The conventional analysis of the role of power in society has only focused on material sources of power. The discourse of this blog acknowledges that civilization has both a material and spiritual dimension, that science and religion are complementary systems of knowledge, and that human nature has both a material and spiritual nature. All of these notions follow from a certain understanding of reality itself – that reality, on an ontological level, has a spiritual dimension, as well as a physical one. We have physical laws and forces, which we have only recently begun to comprehend and harness; and we have spiritual laws and forces, which are relatively more intangible that we have a more dim understanding of at present. However, we respond to spiritual forces regardless of our understanding of them, just like we respond to gravity regardless of our understanding of it. It follows easily, from this understanding of reality, that there are physical or material sources of power, and there are likewise spiritual sources of power. How do we draw up and factor in these powers?
Humanity’s history clearly proves the ability to conceive of power in more creative ways than brutish military strength or manipulative economic clout; evidence demonstrates that the human race has always tapped into spiritual sources of power. These include the power of beauty, the power of justice, the power of humility, the power of cooperation and reciprocity, the power of selflessness. Even more obviously is the power of truth, responsible for great artistic, scientific, and philosophical advances; the power of character, inspiring countless generations to create positive change; the power of unity, without which we have no progress; and the power of love.
Before delving into the process of drawing upon these powers, we can already see by this short list of spiritual sources of power that they are unlimited resources – power need not be reduced to a scarce material good for which groups must compete. There is not a fixed amount of humility, cooperation, unity, or integrity, which, when used up is then gone. Understanding that intangibility is not mutually exclusive with existence helps one understand these powers’ unlimited ability to transform society and human thought.