In previous posts I discussed empowerment as a basal human need. That is, I denote empowerment as the third major basal Self-Need. I know there is a kind of pain in powerlessness; a kind of helplessness. Empowerment and power overlap because in order to be empowered it requires some form or kind of power. Power pertains to human power orientation, thrust, or force. Whenever I detail our Empowerment Need I address when empowerment and power interact, and when power by itself becomes an issue of control. I will suggest that it is a good idea for each of us to discover what it means to have a healthy balance between power and empowerment.
For Frederick Nietzsche 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 we have a desire for 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: a preservation that concerns survival. In biological evolution there is an inevitability of the “survival of the fittest,” where fitness involves some sort of power. For humans, the 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. Plato emphasized that, “the measure of a man is what he does with power.” (4th Cent BC) Lord Acton asserted that, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (1887)