an extension of http://thingspowerthemselves.com
identity develops as the other recognizes the self’s own assertiveness, but this confirmation is effective only if the self in turn recognizes that the other has a mind like it’s own - separate and distinct - and a will that is sometimes opposed to its own. mutuality between self and other implies both attunement and separateness; reciprocity and love depend upon a continuing dialectic between self-assertion and recognition of the other’s sovereignty. this tension, a dialectic of control, allows for satisfactory love - that is, mutuality without its perversion into domination or submission. in this light, the acts of domination and submission can be considered the result of a breakdown in equal and mutual human relationships.
our gendered division of the world surely shapes the disposition of power but is itself not the sole source of the splitting of positions into dominant and submissive. failure of mutuality is one source of the desire for power, as well as existential anxieties (such as the fear of death) which can cause us to attach ourselves to powerful causes and leaders, or alternately, to deny our weakness and attempt to control our surroundings.
love and power appear to be alternate strategies for overcoming weakness and solipsism, and for establishing meaning. given the fact that the aims of love and power are so close yet can never be entirely achieved, it is inevitable that the one may be called upon to bolster the other. not only is love corrupted by power, but power seeks a measure of love.