Craving Power

>> Sunday, April 26, 2009

Oftimes, the discussions I get into with my husband are some of the most thought-provoking. We'd been discussing how scientists were unlikely to be evil masterminds, craving power, if only because, if you really wanted to rule the world, science is unlikely to be the venue you'd choose. I've blogged on this topic before.

But we both noted that scientists could be manipulated by their love of science or their scientific passions. Everyone can be manipulated to an extent, of course, but methods vary and, for thinkers, such manipulation is usually short-lived, but that's another blog.

Where we went from there was a discussion on what it took to be the kind of power-craving type, the kind that yearned to rule the world, who hungered for control. It kind of plays into my earlier discussions on the sorts of people who are "experts" but can't even predict things in their field as well as random answers. The experts who fared the worst were those that were most famous. One rationale was that it was because you get famous because you give black/white answers but I think part of it is also because you crave fame.

The thing is, people who are really good, who are truly outstanding in their fields, who are capable and talented, don't crave power or fame. The need to control others, to receive acknowledgment, in my opinion, most often stems from self esteem issues. Not to say one couldn't be a megalomaniac, but that, to crave acclaim, you need to insecure, no matter how you look on the outside.

But, if you're doing something you do well, that you're good at, any fame you get is incidental. You don't need someone constantly telling you how good you are (though a little reinforcement is always nice) because you know, you're good.

It's when our answers are uncertain, when we're not sure we're as good as we want to be, when we believe fame or power will prove we've really made it that we fudge our answers for the limelight or defend our points of view with viciousness and intolerance, that we will use any means to garner adulation or control of others.

And there's the irony because, whether you're beloved of millions or conquer the world, you will never really feel like you made it. You'll always be driven to get more and, if history is any indication, it will almost always lead to your downfall. Why?

Because, until you are satisfied with yourself, you'll never really have made it. No one on the outside can give it to you.

Sad, no?


  • Beau Horner

    Hitler was once a runner-up in taking over Dexter's Laboratory, but it's only evil if you pronounce the "O".

  • Shakespeare

    Could not agree with you more, Stephanie. Those who seek the approval of others do so because they can't find such approval within themselves.

    Very sad... and sadder still that it leads to such horrifying behavior, at times. Even on a small scale, it can cause tremendous destruction.

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