The Secret Of Power

TheSecretOfPower: You all know how dumb the average man in the street is. By the law of averages half the stupid bastards are dumber than that!

-- from tapes of a lecture series RobertAntonWilson presented in Britain in the late 80's.

I presume this Wilson fellow didn't say that within St. Peter's earshot. Remember, in the garden, the guy with the sword?

Might makes right doesn't enter into it. From Wilson's point of view, Saints and Fairies and other species of delusion are all part of the same MindFsck.

St. Peter was overzealous in the defense of his teacher. He was prepared to do battle with the local authorities rather than let Jesus be carted off. He was not arguing a point of theology.

Hmm... He also stated three times before the rooster crowed that he was not associated with Him in any way. See: RuleOfThree.

I haven't listened to RAW's lectures. But I have found that it is pretty easy to get a fair amount of "power" by simply (a) gaining others' confidence, (b) acting like you are in charge, and (c) accepting responsibility for your decisions and also for the decisions made by those following you. Most people want to avoid responsibility. If you assume responsibility, subordinates will do whatever you ask and superiors will defer to your judgment because they can all blame you for whatever goes wrong. As long as you have a thick-enough skin to accept all the blame and criticism and you aren't afraid of being fired (or assassinated), you can get a lot done.

To act like you are in charge: tell people what you want them to do, and act like you expect them to do it. If you have no official authority, then this may involve a certain amount of pleading or bluffing, and may fail miserably. However, if people agree with your goals, believe in your competence, and don't want power themselves, you can easily become the de facto leader of a group of people without any official sanction from anyone else.

Summary: ActBoldly


This is also known by the rule: DontAskPermission. Act like you know what you're doing. Most humans will defer to those who act confidently. I've seen this work to great effect by individuals seeking field-level access at professional sporting events.

For another view, try watching how other primates do it:

Go ahead--try running around your office hooting and banging tin cans. See how much power you get.

The particulars differ, but the same principle works. Take a group of people, with no immediate overriding goals other than "do your job." One of the people gets something that the others don't have (the ear of an upper manager [hopefully still attached to said manager], an insider's insight into where the company will be going strategically in the next few years, or even training). That person, by exercising that bit of advantage, can often become the de-facto leader. Sometimes it's because of the admiration of coworkers; sometimes it's through intimidation and withholding information. It should be obvious which of the two cases is more likely to cause office pathologies in the future.

Strange... my manager seems to have a fair amount of power

Power is a myth. It only works as long as everyone believes it. Revolution (nonviolent) and insurrection (violent) are the result of a breakdown of that myth. TheMythOfPower? keeps everyone in line - until something, like *survival* intrudes.

Sounds like another case of a UsefulLie - without some way of conferring and deferring authourity collaboration is difficult to achieve but because these things are synthetic constructs they can evapourate effortlessly.

Revolution might, in fact, be an endorsement of the myth of power. The rebels may believe that the authorities have something worth having, and so they overthrow the leaders to get it. When they do get leadership, they may be disappointed to discover it doesn't give them the power they thought it would.

Now for the "Real" secret of power.

The holder of "true" power "never sought it", and that holder's secret to holding on to it, is knowing when "not" to use it. And it must also be pointed out, that the individual also first seeks not to use what power they have to solve problems, but only uses it as a last resort. Think about this, and you will see the wisdom in it. Those individuals who are under this person soon show great respect, knowing the one over them could have hurt them badly but chose not to. Therefore this person gains even more power. A minute, partial, example of this, is the person with a concealed handgun license, by law they can only legally use their handgun in situations of last resort.

 ''When the Master governs, the people
 are hardly aware that he exists.
 The Master doesn't talk, he acts.
 When his work is done,
 the people say, "Amazing:
 we did it, all by ourselves!"''
   -- Lao Tse, Tao Te Ching

See also TheoryXx

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