The Power Lens
There’s a passage by English humorist Douglas Adams that always comes to mind when I think about the power lens. In Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Adams writes about horses:
They have always understood a great deal more than they let on. It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion about them.
On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.1
What Adams correctly noted, with his characteristic insightfulness and humor, is that power changes how we see one another—assuming we see one another at all.
Just as the trust lens is worn when perceivers are ...