PAGE IN PROGRESS What you see here is a page of my hypertext book POWER of meanings // MEANINGS of power. Initially empty, this page will slowly be filled with thoughts, notes, and quotes. One day, I will use them to write a coherent entry, similar to these completed pages. Thank you for your interest and patience!
No person is absolutely powerful or absolutely powerless. Power and powerlessness are mixed in every situation, every interaction, even every action.
Big problem : people don’t know what they have power over and what they don’t (Also they don’t know this about others) « give ne strength to change what I can change, courage to accept what I cannot change, etc »
power does not mean strength as opposed to powerlessness that means weakness powerlessness - each individual is not able to do everything and influence everyone; each individual has some things she/he cannot do; each individual is influenced by others; that’s not a negative things its not a weakness in a sense that it’s logical and expected that each one of us is not able to do everything and is inevitably influenced by many factors and circumstances
Van Gough - struggling physically and mentally (powerlessness) but creating paintings that impacted people all over the globe (power)
One can have power due to having a certain ability and lack power because of the lack of another ability. One can have power due to access to one resource and lack power due to lack of access to another resource. Different types of power that each individual has also change over time. This is why it is misleading to take about a person as powerful or powerless because it obscures the complexity of different forms of power.
if we look at specific relationships and specific situations within these relationships (snapshot power) power and powerlessness are easier to distinguish. But the more we zoom out of specific relationships and situations, the more power and powerlessness are mixed. These are two planes of social existence, both of them are real. So we cannot argue that some people don’t have more power than others but we also cannot argue that on the grand scheme power and powerlessness are hopelessly mixed. These realization should have consequences for our understanding of responsibility, accountability and blame.
it’s about understanding what we can control and what we can’t AND what others cannot control and can control. There are numerous misunderstandings that lead to suffering and hurting each per because we are trying to control what we cannot and don’t try to change what we can AND because we expect from other to change what they cannot and don’t ask them to change what they can
Seeing somebody as simply powerful or powerless in general, regardless of circumstances, would be a mistake. It it an oversimplification that can happen when we do not see the complexity of what is commonly called "power."
Powerful and powerless is seen as descriptions of different group of people. But words powerful and powerless can be used to describe the same individual. Because what we call "power" is actually a constantly changing combination of abilities (what we can and cannot do) and influences (influencing others and being influenced), one person can be described as having and lacking different kinds of power simultaneously.
power is always mixed with powerlessness. Nobody even has complete power, which would mean having all abilities and no disabilities, having all the influence and not being influenced
Our influence (power) always coexists with inability (powerlessness) to predict all the ramifications and scope of our actions, and also the inability to understand cause of our actions (it’s not just our choice; e.g. language speaks through us; tradition speaks through us; we reproduce cultural norms, etc.)
Power abuses stem from the combination of powerfulness and powerlessness of the person who abuses power. Abusing power is an attempt to regain control, so it starts with the lack of control/power
all great manifestation of power can be also seen as implicit manifestations of powerlessness kings built magestic palaces for themselves using their power over their subjects, but these palaces were necessary to prove that kings had power (and such desire comes from subconscious perception of one’s powerlessness) versailles - the hall of mirrors status requires that people buy certain things, live their life a certain way; the high status is precarious
powerlessness turning into anxiety that can be harmful for us: https://www.sabervivirtv.com/medicina-general/cinco-cosas-que-alargan-nuestra-vida_921 ” . El estrés se convierte en distrés o estrés malo cuando percibes que la situación te supera. Lo vives como una amenaza, con angustia y deseando que pase. Puede acabar bloqueándote o desencadenar crisis de ansiedad o angustia. Hace que liberes cortisol que, entre otras cosas, debilita el sistema inmune, provoca depresión, aumenta el riesgo de cáncer...”
because we exist in multiple relationships simultaneously, we can have some power and some powerlessness at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive.
Skye from paw patrol wants to get and misusespower because she feels that she is is powerless
Photo by Luis Quintero: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-pink-and-blue-abstract-painting-2471235/
Oppressors vs oppressed: somebody who is oppressed can be/become an oppressor
historical examples: Christianity was a minority sect, first Christian very martyrs trying to maintain their religion later on, Christianity became a major religion with Christians oppressing others
specific example within Christianity: Protestants were a minority and had to fight for their right to practice religion their way (fighting with Catholics). Many English-speaking Protestants went to North America to be free. Protestants became majority in the US oppressing others. Catholics were a minority that was frowned upon (when Kennedy became a president, some people were very suspicious of him because he came from a catholic family)
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