by Tom Atlee
1. POWER OVER
The power to control, determine or influence what will happen; to get people or things to do what YOU want
Force, coercion, intimidation, domination
total control, or control by threat of force
Authority, command, management, supervision
using an established system for following orders
using someone or something for one’s own ends (often without regard to its/their welfare)
using deception to influence others in ways they aren’t aware of and so can’t combat
Influence, pressure, sway
any effort to affect another’s behavior, thought, feelings, etc. (the mildest or more generic forms of power-over)
2. POWER WITH
The power of being, doing, and having together in ways that achieve what WE want
Collaboration, cooperation, co-intelligence – creating combined effects
Social capital – relationships, networks, associations, connections, communication systems that enable the other forms of power-with
Facilitation, inspiration, evocation, empowerment, purpose, motivation – arousing and enabling the power of the group and those within it
Community, mutual aid, sharing – support for each other in meeting our individual and shared needs
Compassion, caring, nurturance – feeling for and support for others, usually in ways that strengthen the whole
Resonance, synergy, unity – aligning or integrating the qualities and energies of who we ARE, to greater effect
Aggregation, collection, accumulation – strength or wisdom derived from our numbers, now or over time
Interaction, conversation, coevolution – dancing our way into new understandings, relationships, possibilities, and other potencies
3. POWER FROM WITHIN
The power that arises from oneself, especially in one’s engagements with the world
Sovereignty – autonomy, strength from self-definition and self-determination; will, agency
Capacity – one’s own skills, aptitudes, talents, resources, intelligence, ability to tolerate dissonance and uncertaint
Integrity – the power of one’s wholeness or integration; potency of one’s character; honor, authenticity, virtue
Presence – centeredness, the power of one’s beingness and “being in the present”; showing up, courage; attention, consciousness
Sanity – clear relationship with reality, the absence of psychic distortions that interfere with one’s power
Attunement – internally connecting, aligning or opening one’s consciousness to other sources of power; self-transcendence
Purpose – dedication, persistence, caring, calling, passion; an internal orientation with significant energy and meaning driving it
4. POWER AS
The power of embodiment – which manifests or clears a path for energies associated with what is embodied. Much of impact of power-as derives from resonance between those embodying and those who witness them. We can manifest power-as when we manifest or channel any of the very different following entities:
A universal force or quality –
an ideal or “higher power” – like Love, God, Nature, Truth, Evolution (this is enabled by attunement). Examples include Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and people who are known authentically as “a force of nature”.
An archetype – Mother, Hero, Healer, Trickster, Child, Leader, Teacher, etc. – characters in collective narratives (often unconscious) that have potent shared emotional, moral, spiritual, or social connotations. Examples include my naturopath as archetypal Healer (after a visit I feel better even before explicit treatment – which makes me trust her advice) and John F. Kennedy as an archetypal Leader.
The Zeitgeist – embodying the “spirit of the times”. Examples include many rapidly expanding movements, certain viral memes or creations (art, music, humor, etc.), successful demagogues, etc., because they tap into, manifest and speak for and to the ambient energies of their era and culture, generating supportive resonance that causes their influence to grow.
The Other – Various examples include when one reflects back / mirrors what someone else says or does in a way that makes them feel fully heard or seen, which generates a profound shift or opening in their energy. Also role plays and drama that successfully represents diverse voices or energies, causing them to be seen differently by themselves and/or others – notably humorous and satirical imitation that ridicules or parodies a power-over person or institution, making them seem less daunting to those they dominate.
An acquired, acknowledged social role or position. Examples include the influence one has by being a police officer or president or janitor or union spokesperson or banker or doctor or facilitator or… Attached to each role are shared expectations of specific kinds of influence, which can be held or exercised with more or less potency. Often the natural potency of the role derives from the larger potency of the collective or institution represented by the role (e.g., the entire judicial system as represented by the police officer).