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. See this post to better understand my creative process. Thank you for your interest and patience!
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.
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)