 7:14 AM:

If I may be permitted,to present,slightly different view of your idea. It seems that any creative individual creates from a position of stillness. From a top beyond mind. This,may be translated as a detached state. It seems to be connected to your notion of 'seniority'.



Thank you.
Zum
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#120 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/14/09 - 12:11 AM:

Yes. I find that I agree. The creative place does seem to be a place of stillness! So then, how did Dostoyevski write his books?
Zum
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#121 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/14/09 - 12:12 AM:

That is, how did he write about chaos from stillness?
Thinker13
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#122 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/15/09 - 10:15 AM:

Zum wrote:
Yes. I find that I agree. The creative place does seem to be a place of stillness! So then, how did Dostoyevski write his books?



Well,it is a question,easy as well as not so easy to answer. Easy,because,as a concept,creative individual creates from a position beyond mind. Or say,true creativity springs from that source. Difficult to answer because,Nietzsches,Dostoveskies and Wittgensteins create in different manner,they have,their unique ways of working. For example,your chum(if you do not mind) Nietzsche was fond of long walks and then scribbled down all of his insights randomly.
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#123 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/15/09 - 10:17 AM:

Zum wrote:
That is, how did he write about chaos from stillness?



The center of the whirlpool is always quiet. Fyodor Dostovesky had epileptic siezure, raptures were ecstatic. He was a very acutely conscious individual,as most great writers are.



Thank you.
Zum
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#124 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 10/19/09 - 3:00 PM:

Those who write or play or scupt or paint daily may find, after long usage, that a place of stillness accumulates around them when they sit down before the computer or pick up the horn, chisel or brush. A thing devoutly to be wished.
Zum
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#125 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 11/02/09 - 10:08 AM:

The place of stillness is a place of power if by power one means the capacity to move external reality. Yet the the candy, the elixir of triumph may or may not come to the artist.

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