You are here

The Power Process

LoneBear's picture
Submitted by LoneBear on Fri, 02/14/2014 - 19:13

The Power Process: Getting Back to Nature, and Loving It

Self-sufficiency also infers a lot of hard work, as gardens need to be tended, cows milked and buildings repaired. But one will find quick enough that there is a high degree of satisfaction that comes when you actually see the results of your labors--food to eat, beautiful gardens and landscapes, comfortable places to live. This is the result of a concept called The Power Process:

The paper, Industrial Society and its Future, Section 5, states:

The power process has four elements. The three most clear-cut of these we call goal, effort and attainment of goal. (Everyone needs to have goals whose attainment requires effort, and needs to succeed in attaining at least some of his goals.) The fourth element is more difficult to define and may not be necessary for everyone. We call it autonomy and will discuss it later.

Consider the hypothetical case of a man who can have anything he wants just by wishing for it. Such a man has power, but he will develop serious psychological problems. At first he will have a lot of fun, but by and by he will become acutely bored and demoralized. Eventually he may become clinically depressed. History shows that leisured aristocracies tend to become decadent. This is not true of fighting aristocracies that have to struggle to maintain their power. But leisured, secure aristocracies that have no need to exert themselves usually become bored, hedonistic and demoralized, even though they have power. This shows that power is not enough. One must have goals toward which to exercise one's power.

Everyone has goals; if nothing else, to obtain the physical necessities of life: food, water and whatever clothing and shelter are made necessary by the climate. But the leisured aristocrat obtains these things without effort. Hence his boredom and demoralization.

Non-attainment of important goals results in death if the goals are physical necessities, and in frustration if non-attainment of the goals is compatible with survival. Consistent failure to attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression.

Thus, in order to avoid serious psychological problems, a human being needs goals whose attainment requires effort and he must have a reasonable rate of success in attaining his goals.

There are two schools of thought regarding who does the work, in a self-sufficient system. First, is that "everyone should share the load" equally. Second, is that "experts do what they do best."

Sharing the load results in more leisure time, but can also produce disastrous results should an incompetent person damage a critical system--such as destroying a crop. Expertise will give excellent results, but has the tendency to "burn out" a person because of the constant demands on their time.

The approach for the Kheb Monastery comes from the tried-and-true methods of the ancient Trade Guilds, where you have a group of "experts" that "share the load" amongst themselves. This also opens the opportunity for intellectual development, through the apprentice system. (Expertise is also a renewable resource, as long as you have the old sharing with the young.)

In order for people to complete the power process, there needs to be failure to learn from, as well as success. For this, a degree of autonomy is required:

Section 7 writes:

Autonomy as a part of the power process may not be necessary for every individual. But most people need a greater or lesser degree of autonomy in working toward their goals. Their efforts must be undertaken on their own initiative and must be under their own direction and control. Yet most people do not have to exert this initiative, direction and control as single individuals. It is usually enough to act as a member of a small group. Thus if half a dozen people discuss a goal among themselves and make a successful joint effort to attain that goal, their need for the power process will be served. But if they work under rigid orders handed down from above that leave them no room for autonomous decision and initiative, then their need for the power process will not be served. The same is true when decisions are made on a collective bases if the group making the collective decision is so large that the role of each individual is insignificant...

But for most people it is through the power process—having a goal, making an AUTONOMOUS effort and attaining the goal—that self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of power are acquired. When one does not have adequate opportunity to go throughout the power process, the consequences are (depending on the individual and on the way the power process is disrupted) boredom, demoralization, low self-esteem, inferiority feelings, defeatism, depression, anxiety, guilt, frustration, hostility, spouse or child abuse, insatiable hedonism, abnormal sexual behavior, sleep disorders, eating disorders, etc.

Self-sufficiency, done in the style of the old Trade Guilds, not only provides what is needed but also gives a sense of accomplishment and personal effectiveness through the Power process. But this is not limited to the physical aspects of the body... it can also be applied to the mind (through intellectual challenges) and the spirit, resulting in a different kind of "satisfaction," which the Greeks refer to as Agapé--a connection with God and Nature.