Joined: 08 Dec 2006 Posts: 300
Location: Richmond, IN
Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 4:37 am Post subject:
Everyone here is ignoring the fact that "theory" means the same thing in science as it does in mathematics. It refers to a statement that can be and has been empirically proven, and is 100% known to be true.
Lester, that is not true, and it is not true because of a fundamental assumption you are making, one which is unreasonable. You keep associating the cows with the concept of power when the two are not related in the example, just like walking and the cake are not related beyond the fact that you have to use walking to get cake, like you have to use power to get cows. Walking is subordinate to the cake like power is subordinate to the cows. Furthermore, as mentioned before, one would not walk if there were no cake, and one would not use power if there were no cows. The very use of power, its very measurement, is possible because of the existence of the cows. Again, cows have nothing to do with power. They are their own supreme beings that humans want. Power is just a measly little method that we use to get them.
I realise what your saying, but I'm thinking about AFTER someone has got cows, because everyone wants cows, the more cows you have, the more power you have. I'm not saying you use power to get the cows, I'm saying that the cows themselves, because they are so desired, are nothing more than units of power.
Yes I am connecting the cows and the power, but thats is because, as my theory states, all motivation is power, so the motivation to get cows, still, just power.
If you have more cows, then all you have is more cows. At that stage, power is irrelevant, as in, it's not being measured. No one is going to say, "look at Bob, he has so much power!" They are rather going to substitute "power" with "cows." The motivation for wanting the cows is not power; power is just the method for getting the cows. Who would ever say that the motivation for wanting to eat cake is having to walk over to it? That's essentially what you're saying here. Cows are objects of desire in and of themselves, in this scenario, not as part of power, which is the mistake you are making. No one wants the cows because they want more power; they want the cows because they want the cows, just like I want the cake because I want the cake (I'm hungry, it tastes good, or some other reason).
Your analogy with the cake seems to have led you astray, power can be both the way to get something and the reason to get it.
Like I said before, if you scenario is just that power is not the motivator, then it is useless to the argument, because you have created a world where my theory HAS to be incorrect, you are using cows as the premise and the conclusion.
Your argument is silly, because by the same token, you have created a world where your theory has to be correct. But it's not so much that you've created a world as you have manipulated, in your mind, the way the current one works to make your idea legitimate, as I have, merely to show the point that it is ridiculously childish to speak about ultimate human motivations. Power is no more a motivation for human action than the desire for cows. That's the whole point behind the exercise; you can come up with a million little scenarios like this, where the ultimate motivation is always something besides power. You can do this in a logical sense, as we've done, and a nomological sense. In the latter, there are many instances where power for the sake of power is the ultimate motivation, but there are other instances where it is subordinate to another need or desire (we'd need to analyze that on case-by-case basis).
I understand that power can have the two functions that you specified in your first sentence, but just like people can want power for the sake of power, they can want something else for the saking of wanting that something else (like cows for the sake of cows, or love for the sake of love). And there are instances where they want that something else for the sake of that something else more than they want power for the sake of power. They may also find themselves in an unfortunate situation where they need to use power to get that something else. This is causing your confusion, making you focus on power when you should be focusing on the real object of desire, the cows, the love, and so on.
I have not 'created' a world, I am talking about the very world we are in, and as far as I can see, every single motivation of humankind is ultimately fueled by power, even the fulfillment of the desire for something else(be it cows, or love, or cake) is really just a way to have power over your desire instead of your desire having power over you.
Unlike the world where everyone wants cows, this is the real world, and no motivation of the human species that *I* know of, in this real world, has ever been anything but power, be it disguised or not.
Like I said, all you need to do is find one thing, in *this* world that is a motivation and is not power, and my theory is disproved.
I would welcome that thing, because it means I could move to perhaps greater understanding, but you do not have it, and as such, my theory stands unchallenged.
The effect of your suppositions are precisely to create this idealized world, because, at present, the evidence does not indicate that your world actually exists. The whole cow example mirrors the inherent problems with your conception of the world. Obviously not every one wants a cow as their end-all and be-all in life, but it is equally obvious that the same applies to the notion of power. Your "theory" is contrived to place power at the top of the hierarchy with no reasonable justification. This, "every single motivation of humankind is ultimately fueled by power," is patently false, and also leads me to believe that you cannot "see" very well.
You are right about the falsificationist criteria in your "theory." My love for my parents is one example. I do not love them because I want or have ever thought about wanting power. My motivation for loving them, as is the case with most people in similar circumstances, lies in the fact that they raised me with affection and devotion, leading me to reply in an equivalent manner. Power has little to do with it, and your theory has been disproved. Of course, the little caveat that you forgot to mention to us was what you would do when presented with such evidence. It appears that you've engrossed yourself into this "theory" so strongly that no legitimately disconfirming evidence will make any impression.
One more thing: I forgot the definition of "power" that you gave, if you gave one. I'd like to have this because I am fairly certain that the curt definition you may once have given was hopelessly short to encompass the rich variety of human emotions and actions.
You love you parents because they have given you the power to have power, i.e. life.
Power is, as defined.
1. The ability or capacity to perform or act effectively. 2. A specific capacity, faculty, or aptitude. Often used in the plural: her powers of concentration. 3. Strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might.
The ability or capacity to perform an act effectively, the more power, the greater the act.
In what sense are you using the term 'power'? In every one of those definitions, just a few, or a specific one? If you generalize the denotation of power just enough, you might be able to get away with many things. The problem becomes that you can generalize the meaning of similar terms, like 'will,' 'capacity,' 'authority,' or 'command.' In that sense, you'll just come back to, basically, the same problems. The referential aspects of the term 'power' become so large and mired in confusion that they are essentially meaningless, and, most importantly, can be made unrecognizable from other terms.
"You love you parents because they have given you the power to have power, i.e. life."
Haha! Yes, that's exactly why I love my parents. Several problems with this approach. I'll get to the rational ones, but I want to mention a sociological thing first, something which reinforces my impressions: you are unlikely to seriously consider any disconfirming evidence. The difficulty here arises in that there are many people that can offer you cases of their motivations behind an action that does not involve power, but you will always analyze it in terms of power, no matter what. Karl Popper talked about the same problems with followers of Freud or Marx; they are willing to accept and rationalze anything and everything in terms supportive of their central theses, but are unwilling to seriously analyze contrary evidence. Also, the very fact that you've staked so much in this "theory" of yours, like your reputation on this forum, for one, means that you are unlikely every to renounce it here or in another public context where someone knows what it is that you believe. Now I'll get to the rational problems. The example given here shows that you have not perceived, in this argument, the distinction between what context of events allows me to love my parents and why I love my parents. The fact that my mother gave birth to me allows two possibilities (being crude for the sake of length here): I either hate them or I love them. Why I love them has nothing to do with the fact that they gave birth to me, because I could just as easily have, logically speaking, hated them. But my motivation for loving them is because of the way they treated me. Refusal to accept this answer means that you either think I am lying or misinterpreting the situation (probably the latter). In either case, because the argument has devolved into ad hominem aspects, ad hominem considerations must carry more weight. In this instance, the fact that I've come to my know my life, my parents, and our relationship means that I have a good sense that I am giving you the correct description behind this single motivation. On the other hand, you have absolutely no credentials on which to speak regarding this one issue, yet you offer all the answers with the apparent omniscience supposedly only possessed by the Abrahamic god.
This comes back to the sociological thing again: you apparently believe that, with this "theory," you can encapsulate all of human emotions and actions into one simple concept. That's a hell of a claim to make though! But if that's what you really believe, surely you can understand why your own standards for disproving the "theory" are completely bogus. No matter what apparently disconfirming information we give you, you will always play your trump card: that you know what ultimately motivates humans and we don't, therefore your suppositions must be correct. Should it be possible to actually speak with such authority on so complex a matter, then I have no compunction about stating that cows are the ultimate motivations for why humans do anything and being serious about it! I have resolved all problems relating to human motivations, and opened new ones at the same time.
I really don't have that much invested into the theory, I've never really held much stock in reputations, it's just an observation I have made, and like I said I am ready to discard it at a moments notice.
However, claiming that the standards of disproving are completely bogus is false, because power is one of the few thing that you *could* relate all things too, for instance with your cow theory, however much you rationalize it, you cannot explain to me why I would much prefer a box of chocolates as a gift than a cow, because from the box of chocolates I cannot gain more cows, and if the ultimate human motivation was to get cows, I would choose the cow, not the chocolates. So yes, I will always *try* to analyze it in terms of power, but it is the very nature of power that allows me to analyze all things in such a way, no other thing that I have found is able to have all things analyzed in terms of it.
In the Love V Hate statement, both emotions have enormous amounts of 'care' for the other party, i.e. your parents, and the reason you 'care' for them, which is what I assumed is what you meant by love, is that they gave you the power to have power.
Even if we were to make the assumption that power is a concept that you could relate all things to, which is ridiculous but you have made nonetheless, it does not mean that power is a concept that can explain that "everything." The very concept of power does not have the explanatory capacity to be able to rationalize so many aspects of human life, which you seem to think it does. I immediately noticed that you took this to be a postulate of sorts to your theory, but it is not founded on any compelling evidence or arguments.
Why you want a cow, in the scenario, does not have to be rationalized. You could conceivably imagine a world where cows were the most important possession a human could have, probably because they had some significance that did not fall under the now gigantic category of power. Cows could have some external importance relating to but ultimately uninvolved with human affairs. Likewise, you could imagine a similar world where chocolates replaced cows, or where power replaced cows. The point of this whole exercise, from your perspective, seems to be to find the ultimate motivation behind human actions. You have not explained why it is that humans have to choose power as that ultimate motivation, but you have maintained that the quest for power does drive their actions in real life. In that sense, your "theory" is descriptive, not normative. It says what humans supposedly do, but not what they should do. I can marginalize or downright ignore, as I will, your request for a normative explanation in the same vein.
The problem of semantics does not appear too pressing, but it is there nevertheless. You can balloon the meaning of the words that I mentioned above to have the same breadth as power ostensibly does for you. There could be dozens of words in the English language that apply as potential candidates for ultimate human motivation in your "theory." You may have chosen 'power' for convenience, but you are not limited to that.
The fact that you will always analyze human actions in terms of power, and that you openly admit it, means that the standards for disproving your "theory" are meaningless. The point is that, no matter what examples saying that power was not an important factor people give you, you will always analyze it in terms of power because you have made the fundamental assumption(s) that 1) There exists a single concept that can explain the motivation behind all human actions and desires and 2) This concept is what you call 'power.' There could be a variety of differences between you and others on how you see the concept of power - maybe others are not willing to grant power such a wide scope of operability - or it could be, quite simply, that people find rational or other grounds for disagreeing with your assumption. At this stage, this assumption you have made is equivalent to the assumption that there is a god or to the liberal principle that humans are essentially good, but unlike those principles, there is absolutely no incentive to trust this, partly because, as mentioned before, it is poorly thought out. At best, this assumption seems to have been an arbitrary creation, with little or no justification. You still have not shown that power is a primary candidate among other terms, like sex, love, or something else. In fact, your motivation for picking power as the sole concept behind all human motivations appears to involve, by your own account, rational reasons, not power itself. But, of course, I'm sure the boogeyman made you do it.