More on power

Published on Sep 28, 2020

One of the consistent ways that I have seen power being acquired and expressed is through divide and conquer. I have written about this phenomena before but it needs a post of its own.

Divide and conquer definition:
The policy of maintaining control over one's subordinates or subjects by encouraging dissent between them.

Divide and conquer as a strategy is very effective. As I listen to history of many different civilizations, this strategy always comes up. There is an element of cult mentality about this strategy. First, there is an indoctrination of an identity of some sort. Usually that entails telling that one identity as special or superior in some way. And if an individual does something (the ask) for joins this team or "cult", then he/she gets accepted in the special group.

All of us want to belong and believe that we are special in some way. I keep thinking about the many conversations I have had where I was told that I am different. This compliment is loaded in the behavior that it pushes the recipient into doing.

"Most people can't handle this workload but you, you are special."
"Most people don't understand why we do this, but you, you are different."
"Most people question the wisdom in this culture, but you are not like the rest."

The burden of trying to live up to the request of a manipulative person who is trying to divide and conquer is subtle. I usually recognize it after the fact....

It is only lately that I am thinking about motives, power and this divide and conquer strategy.

I am learning to recognize that power is usually extracted from the person who is giving it away. It is not easy to have power but a lot of people have spent time and energy to master the art of stealing our consent away.
Next time someone tells you that you are different - pause and reflect.