The Interpretation of History by Paul Tillich
Paul Tillich is generally considered one of the century's outstanding and influential thinkers. After teaching theology and philosophy at various German universities, he came to the United States in 1933. For many years he was Professor of Philosophical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, then University Professor at Harvard University. His books include Systematic Theology; The Courage to Be; Dynamics of Faith; Love, Power and Justice; Morality and Beyond; and Theology of Culture. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.
I: The Problem of Power
Attempt at a Philosophical Interpretation
Every analysis of socialistic ideology must ask: What elements of bourgeois ideology has Socialism taken over? Has it done so consciously or unconsciously, impelled by the irresistible force of the general social situation? And— whether conscious or unconscious—is the assumption necessary or not from the socialistic premise; is it justified or not?
Socialism possesses the most thoroughly elaborated theory of society. To every theory of society there belongs a conception of the object of socialization, of man. And since man stands within nature, and phenomena of socialization are present in nature also, a conception of nature belongs to every theory of society as well. The socialistic theory of society lacks neither, but neither has become explicit in it. The theory of man and nature of the anti-idealistic tendencies of the nineteenth century determines the socialistic conception of nature and man. Feuerbach has the strongest influence. He provides the anthropological basis for the doctrine of ideology. And philosophical Positivism provides the horizon of the whole world picture. Historically this is comprehensible. Idealism was the expression of a conservative bourgeois society, interspersed with feudal elements, which was able to offer no serious resistance either spiritually or politically to the reaction, while the anti-idealistic ideas were represented by the revolutionary groups of the bourgeoisie. Socialism was first forced to depend on the ideology of the revolutionary bourgeoisie. To be sure, it also immediately entered into conflict with the latter, but the conflict did not dissolve the common basis. Granted, it attempted to strip off the bourgeois qualities and retain the revolutionary, but revolution as such has no ideology. What Socialism took over was still bourgeois-revolutionary ideology despite all transformation of its substance.
The historical necessity, which lent to rising Socialism the concept of nature and man belonging to revolutionary bourgeois society, is not a necessity intrinsic in the nature of Socialism as such. And if in the present, the theories of’ nature and man are in the process of decisive change, the task arises for Socialism of re-examining its presuppositions, and in case of need, transforming them. It cannot reject the new theories for fear that they are late-capitalistic ideology. Even if it harbor this suspicion, it must examine them objectively and can only consider its suspicions proved when examination has shown their theoretical untenability. If negative proof fails—and I believe that it is doomed to failure in spite of the whole unclarified state of our new thinking—then there arises the positive task of uncovering the social structural changes with which the changes of concept are connected, and of using the fruits of this insight for one’s own formation of concepts.
The problem of power has aspects which make it appear especially suited to such an examination. It is simultaneously timely and fundamental; it is as much concerned with the conception of society as with that of man and nature. The attitude toward it reveals with great clarity the horizon of a world-view as well as the political status of any one group. Besides, the constant interchange of power and force has caused so much confusion in judging the groups of power and the social structure, that even a clarification of the concepts would be of considerable significance.
The following, because of the limitations of its space and form, cannot give more than an emphatic and manifold indication of the problem, and cannot attempt more than an appeal to the thoughtful conscience of political theorists, to catch up on matters of decisive importance that have been overlooked. Both purposes, however, are accomplished best by taking as a subject of discussion an interpretation of power, differing considerably from the usual one.
A. Might and power
If power is understood to be the assured possibility of exercising force, Socialism would have to disavow it to the same degree that it disavows force. But it is wrong to interpret power thus. To be sure the possibility of breaking down resistance, that is, exercising force, does belong to power. But this possibility does not form a basis of the concept, but grows out of it. The foundation of the concept of power lies in the structure of existence itself, and indeed of human as well as pre-human existence.
Everything living, in an encounter, appears as a union of remaining within itself and advancing beyond itself, for this is the very basis on which rests the possibility of any encounter. The greater the strength—to advance beyond itself without losing itself, the greater is the might with which a living thing encounters; the greater is its spatial, temporal, and inner tension. How great it is, is decided in the encounter itself, in the reciprocal advance and retreat. One can interpret being as a constantly changing balance of mights in encounter; indeed, one can say that this is the original conception of reality and that the abstract question about being could arise only in a late period of history, as, e.g., in Greek philosophy.
This conclusion prompts the rejection of the positivistic concept of nature and man, insofar as it appears as the only form of scientific observation and as it is also accepted uncritically by Socialism. Instead, there exists the possibility of turning back to the dialectical principle, which was effective in the social analyses of Marx. Dialectics also knows no objects whose essence is fixed, but only functional relationships in which the meaning of every element changes according to the moment of development. In dialectics, being is realized in social tensions. Since, in the social tensions, universal, human, and natural tensions also take effect, an analysis of society must not overlook them.
If all being is indeed a balance of tensions of might, then social being is a balance of tensions of power. For power is might on the level of social existence. Might, as a general term embracing nature and man, appears in the force of a wave rushing into the land and ebbing; as well as in the unfolding strength of a tree, which overshadows others until it is itself overshadowed; in the prominent position of an animal in the herd, which another will perhaps soon contest; in the impression of the adult on the small child and the mutual dependence of the adult on the child. Might belongs to everything that advances upon us, that gains authority, that is dominant—perhaps only to retreat the next instant and give way to something more dominant. Our whole world of perception is built up thus, and this encounter in mutual tension of might and impotence is the original being of things. On the social plane, it is the same. Yet here a new factor is added: the balance of tensions of might is not accomplished without consciousness and will. Social might proves itself in the successful advance of one will against the other. He has power who can attain a balance in which he retains the chance of accomplishing his will. How can such a balance be achieved in society? Obviously not through one man threatening his fellow like a highwayman, forcing him to do his will, but through society’s creating definite positions of power and turning them over to definite individuals. Power as a social phenomenon always depends on a position of power recognized by society, on an institution in which society collects its intrinsic might and only thus really constitutes itself. The might of a group can really only be born when the group creates for itself an unified, advancing, and eventually retreating will. The institution in which this happens is the sphere of power determined by the group. Only he who directly or indirectly, openly or secretly is accepted in this sphere is in possession of social power.
The power, in which the group wins its might—and this means its existence as a group—is always simultaneously the power of the group and power over the group. And does not exist without the other. If it were not power over the group, then it would attain no unified combination of individual will; therefore, no social existence. If it were not power of the group, then the group would not have created the position of power which is the prerequisite of all social power.
B. The structure of society
As a matter of principle, the position of power prepared by the group can be taken over by all individuals (as in complete democracy) as well as by one individual (as in complete dictatorship). In reality neither one thing nor the other can occur exclusively. Even in the perfect democracy there would be (beside representatives and executives) individuals and groups of excelling might, who would indirectly be the actual bearers of the power (cf. the indirect rule of capital in present democracy). And in the perfect dictatorship there would be a group supporting the dictator, standing at his disposal, which would then make the dictator dependent on the group and win a decisive part in the social sphere of power (cf. the prætorians in ancient Rome, the Fascist party in modern Rome). With each, it is a group within the superior group that attains to power through the social position of power—openly, in the feudal classification, covertly in the democratic, openly or covertly in the dictatorial. This sub-group is in turn the creator of positions of power within itself (hierarchy of leaders), and in many cases enters thus into the position of power of the upper group (identity of party leader and chief of the government).
Now which is the supporting group, by whom in general the social position of power is grasped? In principle, it is the one in whose might the total group can view its own might. Now the might of the all-embracing group does not stand firmly before it has collected itself in a position of power, i.e., before a sub-group has grasped power (a condition which of course never really exists, but must only be thought of as an abstract possibility). In one and the same process a group comes to a definite existence and a sub-group within it grasps the position of power. On this rests the ambiguity of every concrete power; it can be understood as the expression of the collective will of a group, or as the production of this will through the ruling group. For the first interpretation we have examples wherever an apparent failure of the ruling class brings another class, which already participated in power, to exclusive reign (as in the French Revolution). For the second, we have examples such as the subjection of one tribe by a foreign one. (Theories of state like that of Franz Oppenheimer, which derive the state from foreign rule, cite such illustrations. They overlook that in the subjugated race a position of power and a group made powerful by means of it, were already in existence.) And yet the two are not contradictory. Even in the first, the new will of society becomes reality only through revolutionary change of power. And in the second, the foreign tribe, or its ruling group, steps into an existent position of power, whose defective occupancy by the native group of power created the possibility of subjugation and even (more or less consciously) made subjugation desirable (as often, e.g., in the subjugation of foreign nations by the Romans).
From the inseparable intertwining of the might of the total group and the sub-group in power, arises the dual attitude of society to the power which holds it together: it is the interrelation of consent and demand. Consent is seldom expressed overtly. Usually consent is expressed by simply allowing the group in power to rule because of a predominant feeling that this group represents the power of the whole group. Such implicit consent supports every state. The parliamentary opposition, for example, does not deny the government this implicit acknowledgment. It only combats certain methods of realization of power. That is the meaning of the "loyal opposition." Only when the opposition attacks the system as such, as it usually has in Germany, and at the same time attacks the groups which come into power through the system, is the power shaken, for now the implicit consent is refused, and with it the decisive foundation is taken from the power. The total group does not find its intrinsic might in the ruling group.
The loyal opposition represents the demand of society on the group in power. The gist of the demand is that the position of power of the leading group shall express the meaning of life and might of existence of the total group, that therefore the law and politics of a state shall correspond with the meaningful identity of total existence and group existence. This essential demand on the group in power does not imply the demand for equal rights of every group and every individual. As in feudal times, it can be considered altogether just that the bearers of the surpassing might, in whom the total group views itself, shall be equipped with prerogatives. Only when man’s capacity of reason is interpreted as his actual might does the demand of equal rights follow.
C. Power, law, and interest
On this basis then the tendency can develop to dissolve power for the sake of a law which is independent of any powerful group, the realization of which is the work of functionaries rather than possessors of power. This ideal is common to all socialistic aims. But the question is this: is there a law independent of power in form as well as in content? The answer to both must be negative. There is no independent law from the point of view of its form, because the power determining law in free decision and executing it belongs to the law and therefore can never be resolved into a mechanism of administration. There is no independent law from the point of view of content, because the concrete existence of a special social group is expressed in each law. And indeed it should be the existence of the total group; in reality, it usually is only the existence of the individual group, in which the total group realizes itself. Only a completely homogeneous total group would need no representative sub-group. But such homogeneity is to be expected nowhere, if our description is true that every life is a unity of remaining within itself and advancing beyond itself. For each of these tendencies requires a certain psychological and sociological structure, and therefore a particular supporting group. It is characteristic that homogeneous groups (as far as the reports are dependable) can be found only in very primitive, entirely undynamic societies, whose life process passes essentially vegetatively. The assumption that after the removal of the class contrast through the proletarian revolution, a complete homogeneity of society could come into existence, would force one to expect a static-vegetative final stage. Such an expectation, of course, would not mean the beginning, as Marx thinks, but rather the end of history. Man would fall into a sub-historical sphere, and with that stop being what for us is concretely "man."
As soon, however, as the assumption of a simply homogeneous static, vegetative society is abandoned, the question arises of the mode in which a group within society takes over the function of advance. Each advance of a group depends on "interest" and has no reality without taking interest into account. Interest here is in no wise to be held equivalent with economic interest, unless one interprets "economic" so broadly as to embrace all possibilities of human fulfillment of existence. Interest is meant as tension toward higher fulfillment of existence in every sense. And it is not to be doubted that a social group which is the bearer of that advance, has this position only as a result of this tension. The consequence of this, however, is that the law and politics of a state are always the expression as well of the interest of the groups in power. This is posited with the universal identity of existence and tension of might, of social existence and tension of power, and can be denied no more than the dynamics of life and the concreteness of culture itself. Only through being the expression of an existence, therefore of a power, is culture concrete, real culture and not an abstraction, an impotent Utopia. Whoever rejects power in the sense of our exposition, must also reject the concreteness of culture, must resolve reality into an abstract pattern of reason. A social power becomes distorted only at the moment when the position of power created by a society is in the possession of a group whose interests have come into exclusive conflict with the interests of other groups and thereby with the interest of the total society. At this moment the revolutionary situation occurs, i.e., the social group faces a decision fundamental to its existence. The question of the existence of a group is raised anew as a question about the group which is to come into power. And the answer to this question necessarily occurs in latent or manifest revolution.
D. Power and spirit
If the concept of power is claimed for the social position of power, then a concept like "spiritual power" seems to lose its meaning. For spiritual power, to be sure, is effective in society but not on the basis of a position of power; on the contrary, through the power of the spirit itself. And to the power of the spirit belongs the quality that it acts without force; it is neither possible nor necessary for it to accomplish its will forcibly. Spiritual effect is effect through freedom.
And still it is not feasible to assert a spiritual power independent of the social powers. First of all, it is evident that spiritual realities, like mathematical natural science or Hegelian philosophy, are powers because they have had social effects on the largest scale, whereby social effects mean at the same time the production of ideologies and the change of real existence. But these effects could not occur unless real interests and social tendencies made room for them. No spiritual creation can take effect unless it be met halfway by "interests" of which it is the symbolic expression. Max Scheler’s doctrine of the impotence of ideas, insofar as they are nothing but ideas, in spite of the dubiousness of its development, in this respect contains a truth that is related to the Marxist doctrine of ideology. Only a spirit which is the expression of a vital tendency has power for life. To be sure, "thoughts that come on dove’s feet can rule the world"; to be sure, the thinker and the spiritual person, excluded from all social positions of power, can have immeasurable social effects. But he can do so only because a psychical or social trend of life finds expression in his thoughts and thereby attains form and power.
From this we conclude that spiritual power is power in the transferred sense. Spirit is power only in unity with life. And just as, according to the above considerations, there is no power without the support of the mental element of consent, there is, on the other hand, no effectual power of the spirit which is not supported by a vital tendency, by a social interest. Therefore it is valid to say: what is never and nowhere grasped by the indirect or direct bearers of the social position of power and put into a socially binding form, has no effectual might. It is powerless in every sense. Power is given to thought not by its mere entertainment but when through it binding forms of human-social existence are created. Spiritual might is dependent on the strength of expression which a spiritual creation has for the perhaps deeply hidden life-tendency of a group in society. Whatever has not such strength of expression can be clever or learned or sublime. It cannot possess power.
Indeed truth is the final, the actual power; not as an abstract norm that forces its way into reality and changes it, but rather as the concrete expression of the final tendencies of reality. Truth has power only as concrete truth, i.e., as the truth of a life-tendency; speaking sociologically, as the truth of a society; even more exactly as the truth of the group within society, which is inwardly powerful.
E. Power and force
In the creation of a position of power, a society realizes its intrinsic might, for only through the position of power does the society attain the unity of a concrete law and the possibility of political action. The unity of every society is conditioned by the overcoming of the tendencies opposing the unity, of the sub-groups as well as of the individual. To achieve this is the task of power. It is accomplished in two ways; first and basically through the character of the power itself, which we have called acknowledgment. As far as the implicit or explicit recognition of power reaches, so far extends its immediate power to overcome resistance. Beyond this it accomplishes its purposes in the form of breaking resistance, as force. Practically these two factors (conviction and compulsion) are inseparable. In the recognition of any legal code, no matter how well founded it is felt to be, the consciousness that in given cases it is carried through forcibly plays a part. Moreover, in all force proceeding from a recognized power, the silent acknowledgment of the power makes itself felt and helps to break the strength of the resistance. Nevertheless both must be distinguished on principle, since they penetrate each other mutually with changing preponderance. There is then a force (by far most frequently effective as the threat of force), which belongs to power and is recognized along with it. That each individual must constantly suppress within himself subgroups of life-tendencies in favor of his unified life-process shows that we are dealing with a very deep-seated phenomenon, through which the Utopian rejection of force is refuted. In every meaningful life-process of an individual and a society, the subjection of opposing tendencies for the sake of unity takes place. Force is therefore inevitable.
Force becomes distorted when the presupposition of meaningful power, the implicit acceptance of the structure of power, has disappeared, and power tries to maintain itself by means of the apparatus of power standing at its disposal. The worst excesses of force are to be found in situations wherein the inner foundation has been taken away from power. When force becomes isolated from power, whose function it is, it soon dissolves, for force thrives on acquiescence to it, even on the part of those who are subjected by it.
This exposition is equally valid for revolutionary force. It presupposes that the group in power, in contradiction to the meaning of life of the total society, only continues in power through the possession of the apparatus of power; that the might of the total group has long been dwelling in a group other than the ruling one; and that therefore the meaningful force, that which is united with the real power, belongs to the bearers of the revolution. The true power, resting on implicit consent, triumphs forcibly over a power that continues to exist only through the possession of the apparatus of power: that is the meaning of revolution.
Of course this meaning is not calculable. Revolutions are questions whose answers are not settled in advance. It is entirely possible that the ruling group may retain the power, although it no longer expresses the meaning of the total group unequivocally, because the revolutionary group does so even less. (Thus, for example in the peasant’s war, the defeat of the peasants was caused not only by the superior apparatus of power of the feudal group, but also by the inner weakness of the revolutionary group.) For this reason the forcible occupation of the social means of power is not necessarily decisive for the victory of a revolution. Only when it succeeds in creating a new structure of power, to which the strength of implicit consent streams, has the decision fallen in its favor. Therefore the idea that the revolution’s taking over the apparatus of power and using it inconsiderately guarantees its victory, thoroughly misses the mark. The apparatus of power must constantly renew itself from personal, material, and ideal vitalities of society. If it fails in this it breaks down, even if today the technical means of compulsory enforcement of power make a longer duration possible than in less technical eras.
F. Power and humanity
At present national states are the most inclusive groups which create a position of power for the sake of the realization of their social existence. They are designated as "Powers," i.e., as the most inclusive bearers of social existence. National sovereignty is the mark of a group of power which is not subjected to a more inclusive group. Consequently, the encounter of the sovereign powers occurs without the balance of a universal position of power created by them. The encounter takes place in an unbalanced state, whose structure constantly changes. As the acknowledged position of power is lacking, arbitrary threats and employment of force are in principle the only forms of enforcement of power. The change of this situation is possible only by the creation of an inclusive position of power which is acknowledged and subject to law, i.e., by the creation of a super-national unity of the state, removing the sovereignty of individual states. Such a position of power can be developed in two ways: Either by means of the national states—that is the attempt of the League of Nations; or by means of similar groups within the individual national states—that is the attempt of the Socialist Internationals
Despite all failures, the achievement of the League of Nations is that it has put into effect the idea of an all-embracing sphere of power superior to individual sovereignty; the struggle for power of the national groups takes place at least partially in the arena of a legal order, which is democratic in form and, in its composition, is determined by a group of leading nations ("the victors in the World War"). The existence of the legal order makes it possible to direct demands to the authoritative group and therefore to allow it, as supporter of this law, to enjoy some, even though very limited, consent. This consent must remain limited, so long as the national groups face one another as entities, that is, so long as the social existence of man is most highly realized nationally. This condition cannot be overcome, though only within narrow limits by the formation of more inclusive powers (the Pan-Europa idea). It can be overcome basically only by the rise of powerful groups, such as capital, the intellectuals, the churches, the proletariat which cut across national boundaries. Since capital at present confines itself nationally through protectionism, since the churches and intellectuals lack the strength to form groups provided by real interests, there remains for the formation of an international group of power only the proletariat. But the proletariat, as a result of its own division and the preponderance of the nationally bound groups in every nation, will not so soon become the bearer of a super-national structure of power. At any rate, it is certain that the growth of mankind as a social reality (not only as an abstract concept) is not possible by the simple elimination of the powers, but only by the rise of positions of power in which the sovereignty of the national groups is broken by an all-inclusive power. The social realization of the group "mankind," is possible only through the creation of an all-inclusive sphere of power and cannot escape the tensions between the total group and some supporting groups.
G. The renunciation of power
If might is "existence as such," and power "social existence as such," then the lack of might is the disintegration of existence, and lack of power the disintegration of social existence. The renunciation of might or power, therefore, would be within the renunciation of existence. A living creature renounces every vital and intellectual advance in space and time, a man who does not take part in the power of the group in which he stands, or a group that does not want to maintain itself in the concealed or open tension of all social groups, has given up its existence. Undoubtedly such renunciation is possible. It is questionable, however, whether it could have a positive meaning or whether it is only the expression of failing vitality depending on what part compulsion has in it and what part is genuine renunciation. The unequivocal positive renunciation of power would have to arise from abundance, not from exhaustion. It would then be the expression, not of impotence but of the highest might. If there were such a possibility, then the problem of power would have received a new dimension. Religions like Christianity and Buddhism presuppose this dimension, i.e., the positive possibility of renunciation of power. They can do so, because in principle they advance beyond the sphere within which lies the structure of might and power. In that case the renunciation of power itself signifies an advance beyond this sphere, and anticipates something that always has the character of transcendence. However, insofar as it enters into the sphere of the powers, it must itself become power, in order to exist. And so arises that paradoxical and yet very real concept "of power through renunciation of power." The possibility of such a paradox is based on the fact that the meaning implicit in every power, may transcend any tangible, limited meaning.
Furthermore, every meaning must contain an element of such transcendence, truly to be meaning. Therefore: in every power is an element of renunciation of power, and the power lives on this element, for being tends to transcend itself. The renunciation of power contained in all power expresses itself at all times in the sacred character of the powers, which cannot be explained away simply as ideology. Even in Marxism the proletariat, as bearer of the coming fulfillment of human existence, rising beyond that experience, has an objective quality of holiness, a "vocation," on the strength of which it can wage the victorious battle for power. At the same time, however, the holiness of power is the critical norm to which it is always subject. This norm is identical with the respective symbols of transcendence beyond the sphere of the structure of power. Such symbols are justice (not in the legal, but in the prophetic sense); love (which in Christianity is more a concept of expectation than one of experience); society without classes (whose pathos is the suspension of the order of force); the identity of all existence (in which the Indian world-consciousness advances beyond the order of power). These norms, of course, cannot be handled mechanically but must always be proclaimed anew to the powers. They are thereby made concrete and filled with the problems of the condition of society at the time, but they always point beyond them.
The express renunciation of power is possible only to man; the animal is limited by its life-process. It realizes its might within the limits that are set for it. It is a question whether renunciation of power is possible for human groups. On principle the answer must be, this possibility exists only insofar as a group is unified by the free decision to have power only in the paradoxical form of renunciation of power. Such a group is the "church" in the essential meaning of the word, i.e., a community which is determined explicitly and representatively by those transcendental norms, in which the renunciation of power is expressed. A church which really was what it essentially should be, would be the institution in which the structure of power in society and being would be transcended. It would be the visible conquest of the ontology of power.
Finally we must ask, whether a people or a group which originally is not the church, could renounce power by a common decision and thus become the church. This possibility is not to be rejected fundamentally. But such a decision must not come into existence with the help of the state power. A people can become the "church" only if in an unexpected historical moment it is seized as a whole by the transcendental idea and for its sake renounces power. Such an event would be one of the great turning points of human history; it would perhaps create "mankind."
Socialism and National Socialism stand on the same ground in that for both power is defined by the possibility of exercising force. Socialism—at least for the future and as far as possible for the present—draws from this the conclusion that: "Power should not exist and some time will not exist, for force should not exist." National Socialism on the other hand draws the conclusion: "Power should exist and will always exist, for force should exist."
Both conclusions are to be rejected. Still we must admit that the socialist conclusion contains more truth. For it contains, even if in veiled form, the thought of renunciation of power. The glance into the future in which, along with class rule, power, and force cease, is an expression of the advance beyond the mere sphere of power. The expression is questionable because it localizes again in history, in some coming history, the advance beyond history and thereby deprives the advance of its genuine transcendence. Renunciation of power means going out beyond history itself, i.e., beyond the structure of being, which consists of tensions of might and power.
Here National Socialism is more consistent. It sees that historical existence is not to be separated from might and power, but it overlooks the decisive fact that power without the consent accorded it, and without the demand that is made on it, is not power but only robbery and violation. It will not admit that the power of a group depends on the expression of the existence of a total group in it; it conceals from itself that brutal employment of force is a mark of impotence. And finally it forgets that from the sphere of renunciation of power, a constant judgment is leveled against all power.
Socialism must learn from National Socialism to take the problem of power more seriously than heretofore, to free itself from the confusion of historical and super-historical renunciation of power (even if this confusion is useful for purposes of propaganda), to see the human and thus the social possibilities free from Utopianism. To be sure, it can prove that National Socialism’s adoration of power is the expression of classes deprived of power, who out of resentment at their impotence cultivate a brutal ideology of force. But it must also realize clearly that the bourgeois anti-power-ideology was the expression of the concealed will to power of the bourgeoisie, in contrast to the open direct structure of power, of the feudal order of society. Socialism has no reason to carry on this concealment. In the conviction that its battle is the battle for the coming, just social order, it should try to conquer the social position of power in its full breadth, but in every act of this struggle remain conscious that the possession of the apparatus of power does not guarantee the possession, that the victory is won only when Socialism has attained the inner might, maturity, and development which in spite of all loud contradiction have gained for it the silent, even if unwilling acknowledgment of the total group. The power of Socialist groups and the ultimate victory of Socialism is dependent on the possession of such inner might. A group can attain inner might only to the degree that it subjects itself to the idea, which, transcending power, stabilizes and consecrates all power.
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