The Nature of Power
In 1948, the OECD was formed by several European nations in what would become the first step toward the formation of the European Union. The creation of the EU was revolutionary in that nations gave up unprecedented amounts of their sovereignty, resulting in such acts as voluntarily subjecting themselves to monitoring of war materials (coal and steel) and culminating in the institution of the Euro and integration of European economies and societies, and politics. The success of the EU in the last few years is amazing not just because of its economic achievements, but because it signifies the first successful surrender of nationalism and the transfer of loyalty to a regional level, notions which would have been considered impossible at the beginning of the 20th century.
Taking into account the strength of nationalism in the 20th century, the phenomena surrounding the formation of the EU are hard to comprehend until the nature of power and its attraction to people is considered. Power plays a large part in human psychology, beginning when the infant cries in order to draw attention to itself and continuing as kids learn exclusion, join cliques, and as adults compete for respect and influence. Power is exercised from the most basic everyday relationships to the international stage. It is the ultimate motivator in society. Accepting this, it is easy to understand that the sacrifices made by the EU were made in the pursuit of greater power through collective unity, which overruled human affiliations with nationalism and the idea of sovereignty. The question we must ask is why power is so powerful a force. Power forms the basis of society because people want to live secure, respected lives. Simmel states that, order to understand the world, one needs look at the everyday’s individual components (Highmore 34). To that end, this essay will explore the fundamental nature and show the undercurrents of power struggle that are overlooked as part of the everyday and equate them with more prominent struggles of the same type.
Power manifests itself in a variety of ways. The one most often perceived is the power of brute force, embodied in political and military leaders and disseminated in movies life XXX, TV series like West Wing and JAG, and bullies on the playground. There is power of the network, embodied in unions and other civil movements, and perceived through Thomas Gordon books, human interest news stories, as well as gangs and school yard cliques. There is also power of influence, achieved by orators, demagogues, community leaders and intellectuals, and power of guilt, exploited mainly by religious institutions. The latter two powers perceived less and talked about by few (usually by those who have or seek to have the power of influence), but are also more prevalent in everyday life. This essay will cover all forms of power in how they manifest and are perceived in everyday life. In doing so, it will...