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.

Is war inevitable for peace?

War is peace. It was one of the slogans of George Orwell’s novel 1984. War is definitely not for peace but is it always the case? Wars can be fought by people who are in search of wealth and they want to exploit resources of other nations who have plenty. The wars waged on the old Indus valley civilization is attributed to this fact. Another reason is of expansionist approach, the will to have a great empire. The imperial endeavor of Roman civilization, Alexander’s wars, Genghis khan’s regime are some of the examples of this approach. Wars are also fought by nations craving to create hegemony of their civilization or political ideology. American war with Soviet block is based on the very belief that the system of capitalism is better than communist ideology. Although there are material benefits for ruling civilizations but on the surface their claim is of a superior set of ideologies.

Wars are also fought by the oppressed class of people against the oppressors. The oppression can be economic or ideological but it is one of the main reasons of many wars. The wars between Catholics and Protestants were fought because the latter were oppressing the middle class of the society. French Revolution was brought forth by the shear despotic rule of Louis XVI and it resulted in subsequent Napoleonic wars. These wars helped the oppressors vent out their loss against the oppressors but these wars bear witness to the fact that wars are also fought by the oppressed against the oppressors.

Can wars bring peace to the society? Wars have certainly benefited humanity through rapid technological advancements but these wars make human divide sturdy thus slowing down the process of global consensus. Global consensus is the goal of humanity on this earth because it is something that extracts all the goodness in human beings and guides them towards the fulfillment of their purpose of life.

Can we move on towards global consensus (thereby making wars obsolete) through our current political systems and separate national identities? No, in my opinion it is very difficult to do so in the present scenario. The boundaries between nations seems to be mocking this concept of global consensus. Wars will thus remain a potential threat unless we move towards greater understanding of our fellow beings and begin to appreciate the goodness in them.

If we suppose that a Utopian nation is founded on the basis of this coherent consensus of people, does it mean that it will not have any friction with other nations? It will have no friction if others have gone through a similar experience. It means if the basis of this global consensus is formed on the common grounds of what every nation believes, it is possible. It is possible then to make the world a true democracy. It is with extreme difficulty, we humans can be able to perform this feat. The challenge is to cope with those whose authority resides in their vested interests of discontent within people and societies. If we create a world where this consensus can become the driving force, those oppressors will eventually come to the right path or they will be left within small confines of their own world and their authority will be stripped down from them.

From these views I have to conclude that peace does not depend on wars rather it is totally dependent on the ‘will to will the common will‘.

P.S: This post was inspired by nmr.