Forms of Power

“When a pig with a rope round its middle is hoisted squealing into a ship, it is subject to direct physical power over its body. On the other hand, when the proverbial donkey follows the proverbial carrot, we induce him to act as we wish by persuading him that it is to his interest to do so. Intermediate between these two cases is that of performing animals, in whom habits have been formed by rewards and punishments; also, in a different way, that of sheep induced to embark on a ship, when the leader has to be dragged across the gangway by force, and the rest then follow willingly.

All these forms of power are exemplified among human beings. The case of the pig illustrates military and police power. The donkey with the carrot typifies the power of propaganda. Performing animals show the power of ‘education’.

The sheep following their unwilling leader are illustrative of party politics, whenever, as is usual, a revered leader is in bondage to be a clique or to party bosses.

Let us apply these Aesopian analogies to the rise of Hitler. The carrot was the Nazi program (involving e.g. the abolition of interest); the donkey was the lower middle class. The sheep and their leader were the Social Democrats and Hindenburg. The pigs (only so far as their misfortunes are concerned) were the victims in concentration camps, and the performing animals are the millions who make the Nazi salute.”

Power, Bertrand Russell



This post is in connection with Against all odds! John G. Stoessinger writes in “Why Nations Go to War”, “the case material reveals that perhaps the most important single precipitating factor in the outbreak of war is misconception. Such distortion may manifest itself in four different ways: in a leader’s image of himself; a leader’s view of his adversary’s character; a leader’s view of his adversary’s capabilities and power.”

It indicates towards the scenario in which a war is waged. The thing hinted here is the situation in which wars are fought, misconceptions. If there are misconceptions in the minds of leaders what would be the mental state of those in real time battle?

Against all odds!

Why would someone go and conquer Mount Everest? Why any human would desire to build a tomb in Pyramids? Why would someone dive 300 meters down in the sea? Why would there be people who spent their whole lives in creating art or symphony? There is going to be tons of books and petabytes of data that will still not suffice what we have accomplished together as humans. It is only because human will and potential wants to assert itself. The will itself is as deep as the ocean and as high as the skies. Against all odds we have passed through time and our will has built the world we see today.

Human will continues to manifests in individuals and civilizations. It is of great interest to understand when ‘human will’ exerts itself in its full capacity and what is its prime impetus? This question interests me because this will lead to my understanding of what moves people to act. I don’t want to be biased but my heart says that it must be ‘love’ and ‘freedom’. Love that is unconditional and freedom that makes people conscious of their abilities of self control.

Is it in the times of war or in times of peace that we tend to become more conscious of our potential to proclaim our will to act? Is this gist of action born in  minds of Philosophers/Scholars or Revolutionaries or Generals?

These questions must be approached from a standpoint of a mere unbiased observer. It will surely point towards things of utility that war and peace, reign of philosophers/scholars, revolutionaries, and generals have brought in their sphere of influence. But still consequences of everyone of these have to be studied. These times and personalities come to my mind because they have some distinct qualities, that have necessitated their ability to influence the society. Tomorrow I will try to write about wars.

Your input is highly appreciated.

Reviving the spirit of writing!

In past few months I haven’t written anything. The out-pour of words was completely seized and I couldn’t muster up any strength to write. In my conviction for writing there is only one reason I want to speak up/write everything I believe in.

So, today I am lying down in my bed enjoying the respite on weekend and thinking of reviving the same conviction again. I thank all of those who have visited my blog and I request to you to please join in on my journey again.