The Power Paradox: The Promise and Peril of 21st Century Power | Dacher Keltner | Talks at Google | Summary and Q&A

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October 14, 2016
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The Power Paradox: The Promise and Peril of 21st Century Power | Dacher Keltner | Talks at Google

TL;DR

Power is not just about force or control; it is also about influence and the ability to alter the state of another person. However, power can corrupt individuals and have negative effects on society, such as increased stress levels and inequality.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does power affect an individual's behavior and decision-making?

Power can lead to riskier behavior, violations of rules and laws, and rude or uncivil behavior. It can also diminish empathy and the ability to take on other people's perspectives.

Q: Can power corrupt an individual?

Yes, power has the tendency to corrupt individuals, leading them to engage in unethical behaviors and abuse their authority.

Q: How does powerlessness impact health?

Feeling powerless can lead to increased stress levels, elevated cortisol levels, and negative health outcomes. It is associated with higher rates of poverty and chronic conditions.

Q: What can be done to address the negative effects of powerlessness?

Empowerment programs and interventions, as well as promoting activities like outdoor experiences and mindfulness, can help combat the negative effects of powerlessness on physical and mental health.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Power is the capacity to alter the state of another person and it can be gained through advancing the greater good and showing empathy.

  • Those in positions of power are more likely to engage in risky behavior, violate laws, and exhibit rude or uncivil behavior.

  • Feeling powerless can lead to increased stress levels and negative health outcomes.

  • Current systems of power and punishment are often biased and lead to further inequality.

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