The Principle Of Least Interest

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Power Shift

So, are you interested?  This seems to be the question that is at the heart of the matter.  Let me explain. Just this past week I learned of a relational theory entitled, the Principle of Least Interest.  This theory, coined back in 1951 by sociologist named Willard Waller, suggests that the power in any relationship lies in the hands of the person who cares the least about the relationship.  Imagine that. The less you care about someone the more power you have over them.  Hey, this wasn’t my idea just what the theory seems to suggest.  Could it be true?  Well let’s examine it a bit further.

First of all in the arena of having and nurturing meaningful relationships it seems there should be no element of power one over another.  But here again isn’t it our nature to want to make sure we are the one who holds the control (my replacement word for “power” in this theory) in our relationships?  In fact, our focus should be the antithesis of this as we move towards a common bond of love for one another.  So, I guess in the end it really does get at the heart of the matter…the heart.  How does the power shift in this theory if we begin to see it through the eyes of the heart?  Let’s think on it for a minute or two. The more we love the less power we have.  It seems you can’t express love and power at the same time so one has to win out.  Shouldn’t it be love? The more you love the more vulnerable you’re apt to become thereby rendering yourself “less powerful.”  In the end though isn’t love the missing link for so many of us?  Isn’t it the key that unlocks the real power of our being?  Isn’t it what enables us to experience the fullness of intimacy with another? Come to think of it you could replace the word “interest” with “intimacy” and the theory still seems to hold true.  So, the question we have to ask ourselves is what “shift” needs to occur in our lives. This is a shift that will certainly not be automatic.  It will require some manual intervention and intentionality on our part for sure.  But can’t you just feel the power now?

https://jonthurman.com/2012/02/