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Chapter 16. Strategic Thinking Part Two > Key Idea #9: We Often Pursue Power Th...

Key Idea #9: We Often Pursue Power Through Dominating or Submissive Behavior

When thinking irrationally or egocentrically, the human mind often seeks to achieve its goals by either dominating or submissive behavior. Put another way, when under the sway of egocentrism, we try to get our way either by dominating others or by gaining their support through outward submission to them. Bullying (dominating) and groveling (submitting) are often subtle in nature, but they are nonetheless common in human life.

Power is not bad in itself. We all need some power to rationally fulfill our needs. But in human life it is common for power to be sought as an end in itself, or used for unethical purposes. One of the most common ways for egocentric people and socio-centric groups to gain power is by dominating weaker persons or groups. Another way is by playing a subservient role toward a more powerful other to get what they want. Much of human history could be told in terms of the use of these two egocentric functions of individuals and groups. Much individual behavior can be understood by seeing the presence of these two patterns in the behavior of individuals.


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