Years ago I was impressed by the power of Law to transform me. I was impressed because I was sincerely changing my nature and behaviors due to the way I had encountered Law and Order (the justice side of it), and wanted to ensure that I did not encounter Law in that way before. I began a long series of thought experiments on the nature of Law and how it could be kept in books, yet exerted an effect into my life. It was a very curious thing to me -- how could this law, which is written in black ink on white pages in books, very obviously a dead and dry, desiccated, and powerless medium, have such a profound effect in my life and the lives of everyone around me?
Of course now I understand I was framing the question poorly; it's not in the black-and-white ink and paper, but somewhere else that the power of law is vested.
I studied and contemplated law from this angle for years, and turned up interesting insights from time to time.
I was really astonished when, at least a couple decades ago, I discovered that logic has no executive authority whatsoever. Logic compels nothing. It must be coupled with some other force, whether it be rhetoric's persuasive effect on the emotions, or raw brute force, or some other means. I had been contemplating logic along the lines I just described regarding law, and finally came to the realization that logic is a legal system that has absolutely no effect on someone who does not believe in it (i.e. is illogical, or pre-logical). Until then, I thought as most people do, that logic is powerful. But now I know that logic is powerless.
So I knew that one well, having discovered it years ago, when today, in conversation I was talking with my daughter about power. She is encountering someone who is exercising power in a clumsy way, an unjust way, really, and she and I talk about how to manage this concern from time to time, as she learns about how to manage power herself. Today I realized that the unjust person's power is the power of the pedant: it is not true power, but all borrowed, and reinforced by clever pedantry.
He has a wide array of tactics he can use to convey a sense of power, and if you resist any single one of those tactics (without weakenening it first, which thankfully we've done with the most egregious tactic he's using), he'll bring the whole army to bear. Each tactic is designed to draw the attention of others who do have power, in a manner where they will take his side, join him against "the resistance" and put down the rebellion.
Thinking about this dynamic reminded me of how logic is powerless (yet powerful, when used properly, it has been an enormously powerful force in my life for positive change).
Then I got it. I realized: Power is in a different domain than logic, and it is in a different domain than the pedantic approach, too. Power is illogical. It is meta-logical or pre-logical or post-logical or something like that, but all of these are "illogical." This I knew meant that Power was of the heart. The heart is not logical, at least, not in the categorical binary manner of logic that we normally associate with logic of the bicameral mind. It uses logic as a tool, but it uses other tools also, and is not itself bound by logic except when it chooses, usually by a means that is outside the bounds of logic.
From that insight I could see one which may be greater still: Power is only felt by the individual exerting the power while it is flowing. Once power has had its effect, the authority which caused the power no longer feels "powerful" because power is felt when it advances, not when it is static. When it is static, it is as if it does not exist.
I have more to say (i.e. the tripolar nature of power, if it is exerted too little or too much it is ineffective, so it must be exerted along the line defined by the actions of Grace, etc.), but must go do other things now. I will write more about this later when I have more time, but for now, I've captured the glimpse of the idea, and that's enough for the moment.