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Category: Exploratory Essays Research Papers; Title: The Power of Nature

In the real world, it is rare that any of these forms of power is exercised on its own. More typically, exercise of power involves a combination of some aspects of at least two, and oftentimes all three. Sociologist Paul Wehr refered to the mixture as the "power strategy mix"--the specific combination of sticks, carrots, and hugs that is likely to yield the optimal result. When one is dealing with an opponent who is reasonably agreeable and likely to negotiate, all one needs is a carrot, with a bit of a hug, perhaps to make sure the negotiation is cooperative, not competitive. If the opponent is unwilling to budge, however, a minor show of force (as little as necessary) might get them to reconsider and come to the negotiating table. Sometimes, however, a major show of force is necessary--but as the essay on shows, that approach has grave dangers. Those dangers can be termpered, at least to some extent, by integrating "some carrots" and even some "hugs" into the mix--which is actually what the US tried to do in the second "nation building" phase of the second Iraq war. Here the U.S. switched away from the heavily stick-based approach of "shock and awe" to an approach where only violent insurgents were targeted, while the military tried to build relations -- and infrastrcutre such as schools, water projects, power plants, etc. for the peaceful population.

Prior to reading this essay, some readers may have never imagined that their smallest misdeeds could be so intimately related to the largest evils. Similarly, you may not realize that your slightest virtues are also intimately related to the greatest good (as measured by results). Think of the man who committed suicide. In his suicide note he wrote that as he walked to the place of his death, he would not kill himself if somebody smiled at him. Did you know that a casual smile could save a life? A line from the movie Shindler's List says, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire." In contrast to the idea that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one" (Spock and Kirk), the line from Shindler's List resonates with the idea that the quality of human character needed to save the one is the same that is needed to save the whole world. To be mindful of even our smallest capacities for virtue is to be mindful of the world. The greatest of human powers for both good and evil that hold sway over the whole world are not separate in their nature from the smallest manifestations of that power in the life of one individual.

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