What is the secret of power?

What is the secret of power?

First, what is the source of the word “power?” What is the root of the word? (Note that the root or origin of any word may be related to the secret of the power of that word, as in the source of its power.)


1250–1300; Middle English pouer ), poer ) < Anglo-Frenchpoueir, poer,  noun use of infinitive: to be able < Vulgar Latin *potēre 

(replacing Latin posse  to be able, have power). See potent1

Latin- potentia power

potential = possible


1300–50; Middle English  < Latin possibilis  that may be done,

equivalent to poss ) to be able ( see posse) + -ibilis -ible

POSSE: [C16: from Medieval Latin (n): power, strength, from Latin (vb):to be able, have power]


c.1500, from L. potentem (nom. potens) “powerful,” 

prp. of*potere “be powerful,” from potis “powerful, able, capable”

(cognate with Skt. patih “master, husband,” 

Gk. posis, Lith. patis”husband”). 

Of a physically mature male organism: capable of having sexual intercourse and impregnating a female


So, the English word power originates with ancient terms for potential or potency as in sexual potency. However, it is obviously not a very secret power for a mature male organism to be capable of producing some specific outcome like the impregnating of a fertile female. In modern times, the sexual potency of a mature male organism is an obvious kind of power, like that of an erupting volcano. While uneducated people (even adults) might not know that sexual activity can produce pregnancy, that kind of potency or power is not exactly a secret.

Thus, a secret power would be something that influences what people perceive to be possible (and what they perceive to be powerful). This could be to secretly limit people’s perceptions of what is possible (or powerful), such as to hide a particular possibility from them or at least to distract them from noticing or studying it, such that they reflexively dismiss some idea or concept as ridiculous, impossible, not possible. This could also be to present unrealistic perceptions of what is possible to people, such as to establish idealistic perceptions of what is possible.

Establishing ideals can include the ideal of “the impossible” or even “the unthinkable.” However, that is a rather unusual category in language: “unthinkable.” Can you name one thing that is unthinkable? Can you think of one thing that is unnameable?

The secret of power is the use of symbolic coding, especially language. Why is the use of codes of symbolic language so powerful? Because everyone does it and so (almost) no one even thinks of it as a secret power.

Labels are powerful tools for influencing perception. The covert influencing of perception through the use of symbolic language is the secret of power.

Next, click here: How is language the secret of power? 

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A contrast between the letter G (top) and the ...

A contrast between the letter G (top) and the letter yogh (bottom) in Middle English. Both letters derive from the Latin letter G. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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