On Power and Force

Both power and force include some form of coercion but force seems more active. Power is more nuanced. One may have power from a position that is traditionally one of weakness like an ailing partner using their condition to manipulate their significant other.

Force is a more direct attack to the body, it is more tangible. Power is less so, in the sense that the dynamics with power are more implicit (the mind is the battle ground)

How do we react to power vs force? How different is the relationship between the self and the other when it comes to force and power? Let the self be the agent (the agent can be a group with common goal i.e. government or army) of power or force and let the other be the subject of that form of coercion:

With power the self gives the illusion that the other has a choice. Power moves multilaterally. It can be transferred, shared, taken since it is a psychological systematic influence. For power to be effective agent(s) of power simply needs to know rules of the system and the other must not extent of the self’s influence. This way the other is less likely to resist it. The self must create the illusion that he and the other‘s desires are one and the same. This will give rise to an involuntarily akratic self narrative within the other.

Since power is a psychological influence it has a wide reach. The agent does not need to be present, he only has to establish his system and propagate it as far as he wants and ensure those he wishes to influence internalize it.

Force eliminates the notion of choice or makes the cost of resistance very high. In this case the other has more information on the self’s intentions. This is why force usually requires the explicit threat of bodily harm – to varying degrees – in order to be effective. Since the influence of force can actually be localized i.e harm will come to the body if the other does not obey the agent of force, force can only move unilaterally from the agent(the self) to the other. The other needs to be aware that force is being used against them so it stands to reason that force can only reach as far as the threat to the body is imminent.

To put this all visually, force is how an army invades a land, power is how the politicians subjugate the people.

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