The Concept of Power

The concept of power has always fascinated me. While I usually understand the logic behind most things that drive people, power is always something that has eluded my understanding. I suppose I’m just one of those people that doesn’t seek power, and while that’s fine in and of itself, what’s problematic is the fact that I don’t really understand the logic behind why anyone else would want to be powerful.

Of course, in certain cases power is simply a means to an end – usually money or fame. This is understandable in most business situations, where climbing up the corporate ladder means you get more and more money, and as well as just the obvious benefit that being rich brings, it also permits the owner into a social class where they can socialize with others at the top, further cementing their place high up in society. Even in places where society isn’t particularly class based, there is always an elite, consisting of the rich and powerful (although the two aren’t always necessarily linked).

I can also understand the want and desire for fame. Fame, in this sense, isn’t simply the concept of celebrity, and having other people know who you are, but the idea that you will do something memorable so that society remembers you long after you’re dead, or something that positively affects many other people. I understand both, as a former is a way for many to deal with their mortality, and the latter is something that everyone should seek to accomplish.

But despite all these varying motives, there are still many people who seek power simply because they want power, and once they have it they do everything in their power to keep a hold of it, when everyone knows that it’s inevitable that the power will eventually be lost – no king rules forever.

Politics is an example of what I mean. If you take a look at all of the top-tier politicians in most countries in the world, they are largely from the same background. They are born into the elite of society, so whatever career they choose normally means they keep that status regardless, and politics offers a lot less money than most professions at the top (even though the Prime Minister’s wage would look pretty nice to the most of us). So do all of these people get into politics to help others and make a name for themselves? Invariably a few of them do, but there are better ways to be remembered than as a politician (even a good one), and I fear that a lot of politicians care a lot more about themselves than anyone else. Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing – politicians have to make hard decisions that no-one else would want to make.

But what, then, drives people into politics? The only answer left is power, which returns me to my point that I don’t understand the allure of power as an end. I suppose it says something about human nature – people want it because it’s there to be had, in the same way a mountain is just there to be climbed. When it comes right down to it though, I’m reminded of a moment that has always made me think, although it came from a rather random source – a Mortal Kombat game. In one of the many alternative endings to MK: Armageddon, where everyone is fighting over the ultimate power source, Shao Kahn, the evil leader of Outland, wins the power and proceeds to travel the universe conquering everything in his path. Eventually, he succeeds in capturing everything, and is the emperor of all things. At this point, with nothing else to conquer, he goes insane.

I suppose to many, the enjoyment of anything, including power, is in the race to achieve it, not the actual acquisition. It makes you wonder about your own goals in life, and whether you would be happier if you reached them all, or whether you would feel lost without the drive to get it done. After pondering this for a while, I felt comforted in the fact that if I reached my goals, I would simply find new ones, and be much happier seeking new things with my former goals achieved. And I came to the conclusion that if, ultimately, the drive behind everything you do is to make life better not just for yourself, but other people, you will never run out of goals. There is only so much a person can do for themself, and while its important to live life to the fullest, it all disappears when you die. However, there are always people to help, and to be nice to, and the chances are that anything done to help others will live on long after you die.

So there are your options I guess – help others, and be forever satisfied, or help yourself and eventually go insane. Seems like an easy choice, but I suppose helping yourself does mean you get to wear a cool looking skull helmet and wield a big hammer.

/end rant


3 Responses to “The Concept of Power”

  1. WoW and Mortall Kombat!? Well done 😛

    Also, I’m very glad you feel this way, as I do too 🙂

  2. … there’s a lot to say about this topic… but being who I am I’ll just comment the figure at the top… I know that any fool without money and power can get a woman…. the women the figure is refering to must be the females who wear Prada!

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