So that examining in time the relation of commands to events, we find that the command can never in any case be the cause of the event, but that a certain definite dependence exists between them. To understand of what this dependence consists, it is essential to restore the other circumstance lost sight of, a condition accompanying any command issuing not from the Deity, but from man. That circumstance is that the man giving the command is himself taking part in the event.

That relation of the commanding person to those he commands is indeed precisely what is called power. That relation may be analysed as follows.

For common action, men always unite in certain combinations, in which, in spite of the difference of the objects aimed at by common action, the relation between the men taking a part in the action always remains the same.

Uniting in these combinations, men always stand in such a relation to one another that the largest number of men take a greater direct share, and a smaller number of men a less direct share in the combined action for which they are united. Of all such combinations in which men are organised for the performance of common action, one of the most striking and definite examples is the army.

Every army is composed of members of lower military standing—the private soldiers, who are always the largest proportion of the whole, of members of a slightly higher military standing—corporals and non-commissioned officers, who are fewer in number than the privates; of still higher officers, whose numbers are even less; and so on, up to the chief military command of all, which is concentrated in one person.

The military organisation may be with perfect accuracy compared to the figure of a cone, the base of which, with the largest diameter, consists of privates; the next higher and smaller plane, of the lower officers; and so on up to the apex of the cone, which will be the commander-in-chief.

The soldiers, who are the largest number, form the lowest plane and the base of the cone. The soldier himself does the stabbing and hacking, and burning and pillaging, and always receives commands to perform these acts from the persons in the plane next above. He himself never gives a command. The non-commissioned officer (these are fewer in number) more rarely performs the immediate act than the soldier; but he gives commands. The officer next above him still more rarely acts directly himself, and still more frequently commands. The general does nothing but command the army, and hardly ever makes use of a weapon. The commander-in-chief never takes direct part in the action itself, and simply makes general arrangements as to the movements of the masses. A similar relation exists in every combination of persons for common action—in agriculture, commerce, and in every department of activity.

And so without artificially analysing all the converging planes of the cone and ranks of the army or classes or ranks of any department whatever, or public undertaking, from lower to higher, a law comes into existence, by which men always combine together for the performance of common action in such relation that the more directly they take part in the action, the less they command, and the greater their numbers; and the less direct the part they take in the common action, the more they command, and the fewer they are in number; passing in that way from the lower strata up to a single man at the top, who takes least direct share in the action, and devotes his energy more than all the rest to giving commands.

This is the relation of persons in command to those whom they command, and it constitutes the essence of the conception of what is called power.

Restoring the conditions of time under which all events take place, we found that a command is carried out only when it relates to a corresponding course of events. Restoring the essential condition of connection between the persons commanding and fulfilling the commands, we have found that by their very nature the persons commanding take the smallest part in the action itself, and their energy is exclusively directed to commanding.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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