A Dialogue on Power


Courtesy: NikaQ

Mirando is busy fighting a war in a virtual gaming zone on his laptop. Trichette trying to stay away from technology, is casually trying to build a constructive argument in the air over her contingent of random thoughts. While Mirando successfully shoots his enemies, Trichette fails to save her thoughts from getting shot down one after the other. She decides to interrupt Mirando’s gaming quest to help her build this exuberant thought.

Intrigued Trichette
“Miro, do you think Power is an emotion?”

Distracted Mirando
“Nope. There is a definition of it in social sciences. Broadly, power is a relationship in which one is able to influence the other to get the outcome he or she desires. Power is surely based on or let’s say, brings emotions along, but it is not an emotion per se.”

Curious Trichette
“Speaking on a philosophical or let’s say,  in a non academic way, don’t you think it could be seen as an emotion?  You know let’s say ‘I feel powerful’ could be an emotion just like ‘I feel wonderful’. It’s a feeling which cannot be described by happiness or sadness, it’s just the word ‘power’ that makes it apt to me.”

Adamant Mirando
“Definitely not. You precisely made the difference here!  Power is a capacity. Saying “I feel powerful” means that you feel you have that capacity. The feeling could have a combination of several emotions such as self-confidence, pride, excitement… You have to distinguish between feelings and emotions.I would say that “primitive” emotions such as happiness, anger.. are the building blocks of feelings, which are more complex and closer to beliefs.”

Argumentative Trichette
“The word capacity still doesn’t seem to match up to the meaning of power. Capacity is more related to ‘the ability in you’ to do it. Are you saying that it is a realised capacity? Because that doesn’t make sense. Is it an accomplished capacity? Is it when you have shown your capacity to do something after an achievement?  Yes it combines various emotions, but there is no one word to describe it but the word ‘power’. Don’t you think it should be considered as an emotion in this way?”

Calm Mirando
“Look, the difference between power and capacity is that the former implies a relationship. Power is the capacity to influence people and get the outcome you want. On the contrary, you don’t have any relation with the water when you achieve the capacity to swim; you don’t influence the water! There is an infinity of feelings that are cannot be exclusively called emotions, but are simply melange of emotions. That’s why we make the distinction at the first place. Look, this might not make sense to you, because we differ in our perspectives and end up attributing divergent meanings to the words we talk about.Honestly, it’s a dialogue of the deaf because we don’t even have a clear-cut definition to those words we are using!”

(Pauses and stares at his game)

“..Yet it seems impossible to come up with an universal definition here. Well, for me, I do not consider that power can be an emotion, it just implies connotations of happiness but it’s only up to you to think the contrary according to your definitions.”

Finally Agreeing to Disagree Trichette
“Well, to each their own! By the way that was a really tender way of putting the conversation to an end!”

Trichette slips back to her thoughts as the cacophony of mouse clicks and bomb explosions resume

Determined Trichette
“But I was speaking about this on a personal, more human level. Keeping aside politics and other realms where it is all about power – it is everywhere, they say, I was trying to envision a feeling,.. a sensation of insatiable thirst/hunger for control. And that’s when I started to wonder, could power be an emotion?  It is true that it exists only in a relation. Actually coming to think of it, a swimmer feels a sense of power over mastering the art of moving in the water. It isn’t a relationship as such, more over the ability to control according to the use.”

Irritated Mirando
“I wasn’t putting the conversation to an end; just observing that this may lead nowhere since we think very differently, even in general. The feel of ‘being powerful’ or ‘power-hungry’ again connotes a synthesis of emotions. Wielding power on something or someone such as transforming nature by creating a boat out of trees; or triumphing over water for the swimmer brings sensations of pleasure and satisfaction, and the emotions of self-confidence, pride and happiness and a feeling of security. Losing power, on the other hand, means losing all those things, so many people will do anything to keep it.  I really think everybody likes power and are seeking more of it in some way or another..

..even those who reject those logic of power are paradoxically thriving for the power to do so. Yet an ‘insatiable thirst or hunger for power’, which can also be the “control freak” type, is more of a pathology that derives from a deep feeling of insecurity,related to emotions of fear, anxiety, jealousy, grief, hatred…  Basically, an emotion is a mood. I don’t think you can put power on the same ground as those just above.”

Puzzled Trichette
“Hmm. You know what intrigues me more than just understanding power? I don’t know about you, but it feels like I am trying to influence my power in this conversation. And you are probably rejecting it. It is true, this word seems more of a phenomena to me, it is indeed more than just some ability and sensation.”


Courtesy: Scoobtoobins


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