Power as a word is defined in multiple forms but they all encompass the principle of having the capability of exerting will or influence towards a certain purpose. Power is created by accumulating the necessary resources to effectively exert force unto the world and cause change. It stems from a single source and can either be employed fully by that source or delegated to others. This is the nature of power and how it operates in our world. In this post, we will be examining the principles that govern power and how it is used in the most effective manner.
The main sources of power that are commonly referred to are individuals and the collective. An individual is the most basic and common of these three. If one man manages to accumulate a sufficient amount of x resource, he can exert his will unto the natural world and in the same way delegate his power to others. These individuals then proceed to act in his name and solely draw their power from him, the source from which it flows. If this source of power were to ever cease producing, then these individuals that draw their power from it would find themselves unable to exert any force upon the world. They would have to either become powerful themselves or find someone else to draw from. The other two sources of power follow a similar logic.
The collective argument would have us believe that power can stem from a multitude of individuals and that this multitude is in possession of the capability to collectively transfer that power unto another individual, collective, or object. This is summed up in ways such as “we the people…”, “I am a man of the people…”, “I act with the will of the people…”, etc. I find that from what I have seen, a disorganized collective of people cannot be a source of power or possess the capability to transfer it. This is due to the fact that ultimately a collective in the vein of a people has differentiating goals, desires, and motivations hence no single source of power can be identified. For a collective to be a source of power the individuals that compose it must be united in the pursuit of a single purpose for which they have agreed upon to pool their power together in the search of its completion. Ultimately this is why no entity can claim to represent the will of the people, it is impossible for a single source to represent the will of so many disassociated individuals. What ends up happening in most cases is that a small collective manages to accumulate sufficient power as to submit all the others through the use of coercive force. They use coercive force in order to plunder the power of individuals and artificially limit the creation of power in society. This serves their desire to control threats to their own power and maintain order among a populace of differing individuals.
There are many ways in which collective and individual power manifest themselves in a society. Of these tools of power, the one that I will focus on for this series is the social contract. The social contract serves as a funnel of power through which collective power is transferred away from individual sovereignty towards a small collective, usually in exchange for security and order. These tools can only be used as long as they have enough support from a significant amount of individuals who are willing to act and exert force with them. For example, the first amendment of the Bill of Rights secures the freedom of speech. This right has survived for so long due to the active support of a vast majority of Americans exerting their influence in favor of the amendment. Contrast that with many different European countries, where their social contracts have the right to freedom of speech enshrined, and yet see frequent violations and infringements due to the lack of will by the populace to secure this freedom. This example shows how the power dynamics between individuals and collectives can operate. In part two, we will go over in more detail how power originates, and go over how this applies to creating the most efficient forms of human organization.