Posts Tagged ‘power’

The Power Paradox

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 | Books

The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence is a 2016 book by Dacher Keltner. In it, Keltner redefines the definition of power. Many of us may consider power to be something that the strong take by force, or using machiavellian methods. Keltner says this view is entirely incorrect: power is something that is given to us by the group because we forward the group’s interests.

This makes sense as a natural selection factor. Groups would want to reward those individuals who put the group’s needs before their own. They do this by bestowing power on that individual in the hope that they will continue to do so, and be able to bring greater gains.

Unfortunately, there is a danger. John Dalberg-Acton was correct when he said…

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely

Gaining power causes us to forget about putting the group first. It causes us to forget about the reason we were given power in the first place. And what is given, can be taken away. Time after time, people come crashing down because they forgot why they were afforded such status in society.

Keltner also discusses the negative effects of not having power. For example, minority communities that face discrimination and are not given an equal standing in society. Even adjusting for all of the disadvantages they may encounter, merely the fact of being powerless reduces their life expectancy by a measurable amount.

The lesson is clear: stay focused on other people. Not only will you improve their lives, but it is in your best interest as well.

Lights out

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 | Life

Sunday saw the electricity company turn off our power for a few hours for maintenance.

So rather than do it when everyone was out at work, they apparently decided to do it when everyone was home. So arriving home at 3am after work on Saturday night I then had the fun of sorting all of my computers out and powering them down ready.

Once the power came back on again I then had the fun of powering them up again but of course, they didn’t all come back on again because computers don’t work that way and that would just be too easy. But I didn’t want to be able to enjoy my time off anyway.

Fail FTW

Friday, March 28th, 2008 | Life, Tech

Earler this evening (I guess it was technically yesterday evening now) this part of Leeds experienced a power glitch.

The power dropped out for a a second, enough time to kill about half the computers and set pretty much everyone’s alarm off. Including ours. Which was annoying.

If it hadn’t been for the lights going out I’m not sure I would have noticed. Both my UPS backups kicked in and kept all of my computers as well as my network online so I was able to continue streaming my movie from my file server to my desktop completely unaffected.

/smug :D.