Principium Volume III, Book 13, Quote 1331 and 1334

1331. (3-3-2011) (The book “On Power” is going to be much more cerebral and feel abstract, but lend your mental faculties to it and bits of truth begin to come. Like the leaks in a dam, dike, or levy, as they begin they are small, almost forgettable, but time allows for them to weaken the structure (in this case think of ignorance) and eventually the full force what was walled up behind begins to come through in torrents. Ignorance is the wall, steady and sure study and the use of reason are the leaks, and knowledge is the final flood. It all takes time, so lend yourself to the task.)ATJ …some approximate idea of Power. We have found in it, through all its outward manifestations, the mysterious quality of its continuing essence, and this quality confers on it an irrational influence which cannot be brought to the bar of logical reason. Reason discerns in it (Power)ATJ three settled qualities: force, legitimacy, and beneficence. But try to isolate these qualities, and, as with some chemical bodies, they steal away into thin air. And this they do because they exist, not absolutely, but only in the minds of men. What for practical purposes exists is human belief in the legitimacy of Power, hope of its beneficence, consciousness of its strength. But, quite clearly, it wins its title to be legitimate only by conforming to what is in the general view the legitimate form of Power; it wins its title to be beneficent only by making its ends conform to those which men in general esteem; lastly, its only strength is, at any rate in most cases, the strength which men think in their duty to lend to it.

- Bertrand de Jouvenel – On Power, 1948

1334. (3-4-2011) (The last few quotes dealt with the idea of Divine Sovereignty as a means to use and gain power. That thought also shifted during the time of the Reformation when the power of the Church of Rome was broken up. The movement, then, went toward that of Popular Sovereignty.)ATJ In their view (the kings and princes and the people of intellect during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries)ATJ, while it is true that Power is of God, it was not true that God had selected the beneficiary. Power is an emanation of His will because He has given man a social nature, and has, therefore, caused him to live in a community: of this community civil government is a necessary feature. But He has not Himself organized this government. (He has left men free to act and be acted upon.)ATJ That is the business of the people of this community, who must, for reasons of practical necessity, bestow it on some person or persons. These holders of Power manage something which is of God, and are therefore subjected to His law. But, in addition, it is the community which has entrusted them with this something, and on conditions laid down by itself. That makes them (the ones selected to Power)ATJ accountable to the community. “It is for the will of the people to set up a king, consuls or other magistrates. And if good cause comes, the people may exchange monarchy for aristocracy or democracy, and vice versa; history tells us that it happened so at Rome.” (- Robert Bellarmine, 1542-1621 – De Laicis, Book III)

- Bertrand de Jouvenel – On Power, 1948

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


©2020 by BrightMind. Proudly created with

  • Facebook
  • Twitter