Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Man, and his neurotic need for Power.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

-Abraham Lincoln

The popular discourse of the history of the human species has been largely dominated by its political aspect. Right from school to university, the greater focus of all those who engage in the study of human history is dedicated to the political activities of man. It is a simple yet significant symptom of the human obsession with power and all the problems associated with it. 


The ego is the center of the political impulse in man, politics is the process of obtaining power. Power is thought to be an attribute of the individual or entity wielding it, though in reality it is actually measured only to the extent one is able to influence the other.The lust for power is the insatiable need to influence the other, to make the other conform to one's will and desire, to have control over one's environment and to mold and shape their decisions and actions to one's own benefit and enrichment.Those who want power basically desire conformity and affirmation - whether through dialogue or subjugation. Indeed war is a struggle not only about who is right but what is right. War, and all political struggle is the struggle to be right, to show that one's means and ends are indeed justified.

And if such conformity can not be had by reason and persuasion, it shall be had with violence and force, with the use of arms; vengeance shall be visited upon those who resist; history will be written by the victors, who will shape the socio-cultural norms of right and wrong.

However, political activity is not limited to war and states. Politics has become the very fabric of all social interaction between people.All social groups, whether they be families, friend circles, classrooms, teams and other such social entities are permeated by politics, indeed politics is the basic framework over with such groups work and function.However the extent to which politics takes over organizations is a reason of great inefficiency and much unneeded struggle and huff-puff.

I think that the need for power as a manifestation of the survival instinct, has been transformed into a very perverse form of self-indulgence.The obsession with the need for power over others is a symptom of a deep and innate inferiority complex, tended to by various social and psychological factors. I see in the violent man, a deep incompetence; in the man hungry for power I see a tired and defeated mind; in those who constantly seek to wield influence over the opinions and actions of others, I see men unsure of themselves. Most importantly, in men who enjoy power for the sake of power, I see a lingering weakness and self-inadequacy. Behind great forts and great armies, I see a man afraid of the dark, his fear a vestigial remnant of childhood. I feel that the ambition for power must not be seen as a sign of confidence, but the characteristic of deep and far-reaching rot; which asks not of praise and adulation, but medicine and professional attention.

We see a manifestation of these mechanics in the way things have transpired in world history. Imperialism has been the characteristic of small states and nations. No Alexanders rose from the vast civilizations of China, India and Egypt, no hordes of men where sent to fund and fight wars in foreign lands and occupy nations. There was no desire of world dominance in the people of old and self-assured civilizations, indeed the lust for power has primarily preoccupied the minds of puny states and scattered islands - fights for cities and principalities. The nations of Europe that engaged in colonialism were truly no larger than the smallest provinces of the vast empires of the east.

The disturbing part is that children and young adults have been constantly indoctrinated with the idea that a need for power, a passion, is not only normal but in fact desirable. Powerful men and women have been idolized and revered, and sought as role models. People are taught to respect leaders and desire to be leaders themselves - not because leaders are developers of people and societies, but because leaders have power. It is not leadership that is inculcated in the corridors of schools and colleges, but a rat-race for more and more power.It is this destructive trend that we must work to protect our generations from.

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