pyrale wrote:SeanPan wrote:[...]
Just curious, how exactly do you measure one's ability to influence other people ?
Assuming that someone is capable of destroying your home, torture your loved ones in front of you, end all your dreams and hopes in conflagation and despair while removing any possible ability for you to escape the situation: such a person would most likely have significant influence over you.
Likewise, if someone is the sole person responsible for your ability to find any happiness in the world, is capable of giving you all that you desire and is therefore responsible for your entire personal reason of existence: that person also has significant influence over you.
I've actually been brooding on this ever since I was a child, and honestly, its not that complicated. Power is simply the ability to make a choice for yourself or for another, or the ability to deny others of their choice. If you can motivate someone to act the way you want, then you have some power over them - it can be cooperative or coercive; by itself, power has no moral stance associated with it.
Ultimately, all of society can be understood in that manner. Morality is strongly associated with consequence or reward - I do not steal from the store because I might be caught, and the criminal record on me would be a permanant mark against me. The power of gaining an item without loss of money(which can be understood as liquid power), is balanced against the risk of a permanant loss of power in society in the forms of not being able to get better jobs, etc. If I had no prospects of advancement, then stealing may become the optimal choice.
Furthermore this can be understood the original formation of human groups would involve a certain loss of personal power to avoid a total loss of power from death by starvation. As for the overall meaning of life? I have a fairly developed philosphy of that, but it is ultimately meaningless in the greater context of the world - many individuals seek power consciously or unconsciously for the sake of it, must like individuals seek life for the sake of life, whether it is meaningful or not. And by the Pareto Principle, it only takes 20% of such self-serving individuals(or even fewer) to account for the vast majority of change and influence in the world.