My name is Elizaveta Friesem. I am an independent scholar and non-fiction writer. My passion is exploring philosophical questions related to human nature and mysterious workings of society. My goal is to promote social change based on self-awareness and empathy, as opposed to blame. I strive to make scholarly ideas accessible for a broad audience and applicable to people's everyday lives. You can read more about me here.
The project you will find on this website grew out of my belief that understanding power is essential for helping us all live in a better world. The project also reflects my frustration with blame-based calls for social change. I have noticed that discussions about a variety of social problems tend to revolve around such questions as “Whose fault is it?” and "Who should we force to change in order to fix this?" People participating in countless debates choose different answers, depending on their circumstances. However, the blame remains the shared tendency. After doing some reading and writing, I came to the conclusion that this tendency is based on the interpretation of power as a binary: some of us by definition have power while others don’t. I also realized that an alternative – more nuanced – interpretation exists, but it is much less popular or even visible.
The project you will find here is not going to invent the wheel, in a sense that it’s not promoting a radically new perspective that has never been presented before. Ideas that I want to promote have been scattered throughout many disciplines and practices. In writing this hypertext book, I am drawing on my strength of connecting existing dots in new ways. I chose the hypertext format in order to be able to explore these connections in the least constrained manner. The downside of this approach is its inherent open-endedness. Browsing this website is, essentially, looking at work in progress. I have to admit that I feel nervous as I let you see my messy and unpredictable creative process. The only way to overcome the fear of imperfection is through vulnerability, the skill that has been so masterfully described by Brené Brown.
I acknowledge my subjectivity. Everything you will read here is my interpretation, even when I describe other people's ideas or practices. I also realize that any form of scholarship related to understanding relationships between human beings can be nothing but subjective. Being honest about this limitation is probably the best we can do when studying ourselves.
I must say that part of me is afraid to share my exploration with the world because of how politicized conversations about power can be. I can imagine people saying: “How dare she suggest that society is not divided into powerful and powerless ones?” By working on this project, I am hoping to show that my interpretation is not a bizarre outlier. It is actually supported by many different scholars and practitioners (although they approach power in many different ways, not always using the word "power").
As I am working on this hypertext independently, it will take me time to develop my ideas and show existing connections properly. I launched the project in November 2021, and have been progressing very slowly since then. Please, be patient about the fact that many pages of this website contain disorganized notes rather than coherent entries. You can see a list of completed pages here. Thank you for your understanding!
If you find this project intriguing and want to chat with me about it, please use the contact page on my official website. Remember that my project about power is a book, no matter how unusual the format is. If you want to refer to my work, please cite it according to the format of your choice.
Speaking of authorship, it is important to acknowledge that the image of the fractal featured on each page of this website is by Frank Cone.Other pages feature credited images and pictures that I took myself.
If you are interested in getting updates about this project (e.g., when new pages are published), please sign up for the newsletter on my main website.