General Principles of Human Power

General Principles of Human Power

General Principles of Human Power

General Principles of Human Power

Synopsis

Though power is commonly seen as a special feature of exceptional personalities, van Ginkel argues that power is actually a given feature of all humans, animals, and plants. Each has different power, of a special kind and a special degree. All plant, animal, and human power is sparked and specified by a fusion of varieties of the same four general elements: Faculty, Object, Effect, and Limit. Unlike animal power, human power rises and falls irregularly, both in history and in individual life. Van Ginkel's straight, logical analysis asserts that a human individual is at any given moment either a dependent impulse-driven agent whose pursuits cause his given power to fall or an independent design-driven agent whose operations cause his given power to rise. The diference between the two is sometimes slight, sometimes dramatic. In the near future all human power may be reduced to zero by such man-made perils as environment devastation, self-dementing addictions, or mass-destructive weapons, unless educational and governmental power expand on an unprecedented scale. Human power is unlimited as long as it expands within a philosophically or theologically defined limit.

Excerpt

Since knowledge is power, knowledge of power is power over power itself. The keys and switches of human power lie in human nature. As scientific knowledge about human genes and brains advances, operational knowledge about human power increases. Those who in the near future possess this new knowledge will potentially have power over others on a scale and of a kind that defies all present imagination.

Crucial questions therefore arise. How great, how small can human power be? What causes power to rise, what brings about its fall? Can human power go too far? Since humans differ in their notions of what is good and bad, even harder questions must also be answered. Is there any objective standard for distinguishing good power from bad power? Does great power inevitably turn into bad power? The answers to these and other questions, if proven good and true, constitute a general concept of human power.

In modern human societies, marked by specialist task division, many individuals have many different kinds and sizes of financial, educational, medical, judicial, mental, moral, military, governmental, and other specialist power. But all individuals, whether they have specialist power or not, can have a generalist knowledge of power, and the power of that knowledge rises higher and reaches farther than all the specialist powers of their given day and age. If all were well, then generalist knowledge of power would be not a scholarly pursuit but a common part of all civic education, and all thinking men and women would today devote their best thought to tomorrow's vast new power.

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