What “Political Power” is
What “Political Power” is
Political science is a very complex and elaborate science. The concept of political power, considered by the Renaissance philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli as the core of political science, seems to lack a definitive explanation even with the presence of theories such as: the biological, the psychological, the cultural, the rational, and the irrational. Many would take the defense of a theory over another, but on the other hand, these theories can be considered as complementary.
The biological theory can be considered as the corner stone of political power. Aristotle, the father of this theory clearly states that humans have an innate need to form groups based on dominance hierarchies. In itself it fails to sufficiently explain how and why political systems are established, and this weakness paves the way to consider others, such as the psychological and the cultural theories.
The psychological theory states that humans have a deep-seated need to fit into groups and stay within the group norms where, as the cultural theory states, human behavior related to “politics” is learned and not inherited. The psychological and cultural factors both interact with the environment and events occurring during a period of time in a certain society, and lead to the establishment of a certain overwhelming state of mind. For example, after its defeat in World War I, the german society was flooded with shame, hate, and most of all a very low morale, where as the French society, after the French Revolution, was overjoyed, ambitious, and dreamed of a better lifestyle. The state of mind established by these two main factors plays a key role in the application of both the rational and irrational theories.
The rational theory by definition states that political power is based on the ability to reason as opposed to the irrational theory that is based on fear and propaganda. The application of one or the other is mainly dependent on the nature of the state of mind dominating the society in question. For example, a society close to the post-World War I german society, will naturally lean towards the irrational application because of the urging need of a figure of authority such as Hitler that would provide it with hope of a brighter and stronger future. Unfortunately this kind of system deteriorates into a tyranny at a rapid pace. But then again, a society similar to the post-French Revolution society, would lean towards a more rational system by seeking a person that would “maximize there interests” and naturally improve there lifestyle.
In conclusion, all these theories are part of an endlessly evolving phenomenon: Political Power.