Power In Thomas Hobbes : The Definition Of Power

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The definition of power varies depending on who wields it, but it can primarily be conceptualized as the ability to exert one’s will, whether as force with which to maintain the status quo, or as a creative tool to effect radical change or revolution. I argue for the latter by first outlining the ideas of the thinkers I am citing and then exploring and critiquing their definitions of power. Before proceeding though, I would like to note that power dynamics are deeply embedded into every aspect of society and shape our perceptions and thoughts in a way from which we can never fully extract ourselves. Instead, we can only seek to critically examine and analyze these relations, and I will discuss this at greater length in the last section.
Power, as it is conventionally taught, is thought of as brute force, or the potential for such, exemplified by a country’s military or its weaponry arsenal. Influential thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes have conceived of power as a destructive force to be held and possessed. Even more contemporary, radical thinkers like Malcolm X postulate power as the capacity of working in opposition to something else. This is not to say that I find this point of view to be incorrect; rather, I mean to point out that men, who have historically dominated discourse (Malcolm X to a significantly lesser extent as a black man) and who have had a platform to define power, have described it in this polarized, violent sense, perhaps influenced by patriarchal ideas of

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