Tag Archives: power-with

The Politics of Half-Full or Half-Empty

It seems to me that any discussion about what it’s going to take to move the human race forward on its evolutionary path (which is what life is all about as far as I can see) needs to start with a basic question. Is our glass half-full or half-empty; do we live in a world of abundance or scarcity? For 5000 years (at least according to Riane Eisler’s book The Chalice and the Blade) we have framed the world in terms of scarcity. Not enough food to feed everybody. Not enough of the superior “us” to resist and/or control all of the inferior “them” (however “them” is defined in any locale in any given moment in history). This has led to what, by conventional wisdom, is generally framed as an imperative (but I think is a choice) to adopt a human society based on a hierarchy of control that is often described as Patriarchy, rather than the profoundly different societal model called Partnership. Continue reading →

Power (Over) Corrupts

Power CorruptsThe pedophile priest scandal in the Catholic Church over the past 25 years is just one more example of the societal axiom that “power corrupts”. The phrase is actually a bit too simplistic, not all forms of power necessarily corrupt. I would say more specifically that power exercised from the top down (what some delineate as “power-over”) inevitably leads to some form of corruption if the people subjected to this form of leadership are not involved in the governance process and/or do not have comparable power of their own to check the actions of their leaders. This was a key factor motivating the American Revolution (e.g. “taxation without representation”), the French Revolution and many other similar insurrections… part of a larger trend in the world to move from authoritarian toward more egalitarian models of governance. This other idea of power flowing from empowered consent of the group is what is delineated as “power-with”. Continue reading →