top of page

How To Become Powerful As a Philosopher -- The 2 Powerbases

(Philosocom's Directory on Power)

A good philosopher is arguably not only one whose arguments are rational and reasonable. What makes them good is also their ability to generate and preserve power. By "power" I refer to the sociological aspect of the word: the ability to influence the world by making people do certain things, or make them avoid certain actions. And as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. So a good philosopher would handle their power wisely, as well.

While their reliability stems from their reason, if they are public figures, their power exceed or can exceed beyond that.

In other words, public philosophers are leaders because of their ability to exact influence. Not necessarily thought leaders, but leaders nonetheless.

External to logic, the philosopher has two power bases that are universal to all philosophers who were active in society (AKA, did not leave it in favor of a complete hermitage). A "power base" is simply the source your power comes from. You may find this term more common in politics, but I digress.

Money and other material means are irrelevant in this discussion. So I won't mention them here. They are also powerbases, but they are not necessary powerbases for all public philosophers. The powerbase of your money might as well be your wallet.

French and Raven discussed several power bases, and yes, I did some research. What we're going to focus on, here, are two power bases: expertise and referent. By the way, the term "referent" may be a misspelling, and could have been, originally, "reverent", which means "respected". "Referent" is a source for reference. A book can be a source one, as well.

The philosopher does not need to be part of an organization in order to be in this role. They don't even need to be part of any collective, in order to be good, according to the definition I gave in the first two paragraphs. As such, expertise and reverence are not necessarily organizational powers, even though they can be. A freelancer gains their power from being a hired expert for a job. A well-respected member of a community may be treated differently than a member who is depraved of respect, such as a petty thief.

A sociologically-good philosopher is one that is both an expert and is respected. In fact, these two values might as well correlate with each other in this case. Expertise is essentially the ability to apply the same knowledge, better than someone who is less-than-expert. What makes a philosopher different from a non-philosopher, is the former's ability to conclude deeper insights from the latter, when introduced to the same information. I've seen it myself with others.

Feel free to think that self-proclaimed philosophers are pretentious people who think they are better than everyone else. Some of us actually commit to our self-given roles, instead.

Respect is imperative if you want your missives to be effective. Respect and admiration are not only an indication of praise. They also indicate potential for greater opportunities. Opportunities such as collaborations with others. Opportunities such as progression in your own field, as a philosopher, and so on.

After all, you want to be taken seriously, correct? Be laughed by people constantly, and the extent of your power might be compromised.

Try to look at life as if it were a chess board, and perhaps you'll better know what I'm talking about. I'm not saying that human beings deserve to be treated like pawns. I'm saying that we should consider our decisions, as they have long-term implications.

Increase your expertise. Practice philosophizing whenever you can. Make people respect you for your contributions. Respecting them as well is a great start. That is the key for you to increase your power, for whatever intention you have in mind.

The morally-good philosopher, on the other hand, will seek to apply their power for the sake of good. By "good" I refer to the benefit of humanity. The reduction of unnecessary suffering in our world. To make people believe in themselves, and choose life over death, whenever they are tempted to depart from this world, willingly. To contribute and to give people new points of thought to refresh their experience, and expand their horizons.

This is why the expression, "with great power, comes great responsibility", comes here as well.

And as a moral being I aim to be responsible for my power. For I know my words can have an effect on others. Both while I'm alive, and both after my death, when they will be succeeded.

And as a morally-good philosopher, I see it a duty to bring some light into this dark world. My vengeful desire for World Relevance has already been achieved, and I'm achieving it gradually, with vengeance or without it.

So I drop off this emotion, and I drop off my vengeance for Chen. My war with her is over, for I want to use my power for good. And being vengeful for someone who hurt you with little care, is evil. Should I encourage evil, I will use my increasing power immorally. I will only remember her to not become the monster she was to me.

And fortunately for us, morality does not have to be an issue of religion. It is, necessarily, the issue of wanting to do good. With or without faith in whatever deity. Would you agree?

I will conclude by saying this: Those who are hungry for power, seek it as its own means. In other words, they seek power for more power. For the rest of us, power is but a means to an end. The ability to influence applies to this reasoning, as well.

And the more power you have, the more influence you'll gain within your lifetime, the greater the consenquences of your actions will be.

So be good, and most importantly, be wise in your investments. Unless you are dumb and/or evil? I hope you are niether of those. I really do.

58 views0 comments

Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

צילום מסך 2023-09-14 194035.png
bottom of page