...the states characterised by the feeling of ability or power [are] much more important in the human being than are the impulses resulting from a feeling of hunger, or thirst...
Harry Stack Sullivan (1940)
In psychology, power means the ability to affect, to influence, and to change other persons. each person exists in an interpersonal web...
Rollo May (1972)
The power demonstrated in the photograph is surely awesome. Sullivan seems to be giving equivalent importance to its psychological counterpart. The states to which Sullivan refers have received less attention from psychologists than matters such as social pressures and
Empathy can be used to describe two subjects having one feeling.
here May steps in suggesting five phrases of human power: from the demanding cries of the new-born, through childhood searches for self-esteem, then the positive assertion of ourselves as
The description of Mirror Neurons has contributed to this debate.
which may turn to dominating others, and even to violence from those who doubt their significance to their fellows. As psychological power is our ability to bring about
A page on the importance of change in our lives.
in others, so it is fundamental to social life. It may be translated into money, status, manipulation, charm, wit or brut strength, but however expressed it is implicated in the vast majority of humanity’s social problems, How facts and pictures are not enough to get people to act; we need the power of myths. not least in our transmutation of powerlessness into the greed which is destroying our world.
Sullivan remains one of the most influential, yet hidden, psychiatrists of the mid twentieth century. This quote is from his book Conceptions of Modern Society page 14, published by Norton. May was a big beast of the Humanistic Psychology movement of the 60s and 70s, and stands out as one of the few, of any sort of psychologist, to write about power, the quote is from p 100 of Power and Innocence also published by Norton.
The photograph was taken from the bank of Gullfoss - Golden Falls - where the Hvítá river tumbles into the cleft formed by the parting of the European and American tectonic plates in south-west Iceland.
Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.