"More precious than gold! More desired than love! More addictive than any drug! POWER!" So
goes an ad for a movie a few years ago. Why do most people crave power?
Why do most relationships devolve into power struggles? Why does it seem
that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Why do we so
often demean ourselves by misusing what little power we have?
Maybe this is because our natural state is one of empowerment that we no
longer have. Maybe because we are so disempowered, so helpless that we
live like ants crawling on the jungle floor while the elephants are
stampeding away from the hot lava flows from the erupting volcanoes. The
historical, economic, cultural, and political forces are more powerful
than we are as individuals. Which one of us can stand up at the
beginning of a recession and say backed by power, "We are not having
this recession now!" Often, the best we can do is try to see evil
coming and insulate ourselves from the worst.
The forces of nature just on this globe—tornadoes, hurricanes,
volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.—are also beyond not just the
individual's but beyond the entire human race's ability to control. And these forces
are dwarfed by the forces operable in the solar system, which are
dwarfed by galactic forces, which are dwarfed by intergalactic forces.
You get the idea. We may have godlike aspirations and dimensions, but we
are housed in physically fragile and vulnerable bodies. In order to survive, we must
have a very narrow range of life-support conditions of temperature,
radiation, gravitational force, atmospheric pressure, oxygen level, etc., and be very careful.
And hope that the biospheric life-support conditions don't change too much.
Ideally, we spend our lives growing, learning, becoming wiser and
more loving, becoming richer, deeper, more wonderful human beings. But
the material universe doesn't notice. The message from the physical
universe that is constantly in the background is one of relentless
indifference. No matter how famous, beloved, celebrated, kind or virtuous, gravity never
lets you skate by one time when you fall over a cliff by softening your
landing. Electricity never
lowers the voltage to a safe level because you are loving, wonderful or
POWER! In this world if you don't have it, it is a given that someone else
has it over you, and chances are that several agencies will dominate you.
Perhaps ideally we should ALL have it in conjunction with each
You are free to do what you want, but you are
not free to want what you
want. - Schopenhauer
Every human being has a natural, intrinsic and legitimate desire for
See: Empowerment and Natural