There is much good that comes from our innate need for empowerment. It certainly is a survival mechanism. When power is more oriented towards empowerment it becomes an empowering force, an apparatus for self-growth, and a tool for self-evolution. There is a lot of mind-body energy tied into the Empowerment Need, and this energy can be used to achieve goals. I immensely value the concept of locus-of-control. In the Theory of Balanceology, I entertain the idea that locus-of-control is a powerful empowerment concept. John Rotter theorized and developed the concept of locus-of-control (1954). Locus-of-control is: 1.) a cognitive concept, and 2.) a perception concept. It entails our thoughts and perceptions of who and/or what has control in our life. Do we have control over what happens in our life (self-empowerment)? Or, does someone or something else outside of us have control over what happens in our life (external power)? An internal locus-of-control is where we perceive that control resides within us for events that happen in our life (inner-directed). The events can be good or bad. We are empowered to take necessary action to control our life. An external locus-of-control is where we perceive that something external to us is controlling life events (outer-directed). External forces like chance, luck, God, “Jesus take the wheel,” other people, fate, or government has the power over one’s life. Our actions mean little.
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The Theory of Balanceology suggests that when our need for empowerment starts heading in the direction of power, it takes on a narcissistic component to it. According to Paul Tillich, “there is a narcissism in power.” (1952) The power-centered person is a narcissistic person. Human nature makes for all of us having a narcissistic component to our personality that says, “look at me and see how great I am.” However, the power-centered person can probably be legitimately diagnosed with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This narcissism revolves around and pertains to a malignancy of excessive self-love. This narcissism envelops insolence, superiority, arrogance, rudeness, disrespect, and belittlement of others. David Bakan maintained that the consequences of power-control will only end up where it, “manifests itself in isolation, alienation, and aloneness, repression of thought, feeling and impulse.” (1966) I portend that a person who has a power-centered narcissism will have a major handicap in trying to satisfy Belonging-Needs, and such a person will find themselves emotionally and socially alone. Narcissism equals aloneness because a want for power overtakes the need to belong. In Choices, William Glasser points out that a lot of human misery comes from trying to control others (1998). This misery is both for the one being controlled, but also for the controlling person. Those power-seekers who try to control others will find that any level of contentment will not be possible by making other people miserable.
The Theory of Balanceology warns us that our human Empowerment Need can easily transition into a want for power. Power-centered people are those power-players and power-brokers driven with a goal to control other people, objects, and situations. This puppet-master encroachment seems to elevate them with a feeling of importance. Hegemonic control appears to increase their sense of superiority. I suggest power-centered individuals are those predators preying on the defenseless -> those victimizers, plunderers, and exploiters. The power-centered will destroy what stands in their way. Lord Acton asserted that, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (1887) President Lincoln said, “nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Power and control become addictive just like a drug, for power brings a seductive high with it. Power can become intoxicating and actually lead to hormonal epinephrine surges and neuro-transmitter change levels. Like a seductive addictive drug, a pseudo-sense of self-confidence grows with power-control. There is an ego enjoyment in the deferential submissive control and manipulation of others. Manipulation is a key deceptive strategy of conniving and jawboning. Manipulation is used by those wolves dressed in sheep clothing who exploit and make others subservient. For Shostrom, “the manipulation, the understanding of human nature is good just for one purpose: control.” (1968) Aristotle maintained that, “from the hour of their birth, some men are marked for subjection, and others rule.”
Power-centered people are those bullying Trumpian titans, doublespeak tyrants, condescending braggarts, and salacious predators. They are frequently seen among opportunistic business leaders, judges, law enforcement officials, elite celebrities, high church officials, and criminals. Politics involves power and unsavory influence peddling politicians who control through money, unlimited terms in office, gerrymandering, cronyism, engratiating sweet-talk, and/or pandering favors. For the wealthy the will-to-power comes in the form of will-to-money. For power-centered individuals fame + fortune + ego, and enhancing status + prestige are the ultimate goals. It was Baruch Spinoza who maintained that profit motive and accumulating acquisitions are forms of our species madness. Power-centered people try to fulfill the 3 R’s —> be respected, have a reputation (rep), and take revenge on those they dislike or cross them.
In the Theory of Balanceology, I present and discuss our inborn empowerment need. However, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885) Nietzsche defined his Ubermenchian Doctrine. This Nietzschean concept comes close to describing power-centered and control-centered people. Ubermechian means “superman.” However, I prefer to define ubermensch as “overman.” Power-centered people often consider themselves to be over other people and superior to others. It is somewhat similar to Alfred Adler’s concept of superiority. This overman evaluation can set up societal “pecking orders.” Pecking orders for humans come into play in the form of social status, social class, social control, social prestige, and the caste system. Most of us are going to vie for some degree of social class, status, control, and prestige. Pecking order involves a social dominance hierarchy whereby powerful people can come to control a particular society. Hierarchical societies are about the haves and have-nots, the rich and the powerful, the over-represented and the under-represented, and fairness and unfairness. In the Theory of Balanceology, I go into detail about the current state of unfairness in American society. Those at the top of the power chain are a culture’s overmen. The ubermenchian concept dominated Nazi controlled German society from 1932-1945. Utermensch (underman) on the other hand is at the other end of ubermenchian (overman) continuum. Utermensch is the common man who is subservient to societal and political power structures. In the Theory of Balanceology, utermensch is defined as the normal-man, mediocre-man, and average-man.
Frederick Nietzsche maintained that power is a key human need, and he called this motivation the “will-to-power.” Alfred Adler also used the concept of “will-to-power.” Adler implied that humans have an innate need to dominate, and that this dominance amounts to an instinctual need to feel superior. He felt humans have a desire to have a sense of superiority, in order to overcome our innate sense of inferiority. Thomas Hobbes referred to man’s inherent self-interest as the source of our need to acquire power. For Hobbes, “in the first place I put forth a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetuall and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in Death.” (1651) I previously indicated that self-preservation is a biological fact for human beings, and this preservation concerns survival. In biological evolution there is an inevitability of the “survival of the fittest,” where fitness involves some sort of power. In the Theory of Balanceology, I theorize our ability to survive is a factor in satisfying the Empowerment Need. However, the human need for empowerment can easily morph into a want for power. It appears that any of us who get close enough to power, will be touched by it and the need for empowerment can easily transition and transform into power intoxication. Power intoxication wants can lead to a Social Darwinism supremacy and control over others. Plato emphasized that, “the measure of a man is what he does with power.” (4th Cent BC)
I have been on a mission over the last many years to discover and build a worldview I can attest to and follow. The end result of my search is my book, Balanceology: The 4 M’s of motivation, meaning, measurement, mitigation. My autobiographical journey evolved into a theory and practice. The Theory of Balanceology is the study of what it takes to live a life in balance and health. It is a study of how to discover and maintain a life’s delicate balance. The centric idea of the theory comes from the time honored nature based concept of balance. The Big Idea and backbone of my theory is “Balance Is Everything.” The model theorizes that we are motivated to satisfy our inherent needs (M-1), and thus add meaning to our life (M-2). When a person is having personal and interpersonal problems an assessment and measurement (M-3) is made of the level of meeting needs and the current level of dysfunctional symptoms. Need satisfaction and current symptoms determine the degree a person is in-or-out of balance and health. Mitigation (M-4) involves building the personal and interpersonal skills it requires to better meet and satisfy our needs and thus lower unhealthy symptoms. For additional information related to my book, theory, and practice visit Balanceology.net and/or Balanceology.blog.