The Will to Powerlessness

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posted on Jul, 27 2012 @ 04:51 AM
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Yesterday I had this thought come up-

I am aquainted a bit with the concept of resentment, as it can exist in terms of a sort of enviousness of the have-nots, for the haves. Nietzsche's "slave and master mentalities" , and the Will to Power .

But what about the other phenomenon I see? Which is composed of resentment by the powerful for the powerless?

I acknowledge the existance of a will to power in myself, and that I suspect may be inherent in all humans, but I also percieve that it inhabits right next to, and jostled by, a will to something like Epicureanism, and ataraxia. The desire for the simple pleasures of life, freedom from fear and stress, investment in affectionate and trusting relationships with others.

This other drive counters the will to power, and is, in my view, the source of what Nietszche called "slave" mentality. When giving away ones power to another, one becomes free of responsability, free to invest in equal exchanges and relationships with others (that are not competative relations), and gain freedom from fear, as being a follower of some sort usually provides protection for you, by the powerful.

Now, as much as I see, in my own natal culture, people sneer and put this down as "laziness" or other ways of calling it a fault, I strongly suspect that just like the will to power, this will to powerlessness exists in everyone, inherently!

The will to power drives us to go forward in life, the will to powerlessness slows us down and demands us to smell the flowers and experience love along the way.

My first awareness of powerful resentment was in myself and my entourage. I am someone who values highly responsability. I have the typical "eldest sibling" mentality, and felt responsible for others from a young age, and so find it very hard to pull out of that role. Because of this, I tend to make friends with people who are similar- many of my best friends were also the oldest siblings and very concerned with taking on responsibility, as a duty. We tend to believe that someone needs to step in and make decisions and choices, and if no one else will, we have to.

I have also always been very aware that to others who don't feel this so strongly, this is seen only as a hunger for power over others. But in reality, me and the people I know who share this habit, desire one thing more than anything else- that someone else would jump in and take the power and allow us to be powerless! That we could relax and be free of having to make choices and carry responsibility.
We feel a certain amount of resentment for those who lean on us, and those we see leaning on others in general. They are stress-free in contrast, they have more affectionate bonds with others, they are able to take time to laugh and enjoy life in a lighter way.

Sometimes it is not resentment we feel, if a person has learned to live things through another- for example through identifying with your child, then you can experience that playful stressfree state you make possible for him, through him. Same with a spouse, a student......

I personally was lucky enough to have life situations which made it possible for me to experience powerlessness- going into a foriegn country, and having a mate that was capable of stepping into the role of powerful. So I got to taste that, I became aware I can choose either experience, as my mate and I decide to change roles from time to time.

But I watch some of my similar friends who didn't get that lucky... women, for example, that desire nothing more in this world than to find a man who can take the reins from them, but they are so powerful no man can! And they are bitter and they are resentful, because of the responsibility they carry.

I percieve that they have their ways of "punishing" in more or less passive aggressive ways, those powerless people they are resentful of. In various judgements of being "lazy", stupid, passive... in ways of taking more of their share in things.

There is the idea that the powerful one should get more of the shared cake, because they are making the decisions and carrying the responsibility. That brain work deserves more in return than muscle work.
But who came up with that idea?? Was it perhaps, the powerful/responsibles in a society?

Since Neitzsche, we learned to keep a skeptical and suspicious eye on the value systems that spring forth from the powerless, but why do we trust so blindly the values that come from the powerful, and see them as above suspicion- that there couldn't be some dirty resentfulness under that, driving it?

I have seen, on a smaller scale, such people make decisions which they knew to be unbalanced, but they justified to themselves with this argument. Well- he/she is leaving me with all the responsibility all the time, so screw her/him, I deserve more of this.

The problem I percieve with that is that often, these dynamics of power roles are not chosen by one side, they are more or less agreed upon. The person in charge probably keeps taking the role without giving the other a chance to take it (usually just through habit, sometimes through fear and distrust!).

But most of all, just as the person in powerless roles will feel that pressure of the Will to Power inside them being oppressed,
So will the person in the power role feel the pressure of the Will to Powerless inside them being repressed.

They each feel a part of them not being fulfilled and wanting so. The resentment is possible on both sides, and is often the source of just as many polluted systems and values on the side of the master mentality!

Even if a person denies that they have any part of them that desires escaping power/responsibility (I won't believe you, but just for the sake of argument) then that would mean that in having that position of power, your desire and hunger is fulfilled. You don't need to have a bigger part of the cake- you got your reward already.
edit on 27-7-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)
edit on 27-7-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 27 2012 @ 11:53 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


First, I just want to thank you for this interesting post on Nietzsche's thought. I think his notion of the will to power is very slippery, in that he seems to emphasize different aspects of it at different times. He seems to think of it primarily in psychological terms, as a way of explaining human behavior, but at other times it carries an almost metaphysical basis for him -- for example his famous aphorism that the world is but a will to power, and nothing besides.

There are also some other places where he does acknowledge the "power" of powerlessness as you describe. I am thinking of a passage from his posthumous writings:


I have found strength where one does not look for it: in simple, mild, and pleasant people, without the least desire to rule—and, conversely, the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak (in the end, they still become the slaves of their followers, their fame, etc.) The powerful natures dominate, it is a necessity, they need not lift one finger. Even if, during their lifetime, they bury themselves in a garden house!


I think Freud's notion of the pleasure principle was largely influenced by this side of Nietzsche.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 01:57 AM
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I cannot claim to be a real scholar on NIetzsche, what I remember reading long ago might be faint in memory or twisted through time and influence from others. But yeah, my thinking long ago on Nietzsche was that he tends to get self- contradicting through time, in many ways.

But these particular theories really infused our general culture. I am a native american, and it always seemed to me that our culture really tries to use some of his theories to support itself. -In some cases that seems to be through a bit of misinterpretation.

But where my thought came from was in moving to France many years ago and learning their culture, I discovered for the first time a valued concept of this drive! The french think everyone fantasizes about returning to a state of childhood; childhood is painted as one of the most wonderful phases of our life. In my culture, it is #ty period of powerlessness that we all have to go through and work as fast as we can to get out of. (and get our kids out of, make them grow up as fast as possible).

They believe that putting attention and effort into shared pleasures with friends and family is essential to ones well being and even their productivity for their society.
They believe in limiting ones consumption as needed. Like in a business, not wanting to get TOO big, too popular. Not buying a house bigger than what you need, not having a heaping plate of food that depasses what your body needs.
They have sayings like "small is beautiful." (and the people really feel this, deeply, I do not mean it is media propaganda)

There was a part of their culture which I could not make heads or tails of, as a person who grew up in a hyper consumerism capitalist society! It baffled me- there s no such thing as "enough"- in money, in power, in possessions- nothing can be "too big", no small car can be a "good" car, and there's always hope, with technology, that maybe someday children can come from the womb totally self sufficient and independant.

So this became a revelation to me. I realized this is also the part that we called "laziness", lack of ambition and will, small mindedness, and apparent ignorance. Yet, after a few years I saw that was a misinterpretation of it and that valuing this side of ourselves and our life has definate benefit, to the individual as well as the collective he/she lives in!

So I was talking about this concept yesterday with my husband, after I wrote this. Both of us recognizing that when we are striving for the role of powerful, it is always out of fear. Fear that no one else will, or they won't do it well, won't protect us, fear of being "trapped" in case of emergency....... so though we like to tell ourselves 'I take that extra step, get off my ass and DO things, the others are cowards' the fact is, we are running away from our fears, just as those people are. They may have different fears, but they are avoiding facing them, just like we are.
In the end, we could be said to both be cowards when we do that.


I guess I am just needing to ramble lately.......
edit on 28-7-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 02:26 AM
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Thank you for your well thought out and insightful posts. I won't go into detail, but it really resonated with some stuff my family and I are going through. I think you ended up putting a few things into perspective that I couldn't quite identify before. So, thanks.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 02:33 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


I agree there is a Will to Powerlessness. This can be seen in that case where a woman was being stabbed to death in broad day light with people around. No one did anything because they thought someone else would. This sort of mentality has been seen in experiments as well, and I think its part a growing herd-like mentality that Nietzsche touched on often.

He also briefly mentions a Will to Stupidity or Falsity, in Beyond Good and Evil, where people have a fundamental drive to falsify everything merely to make life bearable. I think it ties in to your idea of a Will to Powerlessness. Even though he doesn't go into much detail, I found it a brilliant idea.

Nietzsche was a great psychologist and inspired many of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century. His books are so packed full of ideas and are the reason I got into philosophy in the first place. It's great to see people showing an interest.




posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 07:07 AM
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Originally posted by QuietInsanity
Thank you for your well thought out and insightful posts. I won't go into detail, but it really resonated with some stuff my family and I are going through. I think you ended up putting a few things into perspective that I couldn't quite identify before. So, thanks.




Oh that's great if my rambles are able to stimulate someone else ! That makes me happy if we both benefit somehow!



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 07:14 AM
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reply to post by TheSubversiveOne
 


Yeah, he's one of those that provoked a lot of thought for me (though it has been a while since I read any of his work). I actually found him extremely irritating at first, as he brings into the light things that I felt more comfortable not seeing.
I think it is his repulsion to certain things that made me want to object- you are right, there was other things he described that might be exactly what i am trying to describe. But it was always in a repulsed de-valued, sort of way (these are bad things). The "herd mentality" is a derogatory term these days, in my own culture, whereas in some others, it is the only trustworthy drive- the french actually say, "whatever you do, don't listen to yourself!" (that is what leads you into trouble and unhappiness)

I think somewhere between these two opposites, I think they might both have value depending upon context.

Ayn Rand is another one of those authors that drives me insane with irritation- she is right, on one hand, and then goes too far with the exaggerated rejection of the opposite! I guess I have a mind that works towards integration.



posted on Jul, 28 2012 @ 07:20 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


I have to think about what you wrote, but I really appreciate the thinking!



posted on Jul, 29 2012 @ 03:53 PM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 




But most of all, just as the person in powerless roles will feel that pressure of the Will to Power inside them being oppressed,
So will the person in the power role feel the pressure of the Will to Powerless inside them being repressed.

They each feel a part of them not being fulfilled and wanting so. The resentment is possible on both sides, and is often the source of just as many polluted systems and values on the side of the master mentality!


The only solution is for people to take control of their lives, and to be lazy and take action when they want, with the exception of handing their power over to another which will then be slavery.

So do whatever you want - powerful or powerless
Allow others to do the same (free-will)
and do not give your power away (otherwise you will not be able to make your own decisions).



posted on Jul, 30 2012 @ 07:03 AM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
The french think everyone fantasizes about returning to a state of childhood; childhood is painted as one of the most wonderful phases of our life.


I think you nailed it with this comment.

I think it boils down to, most people just want to be taken care of. Let's face it, life is hard. Even basic essential needs can be a struggle. Once you have someone to take care of you however, suddenly those needs are met without a struggle, which frees you up to do what you want to do while someone else fills your needs. In effect, there's a kind of freedom in being taken care of. Instead of needs you can focus on your wants.

It seems like the pattern to humanity is for society to elect someone to take care of them, then when the "caretakers" don't do thing exactly as the people want them to, the people oust them and elect someone who they think will be better. The cycle repeats endlessly. The only way it will end is when humanity as a whole decides to take responsibility for their own actions and problems and stop looking to others to fix it for them.



posted on Aug, 19 2012 @ 02:40 AM
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Originally posted by QuietInsanity

Originally posted by Bluesma
The french think everyone fantasizes about returning to a state of childhood; childhood is painted as one of the most wonderful phases of our life.


I think you nailed it with this comment.

I think it boils down to, most people just want to be taken care of. Let's face it, life is hard. Even basic essential needs can be a struggle. Once you have someone to take care of you however, suddenly those needs are met without a struggle, which frees you up to do what you want to do while someone else fills your needs. In effect, there's a kind of freedom in being taken care of. Instead of needs you can focus on your wants.

It seems like the pattern to humanity is for society to elect someone to take care of them, then when the "caretakers" don't do thing exactly as the people want them to, the people oust them and elect someone who they think will be better. The cycle repeats endlessly. The only way it will end is when humanity as a whole decides to take responsibility for their own actions and problems and stop looking to others to fix it for them.


Perhaps... I kinda feel this is a revelation for me. I was never around people who wanted this while growing up. I've only been exposed to people who want to be independant. Finding myself in a culture where being dependant, or vulnerable, or fragile, has some value attached to it didn't make any sense to me whatsoever. (it also gave me a whole new revelation about femininity!)

But my real point is that just as we all see pretty easily how dependance feeds resentment, even those who do remain independant get resentful and nasty too. It isn't the solution. You can be totally self reliant, personally responsible and powerful, and you will still end up being resentful and cruel and doing and saying bad things - about those who aren't!

Corruption and unethical behavior is born from going to either extreme.
Is it only in the middle (allowing yourself part of life, or certain times, when you are powerful, and others in which you are powerless) that one can remain balanced morally and emotionally?



posted on Aug, 19 2012 @ 05:40 AM
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There is the idea that the powerful one should get more of the shared cake, because they are making the decisions and carrying the responsibility. That brain work deserves more in return than muscle work.
But who came up with that idea?? Was it perhaps, the powerful/responsibles in a society?


It used to be like whoever did the most thinking must have a lot of knowledge or know individuals who have knowledge and that is why their brains are more valuable and before public education and the internet those brains were scarce. So for every worker brain there would be a thousand others but the thinking brains were just a few so more important.


Finding myself in a culture where being dependant, or vulnerable, or fragile, has some value attached to it didn't make any sense to me whatsoever. (it also gave me a whole new revelation about femininity!)


I think the main reason for this is that if a female had full control over all of her emotions, then when she would find a suitable mate she would have to turn herself on and women love the idea the other is turning them on, as if they have no control over it. Not every woman ofcourse but many appear to be that way, giving away their own power in their minds to the image of the other and if that image in their minds can handle it they know 'deep down' it's something good as their potential mate can overpower them so in times of depression they can make them feel good again.
edit on 19/8/2012 by Dragonfly79 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 07:25 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


My opinion on this is simple. The moment you willful take on responsibility for others you become their prisoner. In this role they have surrendered you the controlling power to them to take responsibility for ytheir weel being. Eventually there is no escape you become a prisoner a slave to your power. Ironic it is.
edit on 9-9-2012 by AthlonSavage because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 07:29 AM
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... are you stalking me today?
LOL! Just kidding...... been enjoying our exchanges everywhere!



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 07:32 AM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
... are you stalking me today?
LOL! Just kidding...... been enjoying our exchanges everywhere!


Oh yeah i am its sunday night here now and what better way to finish it off debating in your threads. They are really kinda interesting. Tommorow ill be at work and ill imagine i dreamed all this lol



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 08:10 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


Everything you need is provided. You are life - you do not have a life, you ARE life. The struggle with life is due to a misunderstanding of what you are. You 'think' you are separate to life and that you have to hang onto it or do it. Life is doing you (the character you see) so just relax. Just watch it, it's just a movie.

youtu.be...
edit on 9-9-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 08:25 AM
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Originally posted by Itisnowagain
reply to post by Bluesma
 


Everything you need is provided. You are life - you do not have a life, you ARE life. The struggle with life is due to a misunderstanding of what you are. You 'think' you are separate to life and that you have to hang onto it or do it. Life is doing you (the character you see) so just relax. Just watch it, it's just a movie.

youtu.be...
edit on 9-9-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)


Thanks for your interpretation and lesson on me and my life! LOL!
It's interesting!

Nice of you to explain to me what I think, and what I feel, and what I should do or think differently!



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 08:37 AM
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reply to post by Bluesma
 


You do not 'have a life'. If you believe you do you will feel that life is a struggle. It is only when there is a realization that you ARE life that the sense of separation ceases. When the sense of separation ends there is a knowing of oneness, wholeness and a peace that surpasses all understanding will be known.



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 08:38 AM
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Originally posted by Bluesma

Originally posted by Itisnowagain
reply to post by Bluesma
 


Everything you need is provided. You are life - you do not have a life, you ARE life. The struggle with life is due to a misunderstanding of what you are. You 'think' you are separate to life and that you have to hang onto it or do it. Life is doing you (the character you see) so just relax. Just watch it, it's just a movie.

youtu.be...
edit on 9-9-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)


Thanks for your interpretation and lesson on me and my life! LOL!
It's interesting!

Nice of you to explain to me what I think, and what I feel, and what I should do or think differently!




How have i explained to you what to 'think' or 'feel' ?

Humans are terrified of not being in control, of being powerless. Really though there is no one in control of anything. It is just happening.
edit on 9-9-2012 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 9 2012 @ 12:17 PM
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Originally posted by Itisnowagain
reply to post by Bluesma
 


You do not 'have a life'. If you believe you do you will feel that life is a struggle. It is only when there is a realization that you ARE life that the sense of separation ceases. When the sense of separation ends there is a knowing of oneness, wholeness and a peace that surpasses all understanding will be known.


One can have that experience and that knowing , and choose to HAVE FUN with creating the experience of duality and separation at the same time!





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