Anyways, I don't want to go through the whole theory because even I probably have some points wrong. But for class we are supposed to write portfolio pieces where we expand on one of the theories (just because) and I chose to relate this theory to the Gospel and our relationship with God and Satan. Here is what I wrote:
I generally don’t put sociological theory up against the Gospel, because it would be unfair to Sociology, but I felt it might be fun to look at Power-Dependency and Satan’s role in our lives. Quick review of the two aspects of Emerson’s theory of Power-Dependent relations: motivation (reward seeking) and source (access to). Unbalanced relations occur when people’s motivation for a reward is great and another person has a greater hold/access to that source.
In the Gospel, we commonly refer to our experience here as a battle between the two powers of Good and Evil. If we use the definition that Emerson uses for ‘power’, it makes one wonder how Satan has any power at all. If Satan’s power over man is equal to man’s dependency on Satan, that means we are affording him that power because we are dependent on him. We must be seeking for something that he can give us in order for us to let him have influence over us.
What are the rewards that Satan can offer mankind? We often talk about the ‘temporary pleasures’ that sin afford us, but it is only instantaneous gratification and never endures. While we are searching for happiness, those who do not understand the plan of the Gospel (or even those who do) may mistake gratification or pleasure for happiness. Humans, according to the scriptures, are in a constant search for this joy, so with the skewed perception of it, we may find ourselves giving power to Satan so that he can ‘reward’ us with the temporary pleasures.
The best way to avoid giving Satan such power would obviously be to keep in mind what we are really searching for. Remember that it is not in the one-time pleasures that we accumulate our happiness and gain eternal rewards. Instead, it is through the Gospel, of the continual progression towards our eternal possibilities. If we focus on that goal and seek for that reward, we instead give the power over to God rather than Satan. What could be better than giving God the power that He deserves?
Let’s say, however, that we do find ourselves in a power-dependent relation with Satan. How do we leave it? Emerson gave four ways to balance relations: withdrawal, network expansion, status giving, coalition formation. Withdrawal includes a change of motivation, or of the rewards that you are seeking. It would require, to decrease Satan’s grasp, to have a yearning for those rewards which are righteous and worthy of our attention. Network expansion would require finding other potential sources of happiness, but we know that this is only possible through the Gospel as provided by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Status giving could be one of the worst ideas to balance the relations with Satan, because it would involve the continual investment in his false rewards. Status giving is rewarding the person with power with a title or a feeling of power. For example, in families, the man is seen to have more power and so he is given the spot at the head of the table or leads family discussions. Our professors, with more knowledge that we are hoping to gain, are referenced in respectful tone and we submit to their authority of the subject we are learning. In Satan's case, I would assume that it would involve a form of Satanic worship, in the hopes that he starts to “need your worship” as much as you need his disgraceful pleasures. Lastly, you could form a coalition. Hoorah for religion! Through religion we have banded together to keep him out of our lives and have created a moral (and many times physical) support system.
Could it be, however, that we have power over Satan? I would argue that we do, in that he needs us to sin. The more stalwart we are and the more we resist to temptation, the more power we have over his tactics and attempts to bring us down. The fact that we are the source of his greed (our sin), and the less we are willing to allocate (to sin), the more dependent he is on us. In order to truly have power over Satan, we grow from the natural man into a child of God and begin our quest to undertake righteous actions and follow the path of God. It is interesting to see that we give other people power based on what we choose to seek. Are we choosing to give Satan power over us, or are we choosing to grant God the power to direct and bless our lives.
Obviously, the thoughts are not completely developed, as I was writing that in about 10 minutes. But I think it is something interesting to think about. Where is the power really coming from? Us. We can either give the power to God to save us or give the power to Satan based on our decisions and desires. I think it is obvious which one we need to be looking for.