Three Types of Power

Anita McKone

Power Over

Power With

Power from Within

Fear (Panic)/Distrust

Natural Reassurance/Trust


Alone (divided and isolated)

Together (divided yet connected)

All One (no division)

Highly insecure people need full control over others’ minds/behaviour to feel ‘safe’.

Relatively secure people use love, empathy, support, solidarity to decrease fear, increase courage and resilience. Others given space to exist.

Awareness that your fundamental state of being is existence. Existence has value (truth), nonexistence does not (delusion).

Requires self-denial and obedience/submission to another’s will. One person’s control = total loss of control for the other.

Self-willed cooperation for mutual benefit, mindful of the whole.

No threat, no other. Simply being your Self.

Rewards/bribes and threats (carrot and stick) used to maintain forced control. False labels such as ‘respect’, ‘cooperation’ and ‘care’ applied.

Natural, unforced ‘reward’ is functional control, where basic needs for physical/psychological existence can be met cooperatively

No need for control

Conflict suppressed (and increased) rather than resolved

Conflict recognised and resolved around vital matters.

No conflict

Creation of ‘no-self’ or artificial self – no self-awareness, shut down of natural emotions telling you who you are, what you need. Drugs as compensation.

Natural biological self has self-awareness through natural feelings and emotions. Honest communication allows cooperation.

True, existent self that operates as calm awareness.

Political outcomes: Hierarchies

Shared decision making

Via Individual Conscience/Inner voice/Heart

January 2021

Developed from original concept of Three Types of Power by Starhawk in Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority and Mystery.