October 3, 2006


It has been long since I have had the time to sit and talk about things that make me think. Last week, I was browsing for information regarding some college assignment, when I happened upon a website of one Mr. Bryan Caplan. He is an economic professor at GMU and has an amazing website. One of the pages that I read talked about power.

Every man has four things that he works for, money, love, sex, and power. And the most elusive of these is the most sought after one, by simple Law of Supply and Demand, Power. Those who do not have it want it and those who have it cannot seem to get enough of it. Thus, life is simply a struggle to see who can have the most power. Every war fought, in the battlefields, the courtrooms or in every household was over power.

There is an eternal struggle in a man’s life to be more powerful than someone who controls him. The car driver one day wants to be the one on the back seat; the secretary wants to be in the boss’s seat someday. This is given. However, the thought that arises, is humankind made for power, for control?

The quintessential feature of every man is the desire for individualism. This is what drives him, is the fuel for his ego, something to give him a reason to live. Under every man, here is a small voice telling him that no matter what, he is one of the best examples of human beings made. The main target for a power wielder is this voice. As long as one has this voice in him, he refuses to be ruled.

The power wielder and the target of the power are locked in an eternal struggle, with both not winning. The only thing that remains is feelings of ill and desolation. For a normal human being, even when he controls another being, his conscience will not allow him a moments rest. The case for the target is simple; as long he is a subordinate, he will not be satisfied. Every revolution, every fight for independence has stemmed from this.

What happens when a man is broken? When he loses that spark, that fire, that ego? He becomes no more than a robot, no more a part of the human clan. Percy Shelly immortalizes these thoughts.

'Nature rejects the monarch, not the man;
The subject, not the citizen; for kings
And subjects, mutual foes, forever play
A losing game into each other's hands,
Whose stakes are vice and misery. The man
Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys.
Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience,
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,
Makes slaves of men, and of the human frame
A mechanized automaton.
--Percy Shelley, Queen Mab

Is there a solution? Not as far as I can see. As long as there are people whose egos are insatiable, and as long as there is envy and jealousy over the influence wielded, there will be power struggles and that will make life miserable for the rest of the world.


91 said...

Power is that by which mankind is forged. Of all things, it is power which is lusted after the most. And the rise to power ultimately shapes the fate of those involved. The world as it is today is the result of countless power struggles, and power struggles give rise to leaders. Leaders who inspire the common man, and shape his destiny. So, when there is no struggle for power, it is then that life will be miserable.

yours truly,

Karthik Narayan said...

story teller indeed!! good post dude

Karthik Narayan said...

hmmm while on teh subject of power.. me rendered a lil article/blog on it.. http://powerkn.rediffblogs.com

if u like to, pls do visit it.