THE DYNAMICS OF HUMAN POWER
Two-thousand-five-hundred years ago Lao Tzu, a famous Chinrese philosopher, said that the biggest problem in the world was that individuals experienced themselves as powerless. Today this is still our biggest problem.
Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching, which has been translated many times. One such translation is by R.L. Wing: The Tao of Power. Wing said:
"Lao Tzu believed that when people do not have a sense of power they become resentful and uncooperative. Individuals who do not feel personal power feel fear. They fear the unknown because they do not identify with the world outside of themselves; thus their psychic integration is severely damaged and they are a danger to their society. Tyrants do not feel power, they feel frustration and impotency. They wield force, but it is a form of aggression, not authority. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that individuals who dominate others are, in fact, enslaved by insecurity and are slowly and mysteriously hurt by their own actions. Lao Tzu attributed most of the world's ills to the fact that people do not feel powerful and independent."
Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher, wrote that
"will to power" is the essence of human nature. In a
book compiled from his notes after his death, The Will To
Power, is written:
"My idea is that every specific body strives to be master over all space and to extend its force (its will to power) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ("union") with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: Thus they conspire together for power."
Power is a multi-faceted concept. You experience a sense of power when you feel in control of your life. Power is the ability to achieve goals. It is also the ability to influence others. Considerable power comes from the ability to communicate. Power includes enthusiasm and optimism. Your energy level is related to your power. If you can cause things - be the master of your destiny - you have power. Power is related to self-esteem and confidence. The freer you are the more you tend to experience your power.
Above all, this book is about the power that brings you happiness.
Let us make a distinction between "coercive power" and "synergic power." By "coercive power" I mean power that involves violence or the threat of violence. This is the power of the armed robber. It is also the power of government. It is the political power that stems from the barrel of a gun, as Mao said. It is power used over people or against them; power at their expense; power which robs them of power.
The concept "synergic power" is expressed in the book Synergic Power: Beyond Domination and Permissiveness by James H. and Marguerite Craig. Synergic power is power used with people; power exercised in such a way that it is cumulative - everyone gains power through the power of everyone else - mutually enhancing power.
To feel that we are worthwhile individuals, to know that we exist, we have to express our power - feel that we are in control. This imperative to express our power and experience control is central to human behavior. Every human does something to express his or her power in the world. This power can be expressed creatively or destructively.
Humans first attempt to express their power creatively. If such attempts fail repeatedly, they experience themselves as powerless. They may feel helpless and hopeless, and become depressed. What they experience is that they cannot make a positive difference in their own lives or in the world. A cognitive breakdown occurs between their actions and the results they produce. Mentally and intellectually they cease to understand the connections between their behavior and the consequences of their behavior. Then they express their power destructively.
This is what happened to Richard Nixon at the time of Watergate.
It is standard practice for leaders of nations - when all their attempts to express their power positively within their own country seem to fail - to engage in destructive foreign wars. The Gulf War in 1990 followed this pattern.
Today in America we have a political and economic system in which most individuals experience themselves as powerless. At the highest level, our politicians and bureaucrats experience themselves as powerless, trapped in an out-of-control, runaway train of bureaucratic growth and ballooning deficit spending. All their attempts to balance the national budget have failed. They have given up. But they must express their power. So they do it destructively. Thus we have a runaway bureaucracy that strangles the economy with its regulations. On a personal level there was the congressional check-kiting scandal.
At the lowest level, individuals are losing their jobs in record numbers. National helplessness and hopelessness increase day by day. Most Americans feel powerless about doing anything to save America. The country is going down the drain. For many, voting has become pointless. What difference does it make whether you vote for Bush or Clinton? Apathy is the order of the day.
Individual power can also be expressed vicariously - through others. When the Cardinals win a football game, the fans feel powerful and elated. When the Cards lose, they feel powerless and depressed.
So, along comes Ross Perot. He will change the country. He is a powerful businessman, a knight in shining armor. He quickly gathers a huge following. His supporters experience their power vicariously through him. They feel powerful and enthusiastic. Perot is going to save America!
Then Perot pulls out. We see pictures on TV of his followers crying, their hopes dashed. America is doomed. Only Perot could have saved us. Many of his followers are now disillusioned and depressed. They feel betrayed. Their vicarious power has disappeared. Once again they experience themselves as powerless.
Hitler was the prime example of the dangers of the vicarious expression of power.
More than two-hundred years ago, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights created a political and economic system in which individuals were free to express their power - to a greater extent than anywhere else on Earth. Government was extremely limited. It was because individuals were so free to express their power that America became the greatest and richest nation in the world.
Since then government has gradually increased its size and power at the expense of the freedom and power of the individual. We have now reached a stage where government power overwhelms individual power. The political and economic system prevents more and more people from expressing their power positively and creatively. But they must express their power. So they express it destructively. This is reflected in rising rates of suicide and crime, and other statistics of decline.
Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." He was absolutely wrong. Stewart Emery, founder of Actualizations, put it correctly: "Weakness corrupts and absolute weakness corrupts absolutely."
Nixon was not corrupted by his power, but by his weakness. The only power a tyrant has is the power granted by followers. Weak followers surrender their power. The weakness of the followers is a major factor in the corruption of the leader.
This book is about individual human power. If Lao Tzu were alive today, he would say that America's problems are caused by individual powerlessness. The solution to America's problems is the increase of individual human power. The purpose of this book is to provide individual Americans with the tools to greatly increase their personal power - their synergic power. This is the solution to practically all America's personal and social problems.
THE INSIDE ANGLE ORIENTATION
This is probably one of the most powerful success principles ever formulated. Here are its elements:
During the past four years I have been studying the U.S. Constitution (Chapter Ten) and the related issue of common-law jurisdiction (Chapter Thirteen). Knowing this information and how to apply it provides me with huge advantages when it comes to running a private business. However, people (such as most attorneys and accountants) who "know" all about "the law," tend to be blinded by their "knowledge" to the inside angles that can be applied to operate a real free-enterprise business in America. (By "real free enterprise" I mean operating according to the U.S. Constitution and common law, which, as you will see in Chapter Ten, are the "law of the land.")
In order to adopt the inside angle orientation there are certain obstacles you may have to overcome:
"Wipe your glasses with what you
- James Joyce
"Write what you "know" on a roll
of toilet paper, wipe your backside with it, and flush it down
- Frederick Mann
Every single human being, anywhere on Earth, needs better inside angles. No matter where you live or what you do, there are inside angles you can apply to improve your wealth, your health, your happiness, your work, your business, your relationships, your sex-life... you name it. Everybody needs better inside angles.
The scientific and technological history of Earth is the history of inside angles that were discovered, developed, communicated, and applied. E=MC2 is an example of an inside angle. The notion that the earth is round was an inside angle at the time when most people believed it was flat.
Any subject, activity, or business you care to think of could be improved by new inside angles. Everybody needs better inside angles. The discovery, communication, and application of inside angles have increased human power phenomenally - and will continue to do so. Inside angles have repeatedly transformed the world - and will continue to do so.
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician who discovered in the 1840s that puerperal or childbed fever could be virtually abolished if doctors washed their hands in a chlorine solution. This is a superb example of a new inside angle. (The Semmelweis story is told in Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science By William Broad & Nicholas Wade.) At the time puerperal fever typically caused a 10-30% mortality rate in maternity hospitals throughout Europe. Semmelweis reduced the mortality rate in the division of the obstetric clinic where he worked in the General Hospital of Vienna from 18 percent to 1 percent. But he failed to convince his colleagues and superiors. Instead of listening to him, and disinfecting their hands, they hounded, persecuted, and fired him - for daring to suggest that they wash their hands properly. In the autumn of 1860, after the dismissal of Semmelweis, in the same ward where he had demonstrated how to virtually eradicate childbed fever, 35 out of a 101 patients died.
In a book published in 1861 Semmelweis presented his statistics and findings. He sent copies to medical societies and to leading obstetricians in Germany, France, and England. Despite his copious and undisputed statistics he was completely ignored.
Thirty years after Semmelweis's discovery, Lister and Pasteur succeeded in convincing doctors that they should disinfect their hands.
The Semmelweis-reflex is the automatic rejection of the obvious, without thought, inspection, or experiment. It was so named by author Robert Anton Wilson. The results that Semmelweis produced made it obvious that his possible discovery needed to be inspected, experimented with, and thought about.
You may think that in the enlightened age of 1992 humans no longer suffer from the Semmelweis-reflex. This could be a mistake. During the past twenty-five years numerous authors have written several dozen books - published by "mainstream" publishers - on why compulsory state education should be abolished. The results of this cruel form of mind destruction are obviously disastrous (the subject of Chapter Three). Yet most people, when confronted with the suggestion that compulsory state education be abolished, will summarily reject the suggestion without examination. The Semmelweis-reflex in action.
ANARCHY OR SELF-GOVERNMENT
In The Phoenix Gazette of September 26, 1992 John Mark wrote an article under the headline: "Using force: Just how far are we willing to go?"
He first examines the issue of abortion. He concludes by saying the issue is, "whether they think the government should once again prohibit abortion by force."
Then he turns to the family leave bill. He says, "The issue is whether government should force companies to adopt such a policy, without regard for the individual circumstances in each company."
Next he discusses the $50 million aid package to America West Airlines, some of the money coming from government. He indicates that some of that money was taken by force from an employee of a competitor of America West. He asks, "But should government be forcing people - through mandatory taxes, fees, licences... - to pay for things that might actually be against their personal economic interest?"
He indicates that the common thread running through all these issues is that of force, and, "Force is the weapon of government. Do it our way or go to jail, pay a fine, or both."
Mark indicates that on a few matters government force is
justified - like in dealing with murderers. But, he continues:
"The vast majority of government activity, however, is not so clear-cut. It requires some soul-searching.
Try this simple rule when considering a coercive law, program or regulation: Would you be willing to enforce it personally? [emphasis added] That's not an idle question. Every time our government punishes someone, it does so in our name, the name of the people.
So, how many of us would be willing to march over to the home of that Southwest Airlines employee and forcibly collect from him to bolster America West? How many of us would be willing to confiscate money from a businessman or woman who, for one reason or another, doesn't think it's feasible to offer a family leave program at this time?
I can hear it now: That kind of thinking leads to anarchy, Mr. Mark. Maybe so. But anarchy has been given a bum rap over the years. It doesn't mean "no rules." It means "no rulers."
My dictionary defines anarchism as "the theory that all forms of government interfere unjustly with individual liberty and should be replaced by the voluntary association of cooperative groups."
Our representative form of government is supposed to more closely resemble anarchy than monarchy ("one ruler") or other forms of authoritarianism, including the "tyranny of the majority." That's the way it was designed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, two documents whose sole purpose is to sharply limit the power of government. That's the way it was designed by those famous "anarchists," the Founding Fathers."
In the coming chapters you will be provided with some tools you will be able to use to greatly increase your personal power. You will gain both greater ability to solve your personal problems, and the power to govern yourself - as intended by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Call it anarchy or call it individual self-government. It is the solution to both personal and societal problems.