Power corrupts

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Power corrupts

#1  Postby TMB » Jan 16, 2014 1:58 am

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a familiar saying to many, however do we look deeper to see how rational or logical it is? I get the idea that many people accept this at face value as being largely true, yet I see a conflict between and objective measure of power and the moral assumptions that outcomes from power scenarios are morally bad (or good).

To look at this in more detail, we need to be clear about the meaning of power. I am aware of many definitions, however I suggest that power is that which allows us to achieve selfish outcomes and influence outcomes for other people. This mechanism has no intrinsic moral content, however the definition implies that it is morally wrong for us to do things that serve selfish needs at the possible expense of others, or do things that affect outcomes for other people.

Aside from the implications this has for morality itself, starting with a mixed epithet like the above is just one example where moral content is assumed and overlaid on something that is inherently amoral. Once tagged with a moral, it does not seem possible to de-label something. However this mechanism prevents objective debate on the reality of things like power.

My interest in debating this is around power itself (in all its definitions), as well as my observation that humans tend to already have a moral standpoint on things (inherited from our peers) which colors the way we look at reality and prevents truly rational discussion.

Thoughts?
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Re: Power corrupts

#2  Postby igorfrankensteen » Jan 16, 2014 2:10 am

You know, there really needs to be a "one ring to rule them all" wise saying. Perhaps something along the lines of "you have to be wise, before you can truly understand wise sayings and apply them properly."

The admonition you are starting from is not a Proven Theory of any kind. It's more like a general admonition, designed to warn you against allowing others to have unlimited power over you. The reason it is repeated as often as it is, has more to do with the fact that it sounds kicky than anything else.

There is no proof that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." If there were, the theists would be very unhappy, for one thing.
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Re: Power corrupts

#3  Postby consistency » Jan 16, 2014 2:26 am

Real power is rare.

If everyone is born with power(will power), the power to influence others, as in control one's own ego and everyone elses ego, then we wouldn't have a population of people that are always trying to prove their worth to the world. As in women wearing make up, men shaving their beard with a certain kind of pattern, people wearing jewelery, and anything else external to grab the attention of others.

The power you are referring to isn't real power but an illusion of egotism.

Real power brings people together for the greater good.
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Re: Power corrupts

#4  Postby TMB » Jan 16, 2014 2:37 am

Igor, I do not see how this answers my OP
“You know, there really needs to be a "one ring to rule them all" wise saying. Perhaps something along the lines of "you have to be wise, before you can truly understand wise sayings and apply them properly."

Are you saying that I have taken a position of trying to state the ‘one ring’, however will fall short because I am unable to truly understand this saying. If so, I suggest that you have missed my point, as I will explain below

“The admonition you are starting from is not a Proven Theory of any kind. It's more like a general admonition, designed to warn you against allowing others to have unlimited power over you.

We agree, I did not say it was proven, more that people, sheeplike tend to take it face value without looking deeper. It also depends on what you mean by ‘corrupt’ and this is where the moral assumption comes in. I argue that formal and political society has a subtle message that says, “equality of people is a good thing, equal rights for all blah blah”, and while the reality is somewhat different, this is still what they say. This means that when someone says that power corrupts, people think they know that this means someone with absolute power will be doing things to the disadvantage of members of their society, usually to benefit themselves.
The reason it is repeated as often as it is, has more to do with the fact that it sounds kicky than anything else.

Agreed, that is because people look no further than skin deep, and is the reason why political slogans and educational indoctrination works so well, people are not required to understand the reality, but they are required to understand the morality of situations.

There is no proof that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." If there were, the theists would be very unhappy, for one thing.

I am not saying this, however because of the way we invent morality, we are able to get this to prove itself. If morality is just a subjective cloak overlain on reality (as I believe it to be), there is no need to go through the proving process because enough people will accept it at face value. If a proving process were undertaken we would quickly realise that trying to define and fence morality is not a rational or logical process. And hence my reason for posting what I did, so I think your response is not aligned to my intention.
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Re: Power corrupts

#5  Postby TMB » Jan 16, 2014 2:50 am

Consistency, you said
If everyone is born with power(will power), the power to influence others, as in control one's own ego and everyone elses ego, then we wouldn't have a population of people that are always trying to prove their worth to the world. As in women wearing make up, men shaving their beard with a certain kind of pattern, people wearing jewelery, and anything else external to grab the attention of others.

I agree, power is very dynamic, and we see a constant struggle everywhere as every life form tries to control outcomes in their favour. It is the underlying principle for life and evolution by natural selection. If something was not able to control outcomes in their favour, at least for part of their generation, their genes would not have made it to the next generation. Humans and all things living today are products of billions of generations of living entities who have succeeded in replicating their genes in a world of constant competition. It means two things, each of us have inherited attributes that make us expert at manipulating things to our advantage, and secondly every other life form around us is the same and we are in various types of competition with all of them. Life is an arms race.

The power you are referring to isn't real power but an illusion of egotism.

I agree that egotism is part of the equation, however it does not change the fact that power is about how much control you have over outcomes in your favour, or your groups favour, and the fact that it will be in competition with others also seeking advantage. You might want to use a different label than ‘power’ however then we just sink into the semantic bog.

Real power brings people together for the greater good.

What does this mean? I see good as a moral assumption and relative. How do you rationally link something that can be objectively described (like power even if with difficulty) with a moral like ‘good’. that has no objective basis, unless you introduce a deity, and that itself has no objective basis. ‘Goodness’ has no objective description, yet you are stating that is has a logical connection to power, something that I suggest can be objectively described.
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Re: Power corrupts

#6  Postby igorfrankensteen » Jan 16, 2014 12:30 pm

TMB wrote:Igor, I do not see how this answers my OP
“You know, there really needs to be a "one ring to rule them all" wise saying. Perhaps something along the lines of "you have to be wise, before you can truly understand wise sayings and apply them properly."

Are you saying that I have taken a position of trying to state the ‘one ring’, however will fall short because I am unable to truly understand this saying. If so, I suggest that you have missed my point, as I will explain below

“The admonition you are starting from is not a Proven Theory of any kind. It's more like a general admonition, designed to warn you against allowing others to have unlimited power over you.

We agree, I did not say it was proven, more that people, sheeplike tend to take it face value without looking deeper. It also depends on what you mean by ‘corrupt’ and this is where the moral assumption comes in. I argue that formal and political society has a subtle message that says, “equality of people is a good thing, equal rights for all blah blah”, and while the reality is somewhat different, this is still what they say. This means that when someone says that power corrupts, people think they know that this means someone with absolute power will be doing things to the disadvantage of members of their society, usually to benefit themselves.
The reason it is repeated as often as it is, has more to do with the fact that it sounds kicky than anything else.

Agreed, that is because people look no further than skin deep, and is the reason why political slogans and educational indoctrination works so well, people are not required to understand the reality, but they are required to understand the morality of situations.

There is no proof that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." If there were, the theists would be very unhappy, for one thing.

I am not saying this, however because of the way we invent morality, we are able to get this to prove itself. If morality is just a subjective cloak overlain on reality (as I believe it to be), there is no need to go through the proving process because enough people will accept it at face value. If a proving process were undertaken we would quickly realise that trying to define and fence morality is not a rational or logical process. And hence my reason for posting what I did, so I think your response is not aligned to my intention.


Where I suspect I don't understand you, is that your starting post SEEMED to be entirely based around discussing the validity of the "absolute power corrupts absolutely," without providing any context for it's application. That is what I responded to.

If you have a specific context, then we can debate whether the wise saying does or doesn't apply, and what it's constituent words would refer to.

Without context, there is no way to assign mutually acceptable definitions to any of the saying's words.
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Re: Power corrupts

#7  Postby tuco » Jan 16, 2014 12:45 pm

Animal Farm.

Put 3 year old kids in pairs. Give one of them, in each pair, 10 chocolate tokens. Tell them, the one holding the tokens will need to divide them between the two in pair, however, they will only be allowed to keep the divided chocolate if both agree with division made by the one initially in possession. Its likely that some ratio(interval), kids in pairs to agree on, will emerge and if so the question is: What made the ratio to come about, respectively what made the kids to agree on such ratio? Power corrupts from its nature, the human nature or the nature of the hairless apes. Not always and in exactly same volumes, but it tends to.

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Re: Power corrupts

#8  Postby TMB » Jan 17, 2014 1:39 am

igor
Where I suspect I don't understand you, is that your starting post SEEMED to be entirely based around discussing the validity of the "absolute power corrupts absolutely," without providing any context for it's application. That is what I responded to.

Here is the context from the original post, I have broken it down into the points that illustrate my post not to be about ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’
"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a familiar saying to many, however do we look deeper to see how rational or logical it is?

I get the idea that many people accept this at face value as being largely true, yet I see a conflict between and objective measure of power and the moral assumptions that outcomes from power scenarios are morally bad

we need to be clear about the meaning of power

power is that which allows us to achieve selfish outcomes and influence outcomes for other people. This mechanism has no intrinsic moral content, however the definition implies that it is morally wrong for us to do things that serve selfish needs at the possible expense of others, or do things that affect outcomes for other people.

humans tend to already have a moral standpoint on things (inherited from our peers) which colors the way we look at reality and prevents truly rational discussion.

If you have a specific context, then we can debate whether the wise saying does or doesn't apply, and what it's constituent words would refer to.

See above

Without context, there is no way to assign mutually acceptable definitions to any of the saying's words.

See above
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Re: Power corrupts

#9  Postby TMB » Jan 17, 2014 1:45 am

Tuco, you said,
Animal Farm.

Put 3 year old kids in pairs. Give one of them, in each pair, 10 chocolate tokens. Tell them, the one holding the tokens will need to divide them between the two in pair, however, they will only be allowed to keep the divided chocolate if both agree with division made by the one initially in possession. Its likely that some ratio(interval), kids in pairs to agree on, will emerge and if so the question is: What made the ratio to come about, respectively what made the kids to agree on such ratio? Power corrupts from its nature, the human nature or the nature of the hairless apes. Not always and in exactly same volumes, but it tends to.

You are making a moral assumption that unequal division of resources is corrupt in this example just as Orwell did in Animal Farm. Is it because we do not have to argue the case that unequal treatment is morally bad, despite the fact it is so prevalent. Where is the rational process that defines what makes something bad, and so self evident it does not need to be justified?
If you read my post again with this in mind you will see where I am coming from. I am trying to step back from the moral assumption of badness that is associated with power, and look at the social forces that created this moral assumption and firmly indoctrinated it into human society. Aside from the fact that inequity is prevalent and many if not most people seek inequity (advantage) for themselves yet all agree they inequity is morally bad – ie. Corrupted and the mechanism of power allows this to be so.
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Re: Power corrupts

#10  Postby igorfrankensteen » Jan 17, 2014 11:43 pm

TMB wrote:igor
Where I suspect I don't understand you, is that your starting post SEEMED to be entirely based around discussing the validity of the "absolute power corrupts absolutely," without providing any context for it's application. That is what I responded to.

Here is the context from the original post, I have broken it down into the points that illustrate my post not to be about ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’
"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a familiar saying to many, however do we look deeper to see how rational or logical it is?

I get the idea that many people accept this at face value as being largely true, yet I see a conflict between and objective measure of power and the moral assumptions that outcomes from power scenarios are morally bad

we need to be clear about the meaning of power

power is that which allows us to achieve selfish outcomes and influence outcomes for other people. This mechanism has no intrinsic moral content, however the definition implies that it is morally wrong for us to do things that serve selfish needs at the possible expense of others, or do things that affect outcomes for other people.

humans tend to already have a moral standpoint on things (inherited from our peers) which colors the way we look at reality and prevents truly rational discussion.

If you have a specific context, then we can debate whether the wise saying does or doesn't apply, and what it's constituent words would refer to.

See above

Without context, there is no way to assign mutually acceptable definitions to any of the saying's words.

See above


I still have no idea what your context is. If the thread is NOT about the saying "absolute power corrupts absolutely",

then why is this your prime question:

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a familiar saying to many, however do we look deeper to see how rational or logical it is?


? Perhaps a language barrier is involved?
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Re: Power corrupts

#11  Postby TMB » Jan 18, 2014 4:53 am

igorfrankensteen wrote:
TMB wrote:igor
Where I suspect I don't understand you, is that your starting post SEEMED to be entirely based around discussing the validity of the "absolute power corrupts absolutely," without providing any context for it's application. That is what I responded to.

Here is the context from the original post, I have broken it down into the points that illustrate my post not to be about ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’
"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a familiar saying to many, however do we look deeper to see how rational or logical it is?

I get the idea that many people accept this at face value as being largely true, yet I see a conflict between and objective measure of power and the moral assumptions that outcomes from power scenarios are morally bad

we need to be clear about the meaning of power

power is that which allows us to achieve selfish outcomes and influence outcomes for other people. This mechanism has no intrinsic moral content, however the definition implies that it is morally wrong for us to do things that serve selfish needs at the possible expense of others, or do things that affect outcomes for other people.

humans tend to already have a moral standpoint on things (inherited from our peers) which colors the way we look at reality and prevents truly rational discussion.

If you have a specific context, then we can debate whether the wise saying does or doesn't apply, and what it's constituent words would refer to.

See above

Without context, there is no way to assign mutually acceptable definitions to any of the saying's words.

See above


I still have no idea what your context is. If the thread is NOT about the saying "absolute power corrupts absolutely",

then why is this your prime question:

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is a familiar saying to many, however do we look deeper to see how rational or logical it is?


? Perhaps a language barrier is involved?


I think you are probably right, there must be a language barrier, so no point in spending more time with this.
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Re: Power corrupts

#12  Postby Pebble » Jan 18, 2014 9:42 am

Power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others - irrespective of the presence of selfish gain. This can be achieved using many levers - force, intimidation, persuasion, mutual interest. As one moves down the scale the greater the likelihood that all would agree that benefit is shared. As one moves the other direction the less room for negotiation those influenced have, hence progress toward - 'absolute' power.
History is littered with examples where 'absolute' power has been resented by those subject to that system - think of Europe's 'progress' away from monarchy toward democracy, from the feudal system toward capitalism, or toward religious toleration.

Thus viewed from the position of the majority, arbitrary exercise of power over the individual has negative consequences - which we choose to call 'bad'.
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Re: Power corrupts

#13  Postby TMB » Jan 19, 2014 7:59 am

Pebble you said,
Power is the ability to influence the behaviour of others - irrespective of the presence of selfish gain.

I do not see the logic for this and think it is also to narrow. From an evolutionary perspective life forms are sustained for themselves and future generations through self interest – ie. Defined as meaning I want to exist and replicate, If you think that humans are evolved then self interest is adaptive and I cannot see the logic behind the existence of power with providing benefit – can you argue the case that supports your assertion.
I do not see power as limited either to other people only of living things. The ability to survive against wild animals, to domesticate livestock, to build houses against the elements etc, all these are ways we show we have the power to overcome or mitigate the effects of things that might kill or take advantage of us. Certainly it includes the ability to control and influence the behaviour, but I cannot see the value defining power so narrowly.
This can be achieved using many levers - force, intimidation, persuasion, mutual interest. As one moves down the scale the greater the likelihood that all would agree that benefit is shared. As one moves the other direction the less room for negotiation those influenced have, hence progress toward - 'absolute' power.

I assume you mean that the more evenly balanced power is then the more benefits are equitable. I agree and would say that this is one means to see how balanced the power is truly. There are many formal roles that carry significant responsibility that people consider to be powerful, however responsibility offsets this and often it is people associated with the person in the formal position that get the benefit.
History is littered with examples where 'absolute' power has been resented by those subject to that system - think of Europe's 'progress' away from monarchy toward democracy, from the feudal system toward capitalism, or toward religious toleration.

I would go further and say that every day that life has existed is a contest of power and that is why arms races are everywhere. Human formal governments are a small part of these. Even an unborn foetus is in competition with its mother, both sides have mechanisms in place to extract maximum value for themselves at the cost of the other. In the case of the mother and foetus it has evolved into an effective compromise. In the case of parasites and their host, the parasite can kill the host, however even here the fact that the parasites still exist means they have not completely wiped out the host to their own detriment.

Thus viewed from the position of the majority, arbitrary exercise of power over the individual has negative consequences - which we choose to call 'bad'.

I disagree, the majority, in the form of governments or peer pressure arsing in every human institution does arbitrarily exercise power over individuals and it is seen as good by the majority because individuals are required to be obedient, productive and compliant citizens in order to best serve the interests of the group. When they violate these they are punished. A good example is the imposition of discipline in western schools. Uniforms and non wearing of makeup is applied without any thought and the few exceptions are hard fought by parents and kids. This is the imposition of arbitrary standards that often exist for their own sake not because they have any actual merit. Groups impose these because they need conformity without question because anything less is a risk to the group.
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Re: Power corrupts

#14  Postby Pebble » Jan 19, 2014 10:14 am

The point about selfishness is that it is irrelevant to the definition. How one uses power has nothing to do with the definition.

Evolution is about gene survival, not individual. It is completely self defeating to have individuals capable of surviving through the destruction of all competition. That which promotes gene survival must allow for the prevalence of other copies of the same gene in other individuals, thus promoting a degree of co-operation. Without excellent co-opertative skills we would have gone the way of the neandethal, during hard times.

Individual skills are of course relevant to individual survival, but not directly part of what is ordinarly meant by 'power' as used in the OP.

The issue of compliance with power is that where this is achieved with consent, then compliance is greater. Where it is imposed without consultation or consent it is resented. In any group there will be individuals that do not consent and resent the rules governing interpersonal relationships and how they ought be conducted. Where the numbers resentful is small - force applied to this tiny fraction is consented to by the majority. Where force must be applied to the majority, then one is dealing with 'arbitrary/absolute' power. Rules are of course arbitrary in the sense that one can always change the criteria for what is allowed or not allowed, but if they are not consented to - i.e. seen as arbitrary rather than contributing to good order by the majority, then the meet the requirements I set out above.
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Re: Power corrupts

#15  Postby TMB » Jan 19, 2014 2:42 pm

Pebble you said
The point about selfishness is that it is irrelevant to the definition. How one uses power has nothing to do with the definition.

I cannot see how this comment relates to the intent of my OP and the discussion I am trying to have. Being selfish is relevant to my OP

Evolution is about gene survival, not individual.

Agreed
It is completely self defeating to have individuals capable of surviving through the destruction of all competition. That which promotes gene survival must allow for the prevalence of other copies of the same gene in other individuals, thus promoting a degree of co-operation. Without excellent co-opertative skills we would have gone the way of the neandethal, during hard times.

I agree with this, once again I do not see how these relate to the discussion of power dynamics.

Individual skills are of course relevant to individual survival, but not directly part of what is ordinarly meant by 'power' as used in the OP.

What point are you making? The skills of an individual affect their power and any aggregate of individual power in groups affects both the individuals and groups, and this is very much part of my OP.

The issue of compliance with power is that where this is achieved with consent, then compliance is greater. Where it is imposed without consultation or consent it is resented.

I would say that this depends upon the context, putting people in prison allows a high level of control over outcomes through enforced compliance, I would also say that compliance with consent means less power is involved unless the power is so subtle that the subject is unaware they are being subverted and believes they made an autonomous decision.
In any group there will be individuals that do not consent and resent the rules governing interpersonal relationships and how they ought be conducted. Where the numbers resentful is small - force applied to this tiny fraction is consented to by the majority. Where force must be applied to the majority, then one is dealing with 'arbitrary/absolute' power. Rules are of course arbitrary in the sense that one can always change the criteria for what is allowed or not allowed, but if they are not consented to - i.e. seen as arbitrary rather than contributing to good order by the majority, then the meet the requirements I set out above.

We are wandering into unrelated elements around power and losing coherence and the original intention, such is the nature of trying to engage in rigorous debate on forums.
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Re: Power corrupts

#16  Postby Pebble » Jan 19, 2014 5:17 pm

TMB wrote: I suggest that power is that which allows us to achieve selfish outcomes and influence outcomes for other people.


The definition of power is highly relevant as you have asserted.


TMB wrote:
My interest in debating this is around power itself (in all its definitions), as well as my observation that humans tend to already have a moral standpoint on things (inherited from our peers) which colors the way we look at reality and prevents truly rational discussion.

Thoughts?


Wandering into 'unrelated' elements is required if you wish to objectively explore why power can be seen as a force for 'good' or not depending on the degree of coercion involved. The moral investment in views about power can be seen more objectively by considering whether others agree with how it is being exercised. The preamble was to demonstrate that power relationships are not just necessary but evolutionarily determined.
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Re: Power corrupts

#17  Postby TMB » Jan 21, 2014 1:29 am

Pebble you said
Wandering into 'unrelated' elements is required if you wish to objectively explore why power can be seen as a force for 'good' or not depending on the degree of coercion involved.

I have no issue with the need to look at various elements, I meant that the design of a forum means that to keep coherence needs work. Now that you are responding within the context of my specific comments that your comments relate to it is easier to follow. BTW I have not asked if power can be seen as a force for good in relation to the degree of coercion. My point is that we already have moral assumptions of good and bad that are socially imposed and this means we are unable to examine the reality of things like power. You have raised the point about levels of coercion and without knowing that you exactly mean, I would say that most of the coercion is so subtle through social mechanisms that people believe they are making decisions as free-willed autonomous individuals, and are quite unaware that they are just reflecting social norms.

The moral investment in views about power can be seen more objectively by considering whether others agree with how it is being exercised.

I do not understand this logic. Are you saying that I will get a more objective understanding of moral assumptions involved in power dynamics if more (or less) people agree with my assertion. I do not see how greater or lesser number of opinions help with objectivity. I have teenage children and I can see how the education system indoctrinates their thinking in an attempt to build obedient, productive citizens. Even their extortions to be free thinking and independent spirits is just another aspect of their attempt to mould them.
The preamble was to demonstrate that power relationships are not just necessary but evolutionarily determined.

I have not said that power relationships are necessary, rather I consider them to be inevitable and a result of not just the existence of life but of matter as well. Anything that is able to prevail either as itself or through something it produces will have to retain that ability. If it does not it will no longer be in existence to demonstrate that lack of ability to prevail. To my mind this is the origin of all power dynamics that we see manifest in human society.
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Re: Power corrupts

#18  Postby tuco » Jan 21, 2014 9:50 am

TMB wrote:Tuco, you said,
Animal Farm.

Put 3 year old kids in pairs. Give one of them, in each pair, 10 chocolate tokens. Tell them, the one holding the tokens will need to divide them between the two in pair, however, they will only be allowed to keep the divided chocolate if both agree with division made by the one initially in possession. Its likely that some ratio(interval), kids in pairs to agree on, will emerge and if so the question is: What made the ratio to come about, respectively what made the kids to agree on such ratio? Power corrupts from its nature, the human nature or the nature of the hairless apes. Not always and in exactly same volumes, but it tends to.

You are making a moral assumption that unequal division of resources is corrupt in this example just as Orwell did in Animal Farm. Is it because we do not have to argue the case that unequal treatment is morally bad, despite the fact it is so prevalent. Where is the rational process that defines what makes something bad, and so self evident it does not need to be justified?
If you read my post again with this in mind you will see where I am coming from. I am trying to step back from the moral assumption of badness that is associated with power, and look at the social forces that created this moral assumption and firmly indoctrinated it into human society. Aside from the fact that inequity is prevalent and many if not most people seek inequity (advantage) for themselves yet all agree they inequity is morally bad – ie. Corrupted and the mechanism of power allows this to be so.


Not quite.

Your initial post assumes that "power corrupts" is a moral statement. My example demonstrates several aspects of the so called human nature without resorting to value based judgement - moral statements. In other words, I was not making moral assumptions, I was describing how humans tend to be.

You went to define power while labeling corruption as immoral.
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Re: Power corrupts

#19  Postby Pebble » Jan 21, 2014 11:10 pm

TMB wrote: You have raised the point about levels of coercion and without knowing that you exactly mean, I would say that most of the coercion is so subtle through social mechanisms that people believe they are making decisions as free-willed autonomous individuals, and are quite unaware that they are just reflecting social norms.


"Morality" is an invention dependent on whether we feel we are being treated unfairly or doing something that repels us but causes pleasure, then projected to where we feel others should share our impressions. The fine line between consensus activity and deception depends on demonstration that these imagined lines have been crossed.
Sure we can observe brainwashed people doing odd things and easily imagine that we are part of a great conspiracy - but that does not make it so. Being gullible is not immoral, but increases risk of being taken advantage of.


TMB wrote:I have teenage children and I can see how the education system indoctrinates their thinking in an attempt to build obedient, productive citizens. Even their extortions to be free thinking and independent spirits is just another aspect of their attempt to mould them.


As one would expect a state/corporate funded educational regime to do. But lets face it, a generation of truly free thinking teenagers would be a recipe for chaos.



TMB wrote:To my mind this is the origin of all power dynamics that we see manifest in human society.


So? Power relationships are a fact of social existence (perhaps all existence as you say) - so we learn to manage the power of others rather than rejecting all power.
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Re: Power corrupts

#20  Postby TMB » Jan 22, 2014 5:39 am

Pebble you said
"Morality" is an invention dependent on whether we feel we are being treated unfairly

I do not agree that morality is directly reliant upon equality. Logically, there is limited adaptive value in being equal to those you compete with, as noted earlier, the gene is the unit of selection and they seek dominance. Not equity. I would say that the concept of equality is a construct of human society to try and manage conflict that would occur in unmanaged competition. Morality arises due to the desire to accrue advantage and benefits for oneself and ones group. I do agree that morality is the defining of right and wrong, but I consider equity/equality to be a subordinate part of this.
or doing something that repels us but causes pleasure, then projected to where we feel others should share our impressions.

I do not understand this logic. We only want others to share and reflect6 our impressions where they have enough power to make a difference to our benefits/disbenefits. As human society has evolved there is greater pressure to pursue equality for humans as a core value, although it is far from a reality, its much lip service in developed world with a bit of traction, while in the developing world its mostly god eat dog with no need even to pay it lip service.
The fine line between consensus activity and deception depends on demonstration that these imagined lines have been crossed.

Does this work in practice? The idea of consensus is knowledge between the players and deception is dressed up as the truth. This means that you cannot demonstrate something to be false that those responsible for the falsehood will not admit to and those subject to it thinks its the truth.

Sure we can observe brainwashed people doing odd things and easily imagine that we are part of a great conspiracy - but that does not make it so.

Brainwashed people are not doing odd things, they are doing normal things, the enslavement of teenage girls to fashion is only odd to adults who have seen it all before, to the teenagers its just normal. It has nothing to do with conspiracy, its logical and plenty of evidence.
Being gullible is not immoral, but increases risk of being taken advantage of.

This is a tricky one, I did not suggest that gullibility was immoral, just true. When one is not aware of being deprived of something, yet it is not missed, does that mean actual disadvantage. At the end of the day perception is reality, and if someone can be thoroughly disenfranchised of advantage, yet not perceive it and so live in the illusion of plenty – have they in fact lost anything?

As one would expect a state/corporate funded educational regime to do. But lets face it, a generation of truly free thinking teenagers would be a recipe for chaos.

This contradicts your earlier comments about brainwashing being odd behaviour rather than the norm. Mature adults are also brainwashed even though some awareness trickles in for some and they can reflect upon the ignorance of youth, it does not mean they are free willed either. I have not made any ‘ought to be/not to be’ statements for free willed thought in tenagers, just trying to note it without any moral assumptions.

The attached article (to my mind) compares the human conformist mindset with that of chimps. Note how complaint these children are even when faced with the obvious dis-utility in the behaviour, whilst the chimps show more autonomous behaviour.

http://www.nature.com/news/specials/chi ... ur/3e.html

So? Power relationships are a fact of social existence (perhaps all existence as you say) - so we learn to manage the power of others rather than rejecting all power.

Power is not something one is able to reject. If that were so, then ergo it means it does not have enough power to avoid our rejection. We seek to mitigate rather than manage the power of others. Barrack Obama is sometime hailed as being ‘ the most powerful man etc”, yet he has many strings attached by others who work day and night to direct, remove, avoid his power and use the responsibility of the position to weaken his power. I would say that Michelle Obama has more power because she receives as many benefits as Barrack but shoulders far less of the responsibility. Thats REAL power, to my mind Barrack is just the fall guy.
TMB
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