Detachment (Power)

In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. The unit of power is the joule per second (J/s), known as the watt […]

Energy transfer can be used to do work, so power is also the rate at which this work is performed. The same amount of work is done when carrying a load up a flight of stairs whether the person carrying it walks or runs, but more power is expended during the running because the work is done in a shorter amount of time. The output power of an electric motor is the product of the torque the motor generates and the angular velocity of its output shaft. The power expended to move a vehicle is the product of the traction force of the wheels and the velocity of the vehicle.

– “Power (physics)“, Wikipedia

My professor says very boring things in very interesting ways.  Interesting because she’s a walking contradiction. Every other point she talks about is on a “It Depends” theme, and in alternation is her talking about things which seemingly are determined to be absolute truths. How much meaning is conveyed nonverbally? It depends. Do people communicate through touch? Yes, absolutely everyone, because premature babies who get put in incubators are much less developed than ones who aren’t, and we all know that physical comfort is necessary when we’re feeling down. It’s like watching someone play Minecraft every time I go into that room. You could go ahead and play the game. Or you could just godmode your way around things instead. Order is an option; if you think you believe something then it’s an absolute truth and anyone who says otherwise “doesn’t know the research”, but if you don’t then hey, anything goes and it all “depends”. One would think that if something “depends” then it clearly is “dependent” on something and therefore the goal is to find that something, but that’s not what they mean. One of these days the language they use in these humanities/social science fields will just devolve to high school “it’s just your opinion” debates.

Even when they decide to play the game, it’s not the game I’m playing.

Under “Kinesics”, the study of body movement as communication, the professor noted facial expressions as very salient. The opening explanation was fairly straightforward, but then she went on to talk about how the face is why people are polite. The further you get away from the face to face, the more “argumentative” people get, the end point which is the internet. I don’t doubt the face is something I am “fixated” on; what I doubt is the entire method of deriving reasons from such a fact. Throughout the lecture she was speaking of history and biology as some kind of a videogame. In talking about personal space, it was as if she was simply content to say “we all have differing levels of personal space” as simply something true but irrelevant, as if her Hawaiian boss’s preference for being closer when talking than hers was simply arbitrary like we all went through this character creation screen before being born and clicked the random button and whatever we happened to get, hey, that’s nice, let’s run with it. In explaining how nonverbal communication has different types of primacy, it was as if she was talking about a caveman story in some book or movie, something which has absolutely nothing to do with us and our own lives. Oh, men take up more space because they used to be the protectors and so they’re territorial. Women are more likely to gaze into each others’ eyes and form bonds while men ~stare~, IM WATCHING YOU, I HAVE CONTROOOOOL. It was simply theatrics for a while but today she talked about “power relations” in that same manner.

“Posture has a power dynamic to it, apparently.

It is as if she didn’t know this until she was told. That would make sense though, because this is a world of left-wing capitalism, and she’s a woman. Here is how you use the “it depends” logic structure properly: My professor is a woman. Her being a woman depends on something which was and will forever remain something outside of her control. Her perspectives and thought patterns depend on her being a woman. The probability of whether one recognizes power dynamics depends on what sex one is – namely a positive dependence, or in other words, a positive correlation. That correlation is that if you are a woman, you do not understand power dynamics. We aren’t all women, and yet almost all of us treat “power dynamics” or “power relations” or “power broker” or “jockeying for power” as something that’s simply not part of our universe.

Or maybe we are after all.

“The basic idea of leftism is that there are no superior human beings, only superior actions, namely those which affirm that there are no superior human beings. And the basic idea of capitalism, if you like, is that everything is for sale. […] As it turns out, capitalism is the best form of social engineering that we’ve devised. It’s the best means of inculcating people with the idea that there are no superior human beings.”

– graaaaaagh, “Lesbianization

We know it to be true that face-to-face communication is generally more polite, cordial, and effective than other forms. Is this because we’re compelled by a face? Because we see two eyes on a horizontal axis and a nose and mouth aligned on a perpindicular one, with hair on top and a neck below? There’s certainly some countering evidence, most obvious of which is the quality of YouTube comments and the existence of road rage. We don’t have the data for how people would react to 3D videos, but such a hypothesis does not need to be tested. There’s been a clear answer to why people are more polite when they are “face to face”, and it has nothing to do with how eyes ~might~ be “windows into the soul”. F=ma could be wrong, but it’s such a simple explanation with such a high success rate there’s no point in engaging in engaging in further “tests”. Yes, you could be right. Yes, you could find the next big thing. But the fact that there are a bajillion better things for you to be doing is why people scoff at you. We don’t need to wait for an infinite amount of evidence from an infinite amount of sources and methodologies, because infinity never arrives.

People are more polite “face-to-face” because there’s a physical presence behind it. It’s a direct correlation. The less physical presence you have, the more likely the other guy is not going to care for etiquette. It has nothing to do with the face; people will be polite to you even if you have a mask which obscures everything and leaves only an ovoid above your shoulders. Assume some level of politeness when you’re both seated in a fancy restaurant in movement-restricted formalwear; he is someone you don’t know. Other guy is now in casual wear, does his level of politeness go up or down? Assume now you’re both on bikes riding somewhere that isn’t the middle of the woods, does his level of politeness go up or down? In a car on a freeway, up or down? Whether or not you have a face fundamentally doesn’t mean anything, because humans can’t recognize other humans as humans unless they know each other well already. But they do recognize you as a moving actor with noninsignificant mass and power, that is to say, capable of enough joules a second to be worthy of note. Unless they’re very handy with blades or projectiles, then maybe they don’t. Posture is simply a modifier to physical presence; even the strongest men aren’t so scary when they’re sleeping or lazily hanging off a couch.

This is the fundamental of what power is. Rate of energy output; something all of us have. It is not some fluffy thought bubble word for paparazzi photos. How much power you have is how much energy you control and how fast you can put it out. Powerful people are not powerful because you have feeeeeeeelings, it’s because while you take however many calls to get an interview and then however many more to get a shit part time job, and type out so many letters to get somewhat of a point across, with one phone call and a handful of words, they can end someone’s existence. These differentials will always exist, and thus an order is formed around them. It is not “progress” that we do not think about power structures anymore, it is retardation.

Yesterday Captain Capitalism wrote on the rant I made about Engineering, and I read the comments (and a little more around online): it’s fairly obvious all the best people never actually play the HR game. The logic makes sense in a traditional manner; if you are leading a team you’re not just going to go ahead and read a bunch of papers and host an appointment with someone whose aim is to get inside your head, you want to get your hands on that one guy whose skills and personality you’ve been hearing about forever from a good friend. “That one guy” has more physical presence, he is a proxy existence rather than an ink-based existence. Indeed he actually comes into existence when you meet him, as opposed to the guy who went through the standard application route who more likely than not will appear only as an extra.

In the end, this is how the strongest human bonds are: human, not paper and words.

When I first watched this video, it was my second thought on how much coordination and reaction speed it must take to execute such maneuvers. My first thought was “How much did these guys pay to rent out that much of San Francisco?” The way we’ve been taught is that you can’t simply use public goods that way; you can’t simply close down the friggin Bay Bridge because you want to make a video with a guy drifting in some car for a shoe and an energy drink company. That’s not how it works! You’re not allowed to do that! I can understand a little more just random streets and the scenic portions, but still. And my parents simply said: They didn’t pay. Perhaps some money switched hands, but that’s not what created nor sealed the deal. The mayor of San Francisco (or whoever) was probably friends with the friends of the guys who wanted to make this, and the main reason why it went through was simply because they were friends. Maybe some other justifications were used to other people along the way, including money, favors, public image, and business agreements. That’s probably how all companies rise. But that’s not how the most amazing pieces and resource usage, like this, get done. It’s purely because a relationship was already there.

I don’t know if this explanation is true, but it makes a hell of a lot more sense than them having gone through hundreds of pages and months filing for permits.

It is a mistake of the West to believe that “I’m not allowed to do that” is equivalent to “You’re not allowed to do that”.

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2 thoughts on “Detachment (Power)

  1. Pingback: (Don’t) Play Nice « All Else Is Halation

  2. Pingback: Links & Ladies: November 2, 2012

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