Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence

Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence

Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence

Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence

Synopsis

Stressing the positive, creative aspects of power and innocence, Rollo May offers a way of thinking about the problems of contemporary society. He discusses five levels of power's potential in each individual, what each is, how it works, and more.

Excerpt

As a young man, I held innocence in high esteem. I disliked power, both in theory and practice, and abhorred violence. I came down with tuberculosis in my early thirties, a time when there was still no medication for the disease. For a year and a half I did not know whether I would live or die. As best I could, I tried to do what my doctors instructed me to do. This meant, as I then interpreted it, accepting the program of rest and giving my healing over to others. I could only lie in bed, tracing with my eye patterns of light on the ceiling of my room, waiting for the monthly X-ray which would tell whether the cavity in my lung had enlarged or decreased.

But I found, to my moral and intellectual dismay, that the bacilli were taking advantage of my very innocence. This innocence had transformed my helplessness into passivity, which constituted an open invitation to the bacilli to do violence to my body. I saw, too, that the reason I had contracted tuberculosis in the first place was my hopelessness and sense of defeatism. My then present lack of self-affirmation and self-assertion, conveniently rationalized by the innocence, could only lead in one direction. I could see in the apparently innocent patients around me . . .

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