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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %CONTROL PERSON COERCE MANIPULATE INFLUENCE BALANCE 900423 The thought of control of a person suggests the use of some form of force to cause a person to behave in ways which the person would not naturally choose to behave. Children who are engaged in spontaneous natural play are not being controlled to make them behave as they do in such play. The thought of control of a person suggests some form of coercion and perhaps even violence. It is possible to influence a person by presenting options and alternatives of which the person was not previously aware. The person's behavior may be altered by having more alternatives to choose from, rather than less. A change of behavior in such an instance does not involve coercion or violence; and we are therefore not inclined to speak of control in such an instance. If there is no subjection of a person's desire or will by the imposition of another desire or will, we are not inclined to speak of control. Control often involves subjugation of a person's authentic interests, desires, hopes, and aspirations. In instances of control of a person there is a lack of integrity in the relationship between the person who is controlled and the agent responsible for the exercise of control. Control entails a power conflict between the person who is controlled and the agent of the control. The relationship between the two is not one of integrity, but rather is one of destructive conflict. People may differ from each other as to values, ideals, goals, desires, hopes, aspirations and the like; and not attempt to control each other, yet profoundly influence each other within integrative relationships. There may even be elements of constructive conflict in their relationships because there are conflicts among whatever they represent and affirm; yet without efforts on their parts to be in control of each other. Their relationships are integrative to the extent that their relationships are free of attempts to control each other. Within integrative relationships participants are free of efforts to control. When there is confusion as to the nature of good and evil, ideals, values, and appropriate goals for healthy living---there is then a tendency for people to try to achieve some form of personal control. Often people believe it is good to try to control other people to promote goodness; i.e., there appear to them to be good forms of control, and it is good to be in control in good ways. Evil people are not properly in control, or are in control in evil ways; or so it seems. The real nature of relationships becomes more evident when it is recognized that in all forms of control there is an absence of integrity in the relationships between the person(s) controlled and the person(s) who attempt to exercise control. There is little or no integrity in the relationship between dictators and their subjects, between terrorists and the victims of their terrorism, criminals and the victims of their criminal actions, or addicts and codependents in their mutual victimization. Life becomes confusing in instances of coercive self control and disintegrative self discipline. It is hard to think clearly about instances in which the principalities of control are internalized in the person whom they attempt to control; but without integrity. In such instances there is personally internalized conflict which disintegrates the person within whom the conflict is internalized. In such instances one set of ideals, values and/or goals is internalized in a person in whom are also present fundamentally conflicting ideals, values and/or goals. The persons of a dual or even multiple personality within one human body are then attempting to control each other and are prone to regard each other as unworthy of respect, or even as being evil. In such instances there is personal disintegration as the conflict over control is played out within the person who is the victim of the conflict. There is no resolution of the conflict when either side of the conflict temporarily wins a battle; for in defeat the other side nurses resentment, anger, and plans for revenge. When people talk about what they and others should do, there are echoes of exercise of control of human behavior. Talk about moral obligations and ethical duties all too often carries overtones of manipulative control, rather than suggestions of expanded alternatives from which choices may be made. It is one thing to give a personal witness to real full-fulfillment in particular real personal experiences on the one hand; and quite a different thing to offer commands and injunctions about what should be, on the other hand. It is one thing to give a personal witness to lessons learned from one's own personal mistakes---on the one hand; and quite a different thing to forbid others to act in ways which may or may not represent them making the same mistakes---on the other hand. It is disintegrative to try to control people so that they will not make mistakes; for their responses to attempts to control them are more likely to be mistaken, than are their responses to situations where attempts to control them are absent. Attempts to control people are misguided and disintegrative, leading those who are coerced into making tragic mistakes as they try to cope with the coercion and violence which is present in such attempts. Coping with such attempts to control is not satisfying if the coping is primarily a technical response to a perceived technical problem. The use of powerful weapons of coercion, manipulation, and control only increases the disintegrative experienced within the attempts to achieve control. Arms races do not lead to personal and communal integration; but rather to personal and communal disintegration. Arms races are expressions of escalation in efforts to control the behaviors of people who do not want to be controlled. No level of energy, power, or technical sophistication can overcome the fatal flaw by which arms races get started and by which they escalate. Such races can be stopped only through a general recognition of the fatal flaw in attitudes and thinking which initiate the races in the first place. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================