3.23.2009

Power Games

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of going to a St. Paddy's Day party at a new friend's house. We had corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes, natch. After eating, the group broke out a game called The Great Dalmuti. It's card game that, with the right players, can be a heck of a lot of fun. We did have the right players and Janiece giggled so hard, her mascara ran. One of the interesting aspects of the game is the strategy involved in knowing when to play what cards when (which, as with any strategy, can backfire). A key point to that strategy is gaining control of the game (ie. being the person who chooses which cards to put down at the beginning of a round). It occurred to me as we were playing, that I was not taking full advantage of the strategy and power plays.

I know that as a kid, I manipulated my brother and sister so that I would have power over them, mainly by exercising (or not) my ability to entertain them. As they grew up... as WE grew up, they found other sources of entertainment and I gave up the notion that I had (or wanted to have?) power over others.

So now, as an adult, I see when I give up positions of power. For example, if I do something not right, like snap at someone when I'm tired or cranky, I'll apologize for it later, even if it's not necessary. I know that apologizing unnecessarily puts me at a disadvantage in the game of human interaction, but I do it anyway. I'm not sure why. Why give up power for no apparent gain?

It's all an interesting puzzle.

6 comments:

Nathan said...

I don't accept your premise. If the apology removes the transgression from you list of "shit to worry about", you've made yourself feel better. There's your gain.

The only decision is whether or not the gain outweighs the "power" you perceive yourself having given up. I'm sure there are as many different answers as there are different people.

Janiece Murphy said...

Why give up power for no apparent gain?

Because you're a decent human being who doesn't want to unnecessarily hurt others?

Mummy Grabill said...

As Nathan said - there are many different answers as there are different people. For example, I don't see apologizing as a relinquishing of power. I can definitely see where someone might see it that way - but for me, personally, I don't see it that way.

But, when I really think about it, I think it ultimately doesn't matter how it seems to me, it only matters how it seems to you. Because the only one who can give or take away power from you is yourself.

Anne C. said...

MG, breaking out the deep philosophy before 8 o'clock in the morning.

I do agree with the second part of what you said, and I think the post includes that (I feel like I am voluntarily giving up power).

[edit out long, involved metaphor]

It seems to me that, regardless of what we'd like to choose, on some level we need to be playing by similar rules with those around us, particularly those we interact with on a daily basis.

vince said...

Because the only one who can give or take away power from you is yourself.

I agree.

I also agree with Janiece.

Stacey and JR said...

I agree with MG; I don't perceive apologizing even when it's not your fault as giving up power. It's like saying bc you compromised with your significant other to do something they wanted to do and you didn't is giving up power. Sometimes words like compromise and apologize get a negative aura to them when they don't necessarily deserve it.
Once again I agree with MG that it doesn't matter how I percieve it, only how you perceive it.
BTW, my word verification is 'jessisms' - who the H is jess?