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Thread: The Definition of Power

  1. #16
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    I think YesNo is right, I am not sure what the concept of God adds to our understanding, as long as we respect that those who believe in God may have their own ideas about that.

  2. #17
    After looking into The Wealth of Nations, I realize that Adam Smith was actually very concerned about the equality of men, although he saw free market capitalism to be the best way to enrich the entire nation. He puts a strong emphasis on the responsibility of the powerful - he is against the corporatism of his time. Large corporations always want to eliminate competition to ensure unhindered growth. Smith sees monopolies created by large corporations as something that perverts the natural flow of the free market.

    So what I get out of this is that Smith is strongly concerned with people's liberty and providing opportunities to as many as possible. The powerful should share their power, not to use their power to crush anyone who oppose their interests. Smith's idealistic view of the free market is however a product of his time - a time before industrialization and global marketplace. His ideas can't really be adjusted to deal with the massive challenges that arise with trade between nations that have radically different labor laws and GDPs. Perhaps he would be more accepting of protectionist policies after seeing the unemployment and poverty his ideas of free trade have created.
    De omnibus dubitandum.

  3. #18
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    This is an interesting angle on Smith, F.M.

  4. #19
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    I have not read Smith, but I suspect a current economic libertarian position would be similar to what you describe, Freudian Monkey. Today there is globally a lot of debt which threatens the world economy since the debt may not be able to be repaid. My own view as an individual would be to avoid debt as the best way to protect those around me. That would be a very negative, bearish social mood position.

  5. #20
    Can you recommend any other thinkers who would have interesting angles to the concept of power? I mainly basing my thoughts on personal experiences, practical life management guides like The Power of Habit & No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline, as well as philosophy of Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. But I'm sure the concept has been explored by a horde of other thinkers.
    De omnibus dubitandum.

  6. #21
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    This may be more of an indirect reference, but I think Will Johnson's "The Posture of Meditation" may be related to power in some way. It is not going to appear to be related on the surface. He is mainly interested in how to sit for meditation. The back has to be straight. The knees are lower than the hips. The shoulders should be back for deeper breathing. This leads into postures for walking and regular sitting at a computer. There may be some videos on YouTube about this to try if you can't find the book.

    The reason I think it relates to power is because it helps clarify the mind and deepen the breathing which would be the basis for power.

  7. #22
    Thank you for the suggestion! Power is very tightly connected to physical well-being, so things like proper breathing and good posture are extraordinarily important for developing power. Regular meditation on the other hand is a good practice to gain more thorough control over one's internal reality.
    De omnibus dubitandum.

  8. #23
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    I don't meditate as much as I should. It wasn't until I read Johnson's book that my problems with sitting on the floor were resolved. I was doing it wrong. Depending on one's body one needs to sit on something to raise one's body enough to keep the back straight and the breathing deep. My body needed something to sit on like a pillow to get into the proper posture. And then I could sit there comfortably for a long time.

    What I have mainly tried is Eknath Easwaran's "passage meditation" where one memorizes a text and repeats it slowing for a period of time. This is different from focusing on the breath and incorporates words into the process.

    Another thing I am looking into now is HeartMath. They emphasize the communal nature of our positive emotions and thoughts, but mainly our emotions. In a sense this could be a test of the "power" behind such practices because they collect data from those using their heart monitoring tools. I haven't tried it yet.

  9. #24
    I think I will do some practical research on the nature of Power during the coming weeks and months. I will travel on a business trip to Bangladesh and India, both of which I've never visited before. I've already noticed how building a social network of local business associates can solve many problems I first thought were huge obstacles. To me it's fascinating to see how people willingly share Power with each other - how it's not a zero sum game at all. Also, I really want to delve into the institutional power structures and how they can be used to increase rather than hinder one's own power. What are the cogs one has to grease or the valves one has to turn to get to power engines running?
    De omnibus dubitandum.

  10. #25
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    I hope you are successful with your research.

  11. #26
    Visited a mid-sized Bangladeshi garment factory yesterday. I saw a lot of very young children working there, maybe 10-15 year old girls. However now that I've gotten to know some locals and have began to understand the realities of a third world country like Bangladesh a little bit, I can't get myself to be disgusted or appalled like a true Westerner should. These girls are children of families living in extreme poverty, with no chance to go to school or do any other type of work. So it's either that they will sit at home, watching their grand parents starve in front of their eyes, or they can work in a factory and collect at least some money that can help the family survive a little better. 20 years ago women were mostly staying at home and they didn't have any job opportunities at all. They couldn't even try to achieve financial independence back then.

    The ideal scenario of course is that these children could go to school just like children of wealthy families. However there doesn't seem to be enough NGO funded schools for all these children. Dhaka is full of street children. A couple of days ago I met a local representative of a large international charity organization. He made it clear that there's no way all these children can be reached without an extensive, government-driven educational reform. Bangladesh is actually progressing very nicely - the infrastructure is getting better every day, the country is becoming more prosperous.

    Here there's no room for Western entitlement mentality. You either work hard from childhood or you and your family suffer. People here are extraordinarily entrepreneurial - everyone seems to have a small business: many own real estate, others purchase land, some sell sugarcane juice on the side of a dusty road.

    I can't but be impressed by all the life energy that surrounds me here. Everyone is struggling to improve, to gain control over their chaotic external reality. Everyone is hospitable and friendly. I love it here.
    De omnibus dubitandum.

  12. #27
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    So there are no publically-funded schools in Bangladesh? Or there are such schools but the 10 year olds feel pressured to go to work by their families?

    My mother had to do this in 1930s Hungary, though not at the age of 10, after the period of compulsory school. Her father, who was a chronic alcoholic, quite simply insisted that she leave school and begin work to support the family, alongside her mother. She was the eldest child in the family with several younger brothers and sisters.

    She decided to move to England and work as a maid to support her father's alcohol consumption. Which she did. She was good at school, she showed me her latest school results which were all excellent.

  13. #28
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    Power in human terms is greatly connected to wealth. If you are desperate to survive you are powerless driven by need and there are millions in that position. If you have to work long hours to pay your rent and feed your family you are locked into work bondage and have no power. If you have an average or low IQ you may fine !ow paid work and your power to earn is small you are bound by circumstances.
    In India 200 million people defacate outside they haven't even the power to sit on a toilet seat.

  14. #29
    I discussed about education today with a local friend and he told me that education is free up until 8th grade for girls, boys maybe until 5th grade. But there are a lot of problems with fulfilling this promise, since teachers get paid so little that they often don't bother to show up to work. This obviously increases the dropout rates and makes successful completion of end-of-year exams next to impossible for the unfortunate students. But I don't really know the whole truth about education in Bangladesh, or why so many young girls end up working in garment factories. I took a lot of photos and video and can say with 99% certainty that many girls working in the factory were under age. But as I said before, I can understand that education is a luxury in certain parts of the world and not all families can afford this luxury. It might be better for a child to go to work and help the family than to try to attend a school where he/she doesn't get proper education.

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnocrat View Post
    Power in human terms is greatly connected to wealth. If you are desperate to survive you are powerless driven by need and there are millions in that position. If you have to work long hours to pay your rent and feed your family you are locked into work bondage and have no power. If you have an average or low IQ you may fine !ow paid work and your power to earn is small you are bound by circumstances.
    In India 200 million people defacate outside they haven't even the power to sit on a toilet seat.
    I agree. One of the most important developmental programs in India is definitely to increase the availability of toilets and to increase the quality of waste management in general. Building a hygienic toilet is actually rather labor intensive work and therefore slums rarely have any kind of toilets. Also, building toilers isn't very catchy theme for charity fundraising - they rather focus on education or nutrition that are more likely to appeal to a broad audience of donators. No one wants to tell their friends at work that he donated to charity to build a toilet in Jamnagar.
    Last edited by Freudian Monkey; 02-28-2017 at 10:26 AM.
    De omnibus dubitandum.

  15. #30
    I'm still very much fascinated by this topic. If anyone has further comments or opinions on it, I would like to discuss more about it.
    De omnibus dubitandum.

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